Claims – whimsicalwanda

“Charles Marmar, a New York University professor who was on the team of the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study, the most comprehensive study of combat stress ever conducted, points out that you really have to spend the money to treat PTSD, since the costs of not treating it are so much higher. “Personal tragedy, suicide, depression, alcohol and drug use, reliving terror,” he rattles off as consequences. “Stress-related health problems—cardiovascular, immunologic. Heart attacks, stroke, and even dementia.”

This section is a combination of an evaluative claim and a categorical claim. Charles Marmar is “arguing”/passing his judgment that treating PTSD is better than not treating it regardless of the cost. He then goes on to list a couple of examples that are consequences of not treating said PTSD, which backs up his opinion.

Residential rehab programs, and motor vehicle accidents because people with PTSD self-medicate and crash cars; the cost of domestic violence; the cost of children and grandchildren of combat vets witnessing domestic violence. The treatment and compensation disability programs have cost billions. And the costs of the untreated are probably in the tens of billions. They’re enormous.” Police time, court costs, prison time for sick vets who came home to commit soldier-style shoot-’em-ups or plain desperate crimes. Lost wages. Nonprofit assistance, outreach, social services. “There are an estimated 100,000 homeless vets on the street on any given night.”

This section continues to be a categorical claim because more examples of the cost of not going in for treatment and the consequences of living with PTSD are being listed. There are also a few numerical claims. Although not exact, some statements provide numbers that may be expected. For example, “100,000 homeless vets; billions; tens of billions”

“There were 2.4 million soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and while no one is sure what PTSD among them will ultimately cost us, either, everyone agrees on one thing: If it’s not effectively treated, it won’t go away. When Caleb checked into his VA inpatient therapy in 2010, more than two-thirds of his fellow patients were veterans of Vietnam.

In this section there are factual and numerical claims. It is a numerical fact that there were 2.4 million soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and that 2/3 of Caleb’s fellow patients were veterans of Vietnam.

“By way of example, she introduces me to Steve Holt and Charlene Payton Holt. Steve served in Vietnam, fought in the Tet Offensive. The chaplain assured him that he shouldn’t feel bad about killing gooks, but the chaplain was paid by the Army, and who took moral advice from a chaplain carrying a .38? “

This could be an ethical or moral claim. The Chaplain placed a moral judgement on if killing someone was good or bad. Also, although the author is not demanding anything from the audience maybe this could be also recommendation or proposal claim because the Chaplain is did tell someone how they SHOULD/SHOULDN’T feel.

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2 Responses to Claims – whimsicalwanda

  1. davidbdale says:

    You’ve done some very credible work here, Wanda, in particular you’ve explained that a section of text can combine more than one type of claim. But I wonder if you caught them all, or whether the time limit kept you from teasing out the many that might be contained in a single sentence. Let’s take a look at just one short section.

    By way of example, she introduces me to Steve Holt and Charlene Payton Holt. Steve served in Vietnam, fought in the Tet Offensive. The chaplain assured him that he shouldn’t feel bad about killing gooks, but the chaplain was paid by the Army, and who took moral advice from a chaplain carrying a .38?

    As you note, there’s definitely an ethical or moral claim here. The chaplain is excusing the killing of “gooks.” That’s the chaplain’s claim. What is Holt’s claim? What is the author Mac McClellan’s claim?

    McClellan distances herself from the story by letting Holt tell the anecdote. She doesn’t claim it’s true, although Holt would probably call it a factual claim. Right? McClellan lets us know she’s making an attributive claim (one in which the material is attributed to another source) by introducing it as coming to her from someone else “by way of example.” Whatever Holt says after that is framed by whatever “she” said his testimony would demonstrate as an example. McClellan introduces Holt to us with a pair of credential claims about his military background, to give authority to his point of view. He must also be a victim of PTSD if that’s why “she” introduced Holt as “an example.” Holt does some negative credential claiming of his own when he points out that the chaplain is paid by the army, which presumably colors his judgment. And, although he phrases it as a question, Holt makes a clear moral claim by explaining the inherent flaw in the chaplain’s reasoning. Holt is probably suffering guilt for the anecdote to make any sense. So, without making any clear claim either way, McClellan in this paragraph is making a hidden causal claim: “killing gooks,” even though condoned by the military, has caused lasting trauma for combat vets.

    That may appear to be slightly overboard, Wanda, but the point of the exercise is to heighten your awareness of the persuasive functionality of virtually everything a writer says in a persuasive essay.

    Does that make sense?

  2. whimsicalwanda says:

    Yes, makes sense to me. There were a lot more claims in that one section/sentence than I thought. I’ll try to remember to consider the claims of every individual involved next time.

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