Gun Violence As The Social Justice Issue Sample Essay

Nowadays, people have often faced the manifestation of different social justice issues. One may distinguish many problems. However, one may divide them into two categories. The first category includes international problems related to climate, wars, refugees, and so on. The second one is characterized by internal social justice issues of the country, for example, racial inequality and gun violence. The latter is one of the urgent problems in relation to which one wants to “make some noise.” The aim of the paper is to describe the issue, analyze the reasons for the problem and propose a possible solution.

In recent years, the number of gun violence incidents has increased. These are suicides, murders, robberies, or mass shootings; in other words, this problem is characterized by deliberate harm. The motivation for such actions may be explained by two groups of reasons. The first part includes financial stimulation: using weapons to get hold of money or other objects. The second part is formulated by mental problems, namely the desire to harm other people. It can be caused by both mental health problems and the effects of substances such as alcohol or drugs.

Furthermore, one may characterize the reasons for this problem by both general large-scale problems and internal political ones. Common problems are expressed by the growth in the psychological pressure that people are faced. It can be explained by the tension in political relations between the countries, but to a greater extent due to the pandemic and social isolation. All these reasons have a similar principle of action: the general negative background enlarges the psychological tension in individuals. Further, it leads to a desire to express aggression, and sometimes people who have access to weapons may use them. An easy approach to guns formulates an internal political reason: namely, the legislation.

Thus, most people are free to buy and own weapons; in modern realities, for some people, it is necessary as a self-defense tool. Moreover, for the possession of a firearm, it is needed to provide documents confirming mental health. However, it constitutes a problem since no one can claim that there will be no unforeseen circumstances that will lead to aggression. In other words, more sophisticated access to weapons would seem to reduce the incidence of gun violence. Moreover, the person who provided the documents may buy a weapon for its resale. Thereby, the people to whom one will sell weapons may have the goal of committing a robbery or mass shooting: it is impossible to control.

Accordingly, a possible solution to the problem would be the revision of the gun ownership policy. One may suggest the creation of a special category of people who need it. For example, businessmen who can become the target of an attack or farmers who need to control their territory. However, the process should be complicated for citizens from poor conditions or who do not have a solid reason to purchase weapons. Moreover, it is necessary to introduce careful monitoring and severe penalties for the resale of weapons. Preventive measures for reselling weapons could be special trackers that show whether the gun is still near the buyer or a monthly check for the availability of purchased weapons in random order.

As a result, one may conclude that gun violence is a social justice issue, due to which one would get into “necessary trouble.” It was possible to determine that the problem lies both in international aspects and in internal reasons. The main reason was the increase in psychological pressure and social isolation, which intensified the effect. Likewise, current gun ownership legislation formulates a controversial issue: it leads to easy access and subsequent use of weapons for criminal activities. One may propose a possible solution: strengthening control over the procedure for buying weapons and punishment associated with illegal handling.

Picture Exchange Communication System Research


The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) teaches children that by transmitting the desired image or pointing a sequence of images to another person, they can get what they want. PECS is an alternative communication card exchange system initially created for children with an autism spectrum disorder (Putri et al., 2018). But as it turned out, it is suitable for absolutely all children who have difficulties with speech.

The training usually occurs in a child’s natural environment, classroom, or home during typical daily activities. The main methods of teaching communication using PECS cards are based on the principles of applied behavior analysis. With the help of the PECS system, kids learn to exchange photographs of the objects they need for the things themselves (Ganz et al., 2005). PECS images are easy to use, can always be taken with, and can describe in detail everything in the child’s environment. The system helps to teach kids to formulate a request in a whole sentence, ask for several things at once, tell how the day went, talk, etc. This article will focus more on the impact of PECS on children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder who have problems with speech and communication. Despite certain drawbacks, it is believed that this system can significantly facilitate children’s interaction with speech problems with others.

Alternative Communication Systems

Various alternative systems and methods of communication are popular in the world. The types of alternative communication include the use of sign language, symbols, and the system (Crowe et al., 2021). They assume the likelihood of transmitting important information if natural ways of delivery are not available for any reason. Alternative communication is how a child can interact with people around him without using spoken language. At a particular stage of growing up children, their intellectual development must not stop. Such alternative communication paths can reduce the impact of cognitive disabilities on the child’s socialization process (Ali et al., 2011). PECS does not slow down the improvement of spoken language but, on the contrary, accelerates it – by parrying verbal and visual stimuli in the exchange process.

Benefits of Using the System

Training is Carried out Step by Step

Breaking the process down into steps can help relieve pressure feelings that children may face. The meaning of such a strategy is that people begin to solve the final goal only when several intermediate ones are reached. This system has several stages based on the science of verbal behavior (Sulzer-Azaroff et al., 2009). This field of applied behavior analysis deals with all types of verbal behavior, including text, spoken language, and all forms of communication. The system includes separate stages for teaching various skills, including expressing a request using a picture and distinguishing one image from another. At all these stages, it simulates spoken language and encourages its development.

Maintaining Motivation among Students

The system is designed in such a way that it helps the child to remain motivated throughout the entire period of study. It includes strategies to encourage and develop verbal communication abilities (Dogoe et al., 2010). Some children naturally stop using PECS when they improve their speaking skills, so speaking is easier and more effective. In addition, the system provides for the established beginning of solving the problem and the result of efforts. Therefore, the child will have no difficulty understanding what purpose adults are pursuing when they offer him to interact with the system. The illustrations explain where to start the process and how the chain of the child’s actions should end.

Ease of Perception and the Possibility of Expanding the Scope of Use

This system is easy to use, and its scope of use can be expanded without any difficulties. Some people’s sign language and spoken language can be challenging to follow, leading to situations when the person is not understood. At the same time, the visual information is easily perceived by the people, and the colorfulness and sketchiness of the pictures only simplify the process of understanding their meaning. This circumstance makes communication successful and effective in different places and conditions, which encourages further development of communication (Alsayedhassan et al., 2019). Within the framework of the system, the child’s communication expands when he is taught to use not one card but a board where the whole sentence is written. As a result, he can describe the items he asks for and then comments on what is happening.

Groups of People Suitable for Using PECS

The most preferred form of communication for most people is speech. It makes it possible to fully express one’s thoughts and interact with the maximum number of communicative partners. Unfortunately, many children cannot learn to speak easily on their own, including most adolescents with autism. For example, a recent study has demonstrated that the use of PECS has led to significant improvements in communication among children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Gilroy et al., 2018). PECS can facilitate interaction with others and loved ones for children with down syndrome who need additional or enhanced communication systems (Barbosa et al., 2018). Moreover, teaching through visual data helps kids who have difficulty learning a foreign language; in the study conducted, it was English (Zohoorian et al., 2021).

Alternative communication with PECS cards is not age-limited and can be effectively used for children and adults with cognitive impairments. Experts practicing in this field recognized the PECS method as the best among programs developing autists’ communication skills (Flippin et al., 2010). However, there are still some conditions – the patient must be ready to transfer information to another person. The Picture Exchange Communication System itself is designed primarily for the “non-verbal” category of people. However, it is beneficial for teaching patients with poor vocabulary and slurred speech and for patients with echolalia, whose verbal contacts consist of repetitions of other people’s words.

Disadvantages of the System

The PECS system has certain drawbacks, but they cannot be considered significant. To ensure the continuity of communication, the child must always have photographs or pictures of the necessary objects at hand. However, due to various circumstances, they can be torn or lost. If parents lose photos from the set, they will need to buy a new collection or spend time making pictures by hand, which can be time-consuming. It is worth mentioning that the system itself aims to reduce aggression, and it has been shown in a recent study that the use of PECS pictures leads to a decrease in anger and anxiety (Hu & Lee, 2019). The loss of images occurred can provoke children’s aggression or a gloomy mood, which is unacceptable. This drawback is not so critical since what is needed is to be more careful when using the system and ensure that all the necessary images are included.

Commercial and DIY PECS System

This system is not expensive; one can make their own picture cards. It has become even easier to find suitable images on the Internet or take photos with a mobile phone in today’s environment. The advantage of a homemade system is a greater adaptation to the needs of a particular child. Individual selection of pictures for each patient creates the most visual communication, not reducing contact to simple requests and visualizing objects. However, it should be noted that the application of self-made pictures for teaching carries the risk of misuse of the system by parents at home in general, which can negatively affect the improvement of children’s communication skills. The higher overall quality characterizes models purchased from manufacturers. Moreover, commercial models provide a parenting guide to help them avoid mistakes. Among the systems to assist in communication, a less expensive RECS system may become an alternative to expensive high-performance speech-generating devices (Lorah et al., 2018). When deciding whether to buy a system, one should be guided by both the family budget and the child’s specific needs.


Research proves the effectiveness of using the system for the acquisition and development of rhea skills. If the child can speak, the use of PECS cards will only accelerate the emergence of verbal requests and the process of mastering speech. Gaining communication skills using the analyzed system will be an excellent foundation for children to master their vocal abilities in the future. The existing shortcomings of the PECS are not significant and are not a reason to refuse to use it. At the same time, the advantages of this method of alternative communication, including the ability to choose from two types of systems, indicate the need for its use.


Ali, E., MacFarland, S., & Umbreit, J. (2011). Effectiveness of combining tangible symbols with the Picture Exchange Communication System to teach requesting skills to children with multiple disabilities including visual impairment. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 46(3), 425-435.

Alsayedhassan, Batool & Lee, Jaehoon & Banda, Devender & Kim, Youngmin & Griffin-Shirley, Nora. (2019). Practitioners’ perceptions of the picture exchange communication system for children with autism. Disability and Rehabilitation, 43, 1-6.

Barbosa, R., de Oliveira, A., de Lima Antão, J., Crocetta, T. B., Guarnieri, R., Antunes, T., Arab, C., Massetti, T., Bezerra, I., de Mello Monteiro, C. B., & de Abreu, L. C. (2018). Augmentative and alternative communication in children with Down’s syndrome: A systematic review. BMC pediatrics, 18(1), 160.

Crowe, B., Machalicek, W., Wei, Q., Drew, C., & Ganz, J. (2021). Augmentative and alternative communication for children with intellectual and developmental disability: A mega-review of the literature. Journal of developmental and physical disabilities, 1–42. Advance online publication.

Dogoe, M., Banda, D., & Lock, R. (2010). Acquisition and generalization of the Picture Exchange Communication System behaviors across settings, persons, and stimulus classes with three students with autism. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 45(2), 216-229.

Flippin, M., Reszka, S., & Watson, L. R. (2010). Effectiveness of the Picture Exchange Communi-cation System (PECS) on communication and speech for children with autism spectrum disorders: A meta-analysis. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 19, 178–195.

Ganz, J., Cook, K., Corbin-Newsome, J., Bourgeois, B., & Flores, M. (2005). Variations on the use of a pictorial alternative communication system with a child with autism and developmental delays. Teaching Exceptional Children Plus, 1(6), 1-14.

Gilroy, S. P., Leader, G., & McCleery, J. P. (2018). A pilot community-based randomized comparison of speech generating devices and the picture exchange communication system for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Official Journal of the International Society for Autism Research, 11(12), 1701–1711. Web.

Hu, X., & Lee, G. (2019). Effects of PECS on the emergence of vocal mands and the reduction of aggressive behavior across settings for a child with autism. Behavioral Disorders, 44(4), 215–226.

Lorah, E., Tincani, M., & Parnell, A. (2018). Current trends in the use of handheld technology as a speech-generating device for children with autism. Behavior Analysis Research and Practice, 18(3), 1-11.

Putri, C., & Hastuti, W. D. & Adi, E. (2018). The influence the picture exchange communication system method toward the communication ability of autistic child. Journal of ICSAR, 2(2), 180-185.

Sulzer-Azaroff, B., Hoffman, A. O., Horton, C. B., Bondy, A., & Frost, L. (2009). The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS): What do the data say? Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 24(2), 89–103.

Zohoorian, Z., Zeraatpishe, M., & Matin, N. (2021). Effectiveness of the picture exchange communication system in teaching English vocabulary in children with autism spectrum disorders: A single-subject study. Cogent Education, 8, 1-16.

Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred Book Analysis

Octavia E. Butler’s book Kindred illustrates how significant one’s surroundings can be in molding one’s beliefs and behaviors. One’s environment is made up of situations and connections, and the most important is speech. Dana’s civilization differs substantially from Rufus’s world, and so the approach these individuals use and perceive words varies. The environment plays an immense role in the book since it allows the reader to perceive the situations and their impacts.

In the first chapter, the readers are introduced to the main character, Dana. Here, a reader can observe her natural environment of the 70s in Los Angeles (Butler, 2004). The author later starts depicting the time-traveling of the character. From feeling dizzy and nauseated, Dana finds herself in a different time and place (Butler, 2004). The new environment could mean the true path to finding oneself and one’s history. For example, as soon as Dana sees herself in another dimension and hears a boy drowning, she tries to help him. In this situation, the setting allows readers to grasp the new reality, the time, and the place.

Additionally, several moments allow a reader to understand another character, Rufus, a white ancestor of Dana. Various moments showed that Rufus could use inappropriate words and the climax included his trying to rape Dana (Butler, 2004). The given environments and the killing of Rufus allowed Dana to become stronger. She learns about herself and her story through the depiction of evil and her long battle.

Hence, Kindred is infused with different environments that help characters in their paths and experiences. Every environment sets the tone for the circumstances and mood of the narration. The setting of the particular settings helps a reader understand the meaning of the things happening and what role they will play in the characters’ lives. In the beginning, a reader can grasp the location and time when Dana woke up.


Butler, O. E. (2004). Kindred. Beacon Press.

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