of submission: 10-12 pages, doublepaced, 12 point font, reasonable margins
Papers should be submitted in hard copy only to the office specified on iSites You may choose among the following possibilities for your final paper. Option One The Public Conversations Project (http://www.publicconversations.org/blog) aims to transform polarized conflicts that are driven by deep differences in identity, beliefs, or values. In 1994, after the fatal shooting of two women at a clinic providing abortions, the Public Conversations project began facilitating a multi-‐year, confidential conversation between a group of pro-‐choice and pro-‐life leaders in Boston. The goal of these conversations was to provide a protected space for each side to better understand one another in the belief that passionate advocacy and civil dialogue were not mutually exclusive. After several mass homicides (Aurora, Newtown, Navy Yard, and Ford Hood) the debate over how to curb gun violence in the United States has reached a fever pitch. All of the stakeholders deplore the loss of life. Advocates of gun control have argued passionately for new restrictions on selling assault weapons and large capacity magazines and for more stringent background checks and longer waiting periods before people are able to purchase firearms. Opponents of gun control argue that the freedom to bear arms is a constitutionally mandated right. They contend that criminals will continue to procure guns illicitly; limiting legal access to weapons only disrupts the ability of citizens to protect themselves.
You have been nominated by the Public Conversations Project to explore the readiness of proponents for and against gun control for a dialogue process similar to that which occurred between pro-‐choice and pro-‐life leaders.
You have been asked to prepare a memo that evaluates whether or not the Public Conversations Project should support a facilitated conversation between these two stakeholder groups. Although you may do any additional research you think is appropriate, the Public Conversations Project has provided you with documents describing White House initiatives to curb gun violence and a new program for arming teachers and school personnel advocated by the NRA (see course iSites page). Your memo should convey your appreciation of the interests and positions of those on both sides of this issue. Additionally, you should identify 2 or 3 factions within each stakeholder group and delineate their interests and positions (which may differ substantively from one to the other).
Your memo should be written with the mindset of a mediator. Endeavor to present worldview of each group