Draft 2

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
anubis1911
Posts: 150
Joined: Sat May 04, 2013 12:41 am

Draft 2

Postby anubis1911 » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:28 pm

This is my second draft. Once again, this isn't a place to debate my sanity or gun control. This personal statement will pass many hands before submission and if it recieves negative feedback regarding the risks involved in its submission by the professors, judges, lawyers, and PR representatives that will be reading it, then I will delete it and write about something more kosher. Thank you for your insight.

It was 6:30 in the morning when the phone rang. Half asleep, I answered and was greeted by a woman claiming to be a representative from the National Rifle Association. She informed me that the NRA had discovered me after I qualified to compete in a national rifle competition with my Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps team and that they wanted me to be the main plaintiff in two lawsuits. One of the lawsuits, later to be named James D’Cruz v Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, sought to challenge the prohibition on a citizen between the ages of 18 and 20 from buying a pistol or pistol ammunition from a federally licensed dealer, despite it being legal for an individual as young as 18 years old to purchase a pistol through a private sale. The second lawsuit, James D’Cruz v McCraw (in his official capacity as Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety), sought to allow the same group of individuals to then carry those firearms concealed after progressing through the proper training and background checks.

Although I disagreed with many of the NRA’s positions on domestic issues, I found myself in agreement with the NRA on this particular matter and was compelled to join the lawsuit. Although I was raised in a privileged household, my parents had encouraged me to befriend kids of all social classes. Many of my closest friends grew up in the ghettos of Lubbock, Texas and they all reported being victimized by the police rather than being protected by them. In the unforgiving neighborhoods in which they lived, many of my friends, under 21 years of age, grew up in single-parent households and were expected to provide the security for their family. The right to self-defense by granting them the right to buy pistols and pistol ammunition was likely the difference between being robbed or not. I felt as if the political system had forgotten them because of the dangerous neighborhoods they live in. I knew that the case would be volatile and that a debate would likely ensue, but I was determined to stand up for the rights of a group of citizens that rarely get stood up for.

What I failed to realize was that instead of holding an educated debate about the facts, the other side of the debate committed to ad hominem attacks on me. When the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence and Mothers Against Gun Violence discovered a Facebook photo of me in my John Dillinger Halloween costume, they decided to couple it to many of the military quotes I had posted from movies, books, and friends in the military at the time.

Suddenly, the debate was polarized in a way I could have never predicted. The debate devolved from a constitutional challenge into a questioning of my personality and whether I had the right psychological mindset to own a firearm at all. Although I was extremely hurt by the accusations of the media, I decided that it would be more mature for me to abstain from responding publicly rather than keeping the controversy alive. Shortly after the hysteria died, my sister suffered a seizure and I felt compelled to move to Florida to be closer to my family. Unfortunately, since the cases required me to be a resident of Texas I was forced to relinquish my position as lead plaintiff on both.

Many people on both sides passed judgment on me for either being selfless in acting on the behalf of others or being too damaging to the cause. The same people, no matter the side, never saw my affair with the judicial process take shape. As the affidavits requiring my signature arrived at my home in Florida, I found myself reading every word, attempting to understand the law’s construction. I became addicted to checking on the cases that once bore my name and reading the opinions of similar ones. I was stunned at how a judge could change standing law years after its enactment. When I resumed school in Florida I eagerly enrolled in Constitutional Law, hoping it would solidify my decision to pursue a career in law. From the moment the professor walked into the room, I felt something I had never felt when I was in any other setting: a sense of belonging. The work was tremendously vigorous and I struggled to reach the top of the class, but I found myself reading the textbook for my personal enjoyment, attempting to retain the wealth of information the book contained.

Although James D’Cruz v BATFE and James D’Cruz v McCraw ultimately fell to the 5th district court, I do not regret standing up for the rights of the forgotten. I never had a problem waiting until I was 21 to buy a pistol, but rather I joined the case to stand up for those who didn’t live in a nice neighborhood and where the police hesitated to go. I want to attend law school so that I can protect the rights of the citizens of all social classes.

chinadoll
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:50 pm

Re: Draft 2

Postby chinadoll » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:40 pm

your story is very interesting. find a way to work the first sentence so it doesn't begin with "it"

erik the viking
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:06 am

Re: Draft 2

Postby erik the viking » Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:11 pm

Good job.

blsingindisguise
Posts: 1296
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:08 am

Re: Draft 2

Postby blsingindisguise » Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:18 pm

I would find another way to start -- the first sentence doesn't get us anywhere. Is it in any way significant what time they called you, or that you were half asleep at the time? For some reason a lot of applicants start their essays with a sentence establishing time even when there's no reason to do so.

erik the viking
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:06 am

Re: Draft 2

Postby erik the viking » Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:10 am

The tendency to give a time reference is part of scene setting. It's a tool of creative writing. It serves to humanize and structure the essay, as opposed to a straight analytical approach. I think in this case it is done well. If he just started by saying, "I was party to a lawsuit. Here are the details:" It wouldn't be as memorable. He's trying to draw the reader in right away with a familiar situation.

Plus, in this case one of the things that he wanted to change from the previous draft was the appearance that he was defined intellectually by his association with the NRA. With this introduction he highlights immediately that he was approached by them, somewhat randomly, and that he has his own opinions about things separate from the gun lobby. He explicitly states that later on, but this helps drive it home.

One thing I would change is the last paragraph. "I never had a problem waiting until I was 21 to buy a pistol." It's good to bring it back to the case and overall you come across as thoughtful and discerning, but I wouldn't want the last thing someone thinks to be, 'He owns a gun and he's coming to campus." Maybe change it along the lines of, "I never felt the need to buy a pistol before I was 21." No need to make them dwell on the fact that you own a gun (even if you don't).

blsingindisguise
Posts: 1296
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:08 am

Re: Draft 2

Postby blsingindisguise » Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:21 am

erik the viking wrote:The tendency to give a time reference is part of scene setting. It's a tool of creative writing. It serves to humanize and structure the essay, as opposed to a straight analytical approach. I think in this case it is done well. If he just started by saying, "I was party to a lawsuit. Here are the details:" It wouldn't be as memorable. He's trying to draw the reader in right away with a familiar situation.



It's a tool of creative writing, but it's a weak and overused tool. It's kind of up there with "It was a dark and stormy night" except at least that cliche establishes mood and tone, whereas "It was 6:30 am" doesn't establish anything, unless it's actually important to the story somehow that it was early in the morning.

anubis1911
Posts: 150
Joined: Sat May 04, 2013 12:41 am

Re: Draft 2

Postby anubis1911 » Fri Aug 02, 2013 7:47 pm

Ok, I understand it's a bit weak. But it sets a starting point for the essay. How else would one set up an essay for example? I'm confused.

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szb5058
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2011 4:33 pm

Re: Draft 2

Postby szb5058 » Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:04 pm

Pretty interesting story. The only thing I would do is try to show off more of your skills, rather than only showing that you're interested in law. Why will you be a successful lawyer? Did you show higher moral standing throughout the process? Did you show off any leadership skills throughout the trial?

Show admissions that (besides your interest in the law) you have skill sets that lend to your future success in the legal profession.




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