ARG-115

Hospital statistics regarding people who go to the emergency room after roller-skating accidents indicate the need for more protective equipment. Within that group of people, 75 percent of those who had accidents in streets or parking lots had not been wearing any protective clothing (helmets, knee pads, etc.) or any light-reflecting material (clip-on lights, glow-in-the-dark wrist pads, etc.). Clearly, the statistics indicate that by investing in high-quality protective gear and reflective equipment, roller skaters will greatly reduce their risk of being severely injured in an accident.


Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.


In this argument, the author concludes that by equipping themselves with high-quality protective gear and reflective equipment, roller skaters can greatly reduce their risk of being severely injured in an accident. This conclusion is based on hospital statistics of people who go to the emergency room after being involved in roller-skating accidents. According to the statistical data, 75% of people who had accidents in streets or parking lots had not been wearing any protective clothing or light-reflecting material. Therefore, the author infers that roller skaters need more protective equipment. However, the lines of reasoning of this argument are based upon several unsubstantiated assumptions, which, if prove unwarranted, will seriously challenge the author’s conclusion.


First of all, we need to be cautious about the interpretation of the hospital statistics cited by the author. According to the argument, the samples of hospital statistics are people who go to the emergency room after roller-skating accidents. Here, the author simply assumes that these injured people are roller skaters. However, pedestrian and automobile drivers may also suffer injuries in such accidents. If more detailed data shows that quite a few of people who go to emergency room after roller-skating accidents are pedestrians rather than roller skaters, the hospital statistics cannot be used to call for greater protections for roller skaters. In this case, the author’s conclusion from these statistics is untenable as well.


Secondly, granted that only roller skaters visited the hospital emergency room after an accident, the author implicitly assumes the nature of the injuries. That is, roller skaters were injured in accidents just because they did not have any protective clothing or light-reflecting material to protect themselves at that times. Based on such an assumption, the author therefore proposes roller skaters to buy protective clothing or light-reflecting material in order to prevent injury. However, since these accidents happened in streets or parking lots, it is possible that people got wounded in other ways. For example, roller skaters may got pressed close to the wall in rush traffic, crushing their arms. Injuries like this cannot be easily reduced by wearing hamlet or knee pads. Such possibilities, if true, would render the author’s suggestion about protective equipment unconvincing.


In addition, we cannot ignore that hospital statistics was taken from emergency room. Based on an unstated assumption that people who go to emergency room are severely injured, the author endorses that roller skaters can reduce the risk of severe injuries in accidents by arming themselves with protective clothing or light-reflecting material. However, little is known about the severity of those patients visiting emergency room. It may be the case that some of these injured roller skaters visited emergency room for treatment just because they went there during night. In this scenario, the effectiveness of protective equipment in preventing roller skaters from severe injuries needs to be reconsidered.


To summarize, whether or not the risk of being severely injured in an accident can be reduced by the use of high-quality protective gear and reflective equipment still questionable and worth further data gathering. In fact, the author’s conclusion will be invalid, if the assumptions mentioned above proved unwarranted by some detailed evidence.

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