critical thinking essay

  1. Go back to Week 1 of this summer session and review that list of the “Top 10 Critical Thinking Skills.”
  2. After reading the above articles on the controversy related to last Wednesday’s homicide on Pier 14, and after doing a little independent research on all the facts in the case made public, please do the following:
  3. In at least 1250-1500 words, apply at least five (5) of the Top 10 Skills to this story/issue. If you were presenting in class on what makes a good critical thinker (as you did in your first assignment), how would you break down this issue? What are the questions that you would raise? What are the biases that emerge? Anything peculiar about the way (or reason) the media has covered this so extensively?  Is there an issue with context? Are certain fallacies being deployed, and for what reasons? Can you read between the lines on anything being said or not being said? What other of the skills can you use to help us understand what’s going on here?

Please show what sources of information you used (nothing too formal, just a quick parenthetical citation). You can certainly use more than five of the listed skills, and you can add whatever else you’d like in your discussion.

Finally, you don’t have to be experts on crime or immigration or media coverage to write an effective essay. Simply use your critical thinking antennae, which should allow you to bring up some good questions and critiques.

So again, and basically, I want you to teach a lesson on critical thinking that comes from your observations about any or all aspects of this story.


” This past weekend, a terrible tragedy hit an unlikely place in San Francisco when a local woman was shot and killed at Pier 14, an area heavily trafficked by tourists. I was actually in the area with some members of my family here visiting, and so was interested to see this awful story on the news later. At the time, it seemed like just so many other senseless gun-related tragedies, and I figured the news would soon move on to the next dramatic headline.

But this story has developed legs, made even more dramatic and controversial because of some of the facts that emerged about the shooter, and especially because the story has been made into a “lesson” around the issue of immigration.

It’s political season…well, not really, but since presidential candidates are vying for early attention, people are starting to make big statements. This local tragedy has now evolved into much discussion, debate, hot air reaction and news coverage.

So when Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was quick to seize on this story and add to his recent controversial comments about immigrants, it made big news. He wasn’t alone, as other conservatives soon offered their conclusions, followed by immigrant rights activists weighing in and now embattled San Francisco city officials defending their “Sanctuary City” policies.

The issue of immigration, much less undocumented immigration, is complex indeed. But the basic conflict that has elevated it to national urgency for the last 10-15 years has been the fact that between 10-12 million people are here in the U.S. without legal papers. The political question related to immigration reform has been debated endlessly and with very little concrete action taken. It’s a hot button issue, as you know. Saturday’s tragedy has inadvertently pressed that button once again. We could have looked at other issues, but it’s current, and at least for us here in the Bay Area, it is local. It is also relevant as a critical issue to consider in Ethnic Studies. It is just the kind of issue we’d be talking about in class anyway.

OK, on to the work:

Here are a couple of recent articles about the controversy stemming from Saturday’s crime. Please read and familiarize yourselves with the case and then please do an additional search for other facts related to the story.

1. “SF Pier Killing Resonating in Campaigns, Immigration Debate.”

2. “Fatal Shooting in San Francisco Ignites Immigration Policy Debate.”



Top 10 Critical Thinking Skills:

  1. Asking relevant questions
  2. Detecting bias
  3. Checking our own “frame of reference” and assumptions
  4. Placing issues in proper context
  5. Being consistent with logic and reasoning
  6. Recognizing the use of rhetoric and being able to read between the lines
  7. Understanding how fallacies are used
  8. Identifying alternative arguments
  9. Making distinctions between facts/evidence and unfounded claims
  10. Using all of these skills to find alternatives and solutions to social problems.

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