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Binghamton Speech & Debate

Proposition: David O'Neill (Binghamton University) vs. Opposition: Andrew Seo (NEI Education)

Judge: Randal Horobik (Kamehameha Schools-Kapalama)

Resolution: This house believes that prisons should be abolished

  • David O'Neill
    David O'Neill

    Andrew Seo
    Andrew Seo
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    Speech Details

    Click on the other tabs to watch watch that speech.

    Posted at April 13, 2015 10:42:25PM EST by David O'Neill



    None available for this speech.

    Posted at April 15, 2015 09:20:19AM EST by Joe Leeson-Schatz



    None available for this speech.

    Posted at April 15, 2015 09:13:50PM EST by David O'Neill



    8.5 billion stat-

    Posted at April 17, 2015 02:25:19AM EST by Andrew Seo



    None available for this speech.

    Posted at April 17, 2015 09:18:23PM EST by David O'Neill



    None available for this speech.


    This match has been completed. Show the Decision.

    Submitted at April 18, 2015 03:39:08PM EST by Randal Horobik

    Category David O'Neill Andrew Seo
    Use of evidence: 3.5 2.5
    Delivery skill: 5 3.5
    Coherence of arguments: 4.8 3.2
    Responsiveness to opponent: 4.2 3
    Identification of key points: 5 2.8
    Comments: David -- thank you for an even-toned case. You were having an extended conversation with me through the wonders of the internet and I think that played well with this sort of online format.

    With regard to the case constructive, the Simon quote in your first contention does a good job of setting up harms to society incurred via the prison system.

    The second contention sets up an effective kritik of the prison system and my only concern here is that your entry point is framed as the axiom of compulsory sentences rather than prisons in general. While what follows is certainly an indictment of prisons in general, the language used to introduce it could be a point of attack down the line for an Opp. to claim the argument derives from mandatory minimum sentencing rather than the prison system in general (i.e. -- Eliminate A, not B ). It's too good an argument to allow it to be derailed needlessly and should be an easy fix before Round 2 if you advance.

    As for the third contention, I'm not sure it does a lot for me. It isn't as developed as your other points (in part because it took you a bit in the first speech to get into the essence of the debate), and on a broader level I'm not sure the implied rationale that we should do 'X' because it will demonstrate to others that they can make a difference/enact changes necessarily demonstrates that 'X' on its face is the correct course of action. In conjunction with other arguments you make, perhaps, but as a contention that could stand on its own if everything else in the debate is struck down, I don't think it makes for an effective argument in support of the resolution. But that's just me

    Good job of keeping your message on point through the rebuttals.
    Anthony -- You have a good passionate delivery and I can tell you have a debate background. I have two primary suggestions as you move forward in that debate career.

    1. Work to build your vocabulary. Your early negative constructive features a couple places where you struggled to put specific words to the thoughts in your head or where you used a vague term where a more specific one would have served your argument better. This is a skill like any other and practice will help -- it is also a skill that will yield tremendous rewards in the realm of competitive debate.

    2. Incorporate more evidence. David didn't have much, but the only citation you provided was to a poll, which isn't a particularly good source and type of evidence to be grabbing -- just because a majority of people want or believe something does not necessarily mean we should do the action in question. Specifically in the stock market/economy crash point this would have helped you out. Ditto for the cost-effectiveness segment of your constructive.

    On the Opp case proper, I like the setup for reform vs. abolition of prisons, but wish it would have been better developed in the constructive speech. I think you had some opening-debate nerves going, because you did a better job in the rebuttal of setting up this argument. A lot of that comparison and contrast would have served you better in the constructive.

    The economic harm argument strikes me as a unique take on the topic, but needs evidence to set it up better. You have to tell me where your data comes from and impact out what exactly the harm is. You leave a lot to inference.

    The other issue is you are arguing a position that's secondary to the question the Prop is asking. Your Opp position is arguing reform of prisons. Prop is arguing that we're better off without prisons at all. As a result, his arguments beat yours to the punch because a judge needs to look at *if* we need something before considering what form it should take.

    The decision is for the Proposition: David O'Neill

    Reason for Decision:

    Aloha to both debaters from Hawai'i and the island of Oahu. Mahalo nui loa (thank you very much) for participating in this event.

    My ballot for today will go in favor of the Proposition debater, David O'Neill. I sign for the following reasons:

    -- Prop establishes early with his first two contentions that the very presence of a prison complex leads to a number of societal and mindset issues. Opp never really makes a solid counter to either of these areas until late in the debate, when they become new material. Opp needed to set this up in his constructive and build on it through rebuttal rather than solely in the rebuttal.

    -- Through his continued assertion that we need a prison system, Opp incurs Prop's dehumanization kritik (for lack of a better description) in the second contention. If Opp is going to argue for reform, he needs to do something to either sever the link to the mindset Prop talks about or at least demonstrate that it is either 1. a non-unique mindset and those guilty of crimes will always be stigmatized regardless of whether there are prisons or not (or something along these lines), or 2. that dehumanization of prisoners is the least-worst of several equally bad possible world views that are possible (a harder position, but possible nonetheless).

    -- Last, while this was a debate largely lacking on cited evidence overall, Opp needed to develop and impact out the economic harm to counter some of the ill-effects Prop brings up from a prison system. If you're going to tell me economic collapse, I need to hear someone credible connecting the dots from loss of prisons to an economy on the brink.

    Thank you gentlemen for a good debate and I wish you both the best of luck advancing forward in your debate careers and in this competition.


    Thanks David!!! I hope you become a great debater. Sorry I didn't read your comment until now, but you are a great debater!!! - Andrew Seo on April 21, 2015 at 09:00PM EST
    Judge thank you so much for taking the time to review the debate, I appreciate your input and insight tremendously. Andrew: It was a pleasure debating you and I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors, I am confident that whatever you choose: you will be successful!

    -David - David O'Neill on April 18, 2015 at 06:12PM EST

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