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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 14: “I hope someone murders your mother!”: Extreme Support of the Death Penalty. Penalty.
By: By: Margaret Vandiver Margaret David J. Giacopassi Peter R. Gathje Public Opinion on Capital Punishment Punishment People’s opinions seem based more on emotion, not People’s rationality. rationality. In the 1980s and the 1990s, American support of the In death penalty was extremely high. death In 1999, 80% of Americans supported the death penalty. In 2001, support dropped to 60%-67%. If the death penalty had no effect on the murder rate, If supporters claim they would still support it. supporters And if capital punishment was an effective deterrent, And opponents state they would still oppose the death penalty. penalty. Public Opinion on Capital Punishment (cont’d) Punishment
Examples from the article: Examples “34% of supporters agreed that the death of certain murderers 34% would give them a sense of personal satisfaction.” would “79% agreed with the statement, ‘Sometimes I have felt a 79% sense of personal outrage when a convicted murderer was sentenced to a penalty less than death.’” sentenced Methods of Study Methods
April 19, 2000 – Tennessee’s first execution in 40 yrs, Robert Glen April Coe, for the 1979 rape & murder of an 8 yr old girl. Sources to gain information on extreme supporters: Sources Participant observation- engaging in a peaceful demonstration against capital punishment, allowed observation of people’s reactions to the demonstrations against capital punishment. reactions Collected & analyzed published articles, editorials, books, and Collected letters to the editor’s with any relevancy to capital punishment or Coe’s case. (Including any publishing's on capital punishment from other states.) (Including Coe’s They interviewed 6 people who were directly involved in Coe’s case They and 7 who often partook in demonstrations against capital punishment. punishment. They were males and females, of all ages from college students to They elderly people. However, there was only one African American . elderly Their conclusion – “ Extreme supporters of the death penalty are Their conclusion alike, though they represent a very small minority of those who support capital punishment.” support Hostility Toward the Condemned Hostility The condemned have been denied their humanity and are seen as The unfit to live, this causes many supporters to see the condemned as animals, not humans. They are often public targets for rejection, rage, & the desire for They vengeance. Supporters of the death penalty openly show their desire to hurt the Supporters condemned prisoners and the enjoyment they get from prisoner executions. executions. Extreme death penalty supporters even held degrading & harsh Extreme signs. signs.
(Ex. In Tennessee(2000) one sign read “Let’s get this party started right now.”) Some supporters believe that the methods used to execute Some prisoners wasn’t enough. That the execution process should inflict the “ultimate degree of physical and mental suffering.”
(Ex. One man’s idea to peel of the prisoners skin, then reattach it with glue, and then rape the prisoner with a nail-studded baseball bat before finally killing them.) rape Desire for Violence Desire Some extreme death penalty supporters want the people who Some oppose the death penalty to be murdered. oppose A capital punishment supporter said to an opponent, “I hope your capital mother is killed by an ax murderer!” mother A woman, an activist, in Nashville, said she received a call saying woman, that if she had a child, she would be raped and murdered. that Hostility Toward Opponents of the Death Penalty Death In 1999, on a street corner in Memphis, 6-25 people met once a In week to peacefully (they held signs and stood quietly) protest the death penalty. (they They often got yelled at or even threatened by angry death penalty They supporters who walked or drove by these demonstrations. supporters
A woman had gone on T.V. and stated that she opposes the death woman penalty, she had not engaged in demonstrations, but she was still attacked by death penalty supports. She was walking and a car drove by yelling obscenities at her and “either spat or threw liquid at her.” by Many opponents admitted to receiving anonymous letters and/or Many phone messages from hostile capital punishment supporters. phone Why the Extreme Support? Why
1. The Power of Punishment to unite The Punishment unites the punishers Emile Durkheim stated, “crime brings together upright Emile consciences and concentrates them.” consciences Crime unites a community against a deviant act and against Crime the deviant person, this strengthens the moral boundaries of society, and clearly differentiates good from bad. society, Extreme supporters view opponents of capital punishment as Extreme viewed as unsympathetic to murder victims, effectively weaken the central authority and the ties that unite society against criminal and deviant acts. criminal Supporters yelled at opponents, “Praise God for executions!” God is a vengeful judge and the state is an agent of God’s God vengeance. vengeance. Opponents of the death penalty were seen as going against Opponents the will of god. the 2. The Religious Factor Why the Extreme Support? Why (cont’d) The Brutalizing Effect Publicized executions has this effect on potential killers and Publicized encouraging them to kill. encouraging Executing a murder is essentially condoning the use of Executing violence to deal with a difficult problem with someone, such as, a killer. as, This message may affect why supporters of the death penalty This are so violent towards their opponents. are Conclusion/Relevancy Conclusion/Relevancy After engaging in many opposing demonstrations, they After observed violent and threatening acts against peaceful demonstrators by death penalty supporters. demonstrators Implusive acts ( slander, crude gesturing) and Planned Implusive activities (letters, phone calls and messages). activities “Extreme support of capital punishment exists everywhere in Extreme the U.S. although it involves only a small percentage of death penalty supporters.” penalty ...
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This note was uploaded on 05/10/2011 for the course SOCIOLOGY 370 taught by Professor Grimshaw during the Spring '11 term at SUNY Oswego.
- Spring '11