Capital Punishment



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Capital Punishment

  • 74 percent of Americans surveyed say they favor the death penalty for people convicted of murder in a 2003 Gallup poll
  • Despite its public support capital punishment remains controversial in the US

Capital Punishment

  • • Of the 85 prisoners executed in 2000, 49 were white, of which 6 were white Hispanic; 35 were black and 1 was American Indian. 
  • Of the 3,593 prisoners on the death rows of U.S. prisons at the end of 2000, about 55 percent were white, 43 percent were black, with all other races represented 2 percent.

Capital Punishment: How To Kill?

Capital Punishment: How To Kill?

Capital Punishment: Ignorance Hypothesis

  • Furman vs Georgia
  • Justice Marshall
  • A woman taking Social Psychology
  • Stuart and Vidmar

Capital Punishment: Who Do We Execute

  • Of the 85 prisoners executed in 2000, 49 were white, of which 6 were white Hispanic; 35 were black and 1 was American Indian. 
  • Of the 3,593 prisoners on the death rows of U.S. prisons at the end of 2000, about 55 percent were white, 43 percent were black, with all other races represented 2 percent.
  • Blacks were almost five times as likely as Whites to be on death row

Executions By State (2002)

  • State Executions State Executions
  • Texas 33 Ohio 3
  • Oklahoma 7 Alabama 2 Missouri 6 Mississippi 2 Georgia 4 North Carolina 2 Virginia 4 Louisiana 1
  • Florida 3 California 1
  • South Carolina 3
  • Of 71 Executions 67 (94%) Occurred in the South

Executions Of Juveniles By State Since 1976

  • State Executions
  • Texas 13
  • Virginia 3
  • Oklahoma 3
  • Georgia 1
  • Louisiana 1
  • Missouri 1
  • South Carolina 1
  • Of 23 Executions 23 (100%) Occurred in the South

Capital Punishment: Phillips Archival Study

  • Phillips (1980) recorded reports of murders and capital punishments publicized in London between 1858 and 1921.
  • Immediately after a well‑publicized execution, homicides dropped about 35%.
  • Several weeks later homicides increased above the rate that would have been expected if no execution had taken place.
  • When averaged over a period of six weeks, capital punishment did not influence the number of homicides.

Employing Terrorism, Guerrilla Warfare and International Conflict To Achieve Social Influence

Reasons To Avoid This Topic

  • Too controversial
  • Traditional social psychology topics like conformity, attribution, aggression, etc.
  • Less time can be spent talking about research from my laboratory
  • There are many topics that I and other persons know more about

Reasons To Examine This Topic

  • The importance of the topic suggests that social psychologists should have been studying this for years
  • Social psychologists have skills and have developed a knowledge base not available to politicians, journalists, historians, etc
  • Chance to talk about where we are going rather than where we have been

Premises We Will Adopt

  • No moral judgment is implied in the labels ‘terrorist,’ ‘guerrilla,’ and ‘state.’ These simply describe activities that individuals and organizations employ to gain social influence.
  • Terrorist, guerrilla and state organizations form a continuum. Larger organizations retain all the capacities of the smaller organizations, but smaller organizations lack some of the capacities of larger organizations.

Premises We Will Adopt

  • Conceptual structures are best formed by allowing permeability between disciplines. Our structure will take from psychology, history, philosophy, art, politics, etc.
  • No new forms of social interactions have occurred since 09-10-01. Thus, while we will not avoid discussing the present international climate, analysis of the current political situation is unlikely to yield any new principle of social influence.

Organizations: Definitions

  • State-A organizational unit or group of allied units that maintain a military force capable of fighting conventional battles.
  • Guerilla-A permanent or semi-permanent military organization that is not sufficiently strong to confront the military of a state in a conventional battle.
  • Terrorist-A relatively small organization that is not sufficiently strong to maintain an identifiable group for an extended time.

Organizational Goals

  • States: To 1) maintain their group in power and 2) dispense resources among the supporters of the government.
  • Guerillas-To become a state
  • Terrorists-To become a guerilla organization and eventually a state.

Theme 1: The Villa

Theme 1: My Friend’s Father

  • What had produced the metamorphosis from executioner to kind father
  • Was the image of the kind father a ruse
  • Did the kind man and executioner co-exist concurrently

Theme 2: Beautiful Art

  • Michaelangelo
  • Jack Kerouac: On the Road

Theme 2: On The Road

  • Hitchhiking as a vocation
  • Blizzards and the failed photo essay
  • Rescue in Ames
  • Exit on Powell Street

Theme 2: Reappearance of Our Rescuer “What A Long Strange Trip It Must Have Been”

  • What social experiences led Kaczynski to renounce a successful career to become a techno-terrorist?
  • Do ‘monsters’ have redeeming qualities

Theme 3: A Contrast of Leadership

  • The impracticality of Pope John XXIII
  • Vatican Deathwatch: The morality of states
  • JFK at the Ambassador’s Residence

Theme 3: JFK in Berlin

  • Rudolph Wilde Platz
  • June 26, 1963

Theme 3: Arlington

  • Gawking at the procession
  • Dreams unfulfilled, a lack of closure

Theme 3: Arthur Schlesinger

  • Advisor to President Kennedy
  • A Thousand Days
  • Age of Jackson
  • The Age of Roosevelt

Theme 3: Schlesinger’s Analysis

  • A sit-about Christmas: Schleisinger envisions the 21st century
  • 20th Century marked by great ideological conflicts: WWI, WWII, the Cold War
  • Triumph of Democracy: Destruction of empires, colonialism, fascism and Communism

Theme 3: Schlesinger’s Analysis

  • Triumph of democracy creates a power vacuum
  • Power vacuum allows expression of old hatreds
  • Creates an international environment dominated by:
  • Genocide
  • Terrorism

Reign of Terror

  • French Revolution: 1793-1794
  • Origin of the term “terrorist.”

Jewish Terrorists: Zealots

  • They believed that they served God by killing God’s enemies
  • Assassinated Jews who collaborated with the Romans
  • Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot may have been Zealots.
  • Destroyed by Roman 10th Legion in 66 AD at Masada

American Terrorist: John Brown

  • Pottawatomie Creek
  • Harpers Ferry

American Terrorists: Klu Klux Klan

American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh

  • Gulf War veteran
  • Oklahoma City Bombing

American Terrorist: John Allen Muhammad

  • Gulf War Veteran
  • With John Lee Malvo killed 10 and wounded 3 in DC area sniper case

American Terrorist: Ted Kaczynski

  • Former Berkeley professor
  • Wrote Industrial Society And Its Future

Palestinian Terrorists: Hamas

  • Arose during Intifada of 1987
  • Has conducted suicide bombings against Israel
  • Strongly opposes Yasir Arafat

Peruvian Terrorists: Shining Path

  • Peruvian communist group founded in 1970
  • Turned to terrorism in the 1980s
  • Led to deaths of approximately 25000 persons
  • Once several thousand strong now greatly weakened

Italian Terrorists: Red Brigades

  • Formed in 1969 to break Italy from western alliance
  • Assassinated Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978
  • Kidnapped US Army General Dozier in 1981
  • Now fewer than 50 members

Research Model: Predictors of Organizational Success

  • Correlate 1 + . . . . . + Correlate n = Goal (success, failure)
  • For instance,
  • Strong Ideology + . . . . . + Attack State Symbols = Goal

Components of Our Analysis

  • Organizations: States, guerillas, terrorists
  • Citizens: Opponents and supporters of the state
  • Infrastructure and Resources: Food, transportation, airports, etc.
  • Communication Network: Television, radio, internet, word of mouth

Principles Guiding Our Analysis

  • No moral assessment is implied in labeling a group a terrorist, guerilla or state organization. These groups are simply mechanisms for gaining social influence
  • Terrorist, guerilla and state organizations have existed and will exist throughout history
  • Terrorist, guerilla and state organizations have different goals and employ different strategies
  • Larger organizations use strategies of smaller organizations but smaller organizations are rarely capable of using strategies of larger organizations


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