Tagcapital punishment

The 11 American Nations

11 American Nations

Colin Woodard writes:

Beyond a vague awareness that supporters of violent retaliation and easy access to guns are concentrated in the states of the former Confederacy and, to a lesser extent, the western interior, most people cannot tell you much about regional differences on such matters. Our conventional way of defining regions—dividing the country along state boundaries into a Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, Southwest, and Northwest—masks the cultural lines along which attitudes toward violence fall. These lines don’t respect state boundaries. To understand violence or practically any other divisive issue, you need to understand historical settlement patterns and the lasting cultural fissures they established.

The original North American colonies were settled by people from distinct regions of the British Isles—and from France, the Netherlands, and Spain—each with its own religious, political, and ethnographic traits. For generations, these Euro-American cultures developed in isolation from one another, consolidating their cherished religious and political principles and fundamental values, and expanding across the eastern half of the continent in nearly exclusive settlement bands. Throughout the colonial period and the Early Republic, they saw themselves as competitors—for land, capital, and other settlers—and even as enemies, taking opposing sides in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War.

There’s never been an America, but rather several Americas—each a distinct nation. There are eleven nations today. Each looks at violence, as well as everything else, in its own way.

Full Story: Tufts Magazine: Up in Arms

(Thanks moonandserpent)

The Psychology of False Confessions

The New Yorks Times ran a story on the psychology of false confessions. Here’s an excerpt, but the whole thing is worth reading:

If you have never been tortured, or locked up and verbally threatened, you may find it hard to believe that anyone would confess to something he had not done. Intuition holds that the innocent do not make false confessions. What on earth could be the motive? To stop the abuse? To curry favor with the interrogator? To follow some fragile thread of imaginary hope that cooperation will bring freedom?

Yes, all of the above. Psychological studies of confessions that have proved false show an overrepresentation of children, the mentally ill and mentally retarded, and suspects who are drunk or high. They are susceptible to suggestion, eager to please authority figures, disconnected from reality or unable to defer gratification. Children often think, as Felix did, that they will be jailed if they keep up their denials and will get to go home if they go along with interrogators. Mature adults of normal intelligence have also confessed falsely after being manipulated. […]

In experiments and in interrogation rooms, adults who are told convincing fictions have become susceptible to memories of things that never happened. Rejecting their own recollections through what psychologists call “memory distrust syndrome,” they are tricked by phony evidence into accepting their own fabrications of guilt — an “internalized false confession.”

That is what happened to a shaken Martin Tankleff, and although he quickly recanted, as if coming out of a spell, he was convicted and drew 50 years to life. He spent 17 years in prison before winning an appeal based on new evidence that pointed to three ex-convicts. But they have never been tried. Whoever killed the Tankleffs remains at large.

New York Times: Why Do Innocent People Confess?

(via Social Physicist)

Study: States can’t afford death penalty

according to a new report that concludes that states are wasting millions on an inefficient death penalty system, diverting scarce funds from other anti-crime and law enforcement programs.

“Thirty-five states still retain the death penalty, but fewer and fewer executions are taking place every year,” said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. “But the overall death row population has remained relatively steady. At a time of budget shortfalls nationwide, the death penalty is turning into an expensive form of life without parole.”

His group commissioned the study released Tuesday.

A privately conducted poll of 500 police chiefs released with the report found the death penalty ranked last among their priorities for reducing violent crime. Only 1 percent found it to the best way to achieve that goal. Adding police officers ranked first.

CNN: Study: States can’t afford death penalty

(via Bill)

Governments have been maintaining other policies that not only can they not afford, but are amoral – for example, the drug war. This hasn’t stopped them yet. Still, one can hope this report will lead to some reversal of policy.

Fake Video Can Convince Witnesses to Give False Testimony

People believe what they see, and they’re willing to punish each other for it — apparently even when what they’re seeing is a fake video that doesn’t jibe with real-life experience.

Psychologists have long known that our memories of past events can be influenced by misleading information, but now they’ve proven that doctored video evidence can convince people to offer false eyewitness testimony. In a study of 60 college students performing a computerized gambling task, nearly half were willing to testify that they saw their partner cheat in real life after watching fabricated video evidence. Of students who were told that video evidence existed but didn’t watch the footage themselves, only 10 percent gave false testimony. […]

In the study, each student was paired with a member of the research team disguised as another participant. The pair sat side-by-side and played a computerized gambling game, which involved betting fake money based on the likelihood of answering a multiple choice question correctly. Each person was in charge of keeping track of their own wins; when a subject correctly answered a question, they got to take money from a shared “bank,” and when they incorrectly answered a question, they had to put money back. Participants were told that at the end of the game, the person who made the most money would win a prize.

After the gambling concluded, the researchers used Final Cut Pro to alter a video recording of the game and make it look like the partner had cheated. Five to seven hours after the first task, students were called back to the lab and told that their absent partner was suspected of cheating. One-third of the students were also told that the researchers had video evidence of the cheating, and another one-third got to watch the doctored video themselves.

Before asking participants to sign an eyewitness testimony, the researchers emphasized that no one should testify unless they were 100 percent sure they had seen their partner cheat, and they emphasized that the cheater would be punished. Students who watched the fake video were far more likely to give false testimony than students who heard about the video or were simply told that their partner was suspected of cheating.

Wired: Fake Video Can Convince Witnesses to Give False Testimony

(via The Agitator)

Real Life Death Panels

As the United States debates how to overhaul its health-care system, arguments have become increasingly outlandish — perhaps none more so than former vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s assertion that the Obama administration plans to implement state-sponsored “death panels” to determine whether the elderly and infirm deserve life-saving medical treatment. Writing in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, Palin doubled down on her claims, saying that though “establishment voices” dismissed them, they nonetheless “rang true for many Americans.”

Of course, the U.S. government has no plans to “pull the plug on grandma”; the claims were false and the provision that sparked the rumors – a measure providing for free advice on how individuals can create living wills to inform their doctors and families what kind of end-of-life care they want — was removed from prospective legislation, just in case. But Foreign Policy took a close look around the world, in places where something akin to death panels is alive and well. […]

In 1999, as governor of Texas, former U.S. President George W. Bush signed legislation giving medical professionals an unprecedented level of autonomous power and creating perhaps the country’s only example of a “death panel” in action. […]

So, what about literal death panels? Fifty-eight countries still use the death penalty today, and they have a broad range of trial, appeals, and execution processes. The United States and Japan are the only OECD countries that still execute criminals for the crimes of murder and treason. (Other countries have not outlawed it outright, but no longer apply it.) Both have extensive review and appeals processes, and take years between conviction and execution. And, in both, the country’s Supreme Court is essentially the highest-ranking “death panel,” the last recourse for those looking to overturn their verdicts or commute their sentences.

Foreign Policy: Real Life Death Panels

(via OVO)

© 2021 Technoccult

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑