Get help from the best in academic writing.

Death Penalty: Capital Punishment and Violent Crime

Capital Punishment and Violent Crime


Most Americans are pro-death penalty, even though they don’t really believe that it is an effective deterrent to violent crime. Those who are pro-death penalty will remain so, even if faced with the best arguments of anti-death penalty activists and told to assume the arguments were absolutely true.

Violent crime

Violent crime is a major problem in the United States. According to the ACLU, the violent crime rate rose sixty-one percent nationwide over the last two decades, making America one of the most dangerous countries in the industrialized world to live in. Americans are seven to ten times more likely to be murdered than the residents of most European countries and Japan are. Government’s inability to make headway in the effort to solve this intractable problem, despite high-tech policing, stiffer sentencing, massive prison construction and the return of the death penalty in many states, has increasingly frustrated a fearful American public.

Politicians have used this fear and frustration over the past few decades to position themselves as “tough on crime”. Every election brings more debates about the causes of violent crime, and the possible solutions, including most importantly, the death penalty. According to most polls, over sixty percent of Americans favor the death penalty. A politician who runs on a pro-death penalty platform is always on stable ground, whereas an anti-death penalty candidate, such as presidential candidate Michael Dukakis in 1988, faces an almost insurmountable problem. This, despite mounting evidence that the death penalty is not a deterrent to violent crime.

Capital Punishment

In 1976 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the d…

… middle of paper …

… would be more immediate to a would-be murderer, and would be more of a deterrent.

Another answer could be that some problems, such as violent crime, seem so big and unbeatable, frustration and anger come into play. Americans may be at a point where they don’t care for arguments or statistics, or whether it works or not. It is a strong statement as to what we believe is right and wrong.

I think the final answer lies in retribution. It seems to be an ingrained American trait. For proof, look at what passes for popular entertainment in movies and television. The final emotional pay-off of almost every movie is to see the arch-villain die in some hideous fashion. Movies where the big, bad guy we really hate learns his lesson and reforms are extremely rare. It is a gut level reaction to see someone get what he or she deserves, and revenge is a powerful emotion.

The Two-Fold Thought of Deleuze and Guattari: Intersections and Animations

The Two-Fold Thought of Deleuze and Guattari: Intersections and Animations

Charles J. Stivale, a scholar in French literary and cultural studies, tries to articulate Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophical concepts with practical studies on culture, analyzing films, cyberspace, and Cajun dance. Although he says that the goal of the book is to provide “an initial orientation” to Deleuze and Guattari’s collaborative works, it is not a simple job at all for those innocent of Deleuzean concepts to follow the flow of his thought (ix). He provides short explications of the concepts and quotations from Deleuze and Guattari’s books before his application, but only the readers, who are familiar with Delezean concepts, seem to be able to articulate the whole idea.

As the title implies, Stivale considers Deleuze and Guattari’s works as “expressing ‘thought’ that arises from two individual, fluctuating subjectivities”(xi). He attempts to grasp and animate this two-foldedness, both sorting out two different voices of Deleuze and Guattari and presenting the intersection between them. This two-fold thought, as Stivale stresses, should be understood not only as an overlap of two particular sensibilities and modes of knowing but also as “one of action and opening outward, of formulations, unheard-of juxtapositions of concepts, monstrous couplings,” that is, rhizomatics of n-1 dimensions (24). In his introductory chapter, he differentiates Deleuze as a philosopher from Guattari as a psychotherapist and political activist: first, he explicates Deleuze’s passion of the concept, examining Deleuze’s relation with Nietzsche and Foucault and several concepts including “body without organ,” “image of thought,” and “rhizome”; second, h…

… middle of paper …

…o his attempt to bridge over the conceptual gap between the “local” and the “global” within cultural studies with Deleuze-Guattarian concepts. His point-of-view of cultural studies, especially, is valuable in terms that he recognizes the danger within its becoming-discipline: “These geopolitical negotiations of ‘forms and feelings’ [in Cajun dance] are precisely the proper focus of a ‘cultural studies’ understood not in a limited, ‘territorialized’ sense of dueling disciplines between adjoining theoretical and conceptual articulations and strategies” (186-7). If one can keep his/her own distance in reading this book, it will serve as a great source book for further research on cultural studies.

Work Cited

The Two-Fold Thought of Deleuze and Guattari: Intersections and Animations. By Charles J. Stivale. New York: The Guildford Press, 1998. Pp. xxii, 361.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.