The story of Anthony Ray Hinton is one which highlights the risks of the death penalty and the racism which means that even though African American and Hispanics make up just 36% of the population they make up 56% of the prison population in the USA. He spent 28 years on death row for two murders he didn’t commit.
When you have to give the different points of view about capital punishment (the death penalty) an often mentioned argument is that innocent people might get unjustly killed. Anthony Ray Hinton’s story gives much weight to this opinion.
My parents were strict on how much TV we could watch. This was pre-Internet days, so the biggest thing to pull us away from doing the homework, household chores, doing sport or practising the flute was TV. Only being allowed to watch 30 minutes TV a day felt like torture so when I chose to do Media Studies GCSE the joy of being able to say “I’ve got to watch A, B and C for homework” was a welcome passport to TV heaven.
So what is out there in the realms of television that might help you relax from over zealous revision and increase your knowledge of crime and punishment at the same time?
Up there as a number one priority for people trying to learn about crime and punishment has got to be Netflix’s Making a Murderer. Filmed over 10 years, the real-life thriller follows a DNA exoneree who, while exposing police corruption, becomes a suspect in a grisly new crime. It will have you gripped from start to finish.
The Independent lists an excellent collection of documentaries that those people suffering from the demise of Making a Murderer can turn to when wanted to continue following real life storylines about crime.
Focusing on the death penalty you might watch Redemption with Jamie Foxx playing Stanley Tookie Williams or Let Him Have It with a young Chris Eccleston playing Derek Bentley.
Or perhaps you’d prefer some fictional characters. Broadchurch has recently finished on Series 3 with its police investigations, causes of crime and court scenes. Whereas Line of Duty can offer police corruption with some intermittent court cases too.
We’re lucky to have an Amnesty International Youth Group at school where students on Wednesdays after school in Room 8 can meet, discuss, learn and take decisive action on Human Rights issues happening all around the world.
If you’re feeling that world events are spiralling in to a dangerous position of racism, discrimination and intolerance, perhaps a visit to the Amnesty group might allow you a place to safely voice your fears and learn how to take action.
Turkey is trying to join the EU, however since last summer’s uprising by groups in the military they have said they are going to re-introduce the death penalty which should automatically bar them from joining.
Wading into the debate is the British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson who told the room of EU Foreign Ministers that some EU states had previously taken time to abolish the death penalty in the 1980s and 1990s – and that this had no been an automatic bar on membership.
These comments might sound a bit whiffy considering Johnson used to complain about Turkey joining the EU and often used it as a strong reason for Britain leaving the European Union. Now he’s saying that Turkey should be allowed to join even if it’s planning to start the death penalty again. The answer for this turnaround might lie in Turkey’s important position in regional conflicts like Syria and the fight against ISIS. Politics, eh!
You can investigate whether it is ever morally acceptable to have the death penalty on a BBC Ethics guide to the topic. Moreover the BBC also has Christian opinions on the topic in its GCSE Bitesize pages. On BBC Three they have a 28 minute documentary called Death Row and Forgiveness which has some upsetting scenes. If you are more interested in History, the BBC made a documentary called the History of Capital Punishment which has an interesting perspective.
Keep an eye out over the coming week as more and more resources and information is posted on here to help you prepare for your GCSE Mock Exam in late November.
Ms Strachan posted numerous articles which will help you revise and learn about IVF, transplants, euthanasia, drugs, crime, and capital punishment on her previous wordpress: tkchum.wordpress.com. Just type into the search engine the topic you want to revise, or GCSE, and numerous articles should pop up. At her previous school they did Edexcel rather than AQA exam board so some of the references to units or sections won’t be quite right but the facts and knowledge will be!
These are the topics you’ll need for the Morality Mock exam:
Matters of Life
Elderly and Death
Crime and Punishment
On the exam paper there are 6 topics, but you only need to answer 4 (phew) and we’ve chosen the first 4 of the exam paper to keep things straightforward for you.
If you want to look at past exam papers and other information about the course check out AQA’s website. The past paper you’ll be interested is Unit 3 Morality and they’ve got them for 2013 – 2015.
TrueTube has some simple short videos which you can revise from:
And finally, if you didn’t believe me when I repeatedly said how important the 6 mark statement response question is then why not watch another RE teacher banging on about answering it with religious arguments!
Please leave a comment if you are finding these links useful and you’d like more of the same. Or more importantly if you’d like different revision resources get in contact.
This news story isn’t all that new. The Christian woman who is facing her final hearing to decide whether she’ll receive the death penalty in Pakistan for blaspheming (in this case speaking against the Prophet Muhammad) has been waiting since that eventful day in 2009 to discover her final fate. It was in the summer of 2015 that Pakistan’s Supreme Court suspended her execution.
What actually happened in 2009? It was five days after the incident in June 2009, where several local Muslim women refused to drink water from the same bowl as an “unclean” Christian, a local imam – who was not present during the original argument – accused Ms Bibi of defaming the Prophet. It was this blasphemy which has left Ms Asia Bibi on death row.
Amnesty International have been raising awareness of the case with their UK Director general saying: “This is the latest blasphemy outrage to come out of Pakistan. It seems obvious that this is a case of religious persecution, and it’s very likely the result of a squabble which escalated out of all proportion. Blasphemy accusations in Pakistan are often used to settle petty vendettas and persecute minority groups. It’s a complete disgrace that the courts are complicit in these vendettas. Asia Bibi and Mohammad Asghar are both languishing on death row for crimes which shouldn’t even be criminalised. They should both be released immediately. Pakistan should get rid of these poisonous blasphemy laws.”
An incredible story from the Independent about the Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte who has called for the death penalty in his country to be reinstated, claiming growing atheism and agnosticism means people have a lack of fear and respect for the law.
The death penalty was officially abolished in the largely Catholic country in 2006, but Mr Duterte said that ‘if God doesn’t exist’, capital punishment is the only way to ensure justice for the victims of terrible crimes. Speaking in Manila, Mr Duterte also questioned God’s existence himself and addressed God directly in his speech, asking “where are you?”
He said: “Every president along the way didn’t impose it only because the Catholic Church and all the bleeding hearts would say that only God could kill. But what if there is no God?”
He pointed at Isis and the plight of women and children in war-torn Syria, who he said are burned if they refuse to have sex with Isis militants.
“When a one-year-old baby, 18-months-old baby is taken from the mother’s arms brought under a jeep and raped and killed. So where is God? My God, where are you?” asked Mr Duterte. “It’s not enough to say that at the end of the world, he will judge the living and the dead. What would be the purpose of all of that if the heartaches, sorrows and agony have already been inflicted in this world?” Mr Duterte said.