Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

The forum for general posting. Come join the madness. :)
Message
Author
User avatar
franktangredi
Posts: 6291
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:34 pm

Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#1 Post by franktangredi » Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:14 am

I have an idea for a new play, but it must take place in a state that currently has and USES the death penalty. It's not a polemic: I'm not taking a position, pro or con, although my characters will take varied positions. AND I DO NOT WANT THIS THREAD TURNING INTO A DEBATE ON THE SUBJECT, PLEASE.

I'm most comfortable writing about the tristate area, where I live, but that won't work in this case unless I set the play in the past. And there are various reasons I don't want to do that.

I also don't want to use Texas, because that's what everybody would expect. Plus, if a northeastern writer writes about executions in Texas, audiences will automatically read certain attitudes into the play. I'm not a political writer. (Besides, I don't feel qualified to write a play set in Texas, or anywhere in the South. There is a minefield of stereotypes to avoid.)

Ohio seems promising. (And maybe Pennsylvania?) But I don't want to make this decision based on mere Internet research. So if you live in any state north of the Maxon-Dixon line that has the death penalty, could you give me a more inside view? Is there a general consensus about it? Is there any type, nature, or circumstance of crime that is more likely to result in a death sentence? (I'm not talking racial stats here: my victim and perp are both white.) Any insights can be useful to me in making this decision.

Plan B is not to specify a setting. Which may be the correct route anyway.

Thanks in advance!

User avatar
etaoin22
FNGD Forum Moderator
Posts: 3655
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:09 pm

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#2 Post by etaoin22 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:18 am

I'd vote for Plan B. Much easier to take the play out of USA.

User avatar
littlebeast13
Dumbass
Posts: 30753
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 7:20 pm
Location: Between the Suavitel and Fabuloso
Contact:

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#3 Post by littlebeast13 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:18 am

They don't use it much, but Colorado has the death penalty.....

lb13
Thursday comics! Squirrel pictures! The link to my CafePress store! All kinds of fun stuff!!!!

Visit my Evil Squirrel blog here: http://evilsquirrelsnest.com

User avatar
jaybee
Posts: 1922
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:44 pm
Location: Knoxville, TN

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#4 Post by jaybee » Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:35 am

I would go for Plan B and keep the location generic. I wanted to add the thought to just keep it to a region but a quick check of death penalty states shows a limited number - especially in the NorthEast.

Are you sure that changing he timeframe would not work? Just because going back even a few years opens up a lot more death penalty state options.

I just think that if you get too specific a location on this topic that there will be no way to avoid the politics of the death penalty - to the point that it may overshadow whatever other message the play is about.

BTW, after reading the first line or two of your post my first thought was, "Texas".
Jaybee

User avatar
DevilKitty100
Posts: 1800
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:34 pm

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#5 Post by DevilKitty100 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:52 am

littlebeast13 wrote:They don't use it much, but Colorado has the death penalty.....

lb13

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: Something that funny on a Sunday morning ought to be criminal.

User avatar
DevilKitty100
Posts: 1800
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:34 pm

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#6 Post by DevilKitty100 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:53 am

Can I claim a "found it" on this one??

User avatar
DevilKitty100
Posts: 1800
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:34 pm

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#7 Post by DevilKitty100 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:01 am

franktangredi wrote:
I also don't want to use Texas, because that's what everybody would expect. Plus, if a northeastern writer writes about executions in Texas, audiences will automatically read certain attitudes into the play. I'm not a political writer. (Besides, I don't feel qualified to write a play set in Texas, or anywhere in the South. There is a minefield of stereotypes to avoid.)

Thanks in advance!
LOL........I think I'd consider Texas a bottomless well from which to draw!

And on a little more serious note........the majority of the "stereotypes" that are probably running through your head are not are not stereotypes at all. They all pretty much live and breathe in Texas.........it's simply a way of life.

User avatar
littlebeast13
Dumbass
Posts: 30753
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 7:20 pm
Location: Between the Suavitel and Fabuloso
Contact:

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#8 Post by littlebeast13 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:35 am

DevilKitty100 wrote:Can I claim a "found it" on this one??

I don't think anyone's going to stop you.... or if they are, they're damned fools!

lb13
Thursday comics! Squirrel pictures! The link to my CafePress store! All kinds of fun stuff!!!!

Visit my Evil Squirrel blog here: http://evilsquirrelsnest.com

User avatar
DevilKitty100
Posts: 1800
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:34 pm

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#9 Post by DevilKitty100 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:53 am

littlebeast13 wrote:
DevilKitty100 wrote:Can I claim a "found it" on this one??

I don't think anyone's going to stop you.... or if they are, they're damned fools!

lb13
I wouldn't want to have to pitchfork somebody's nuts........well, maybe a few. :mrgreen:

And with that, I've got to go buy a refrigerator.

User avatar
Bob78164
Bored Moderator
Posts: 21013
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 12:02 pm
Location: By the phone

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#10 Post by Bob78164 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:33 am

Doesn't Virginia still have and use the death penalty? Admittedly it's south of the Mason-Dixon line, but (from 3000 miles away) I think it's shifted culturally in the last decade or so. --Bob
"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear." Thomas Jefferson

User avatar
Bob78164
Bored Moderator
Posts: 21013
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 12:02 pm
Location: By the phone

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#11 Post by Bob78164 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:35 am

Is there any way to make yours a federal crime? Then you can put it anywhere you want. --Bob
"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear." Thomas Jefferson

User avatar
Bob Juch
Posts: 25503
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:58 am
Location: Oro Valley, Arizona
Contact:

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#12 Post by Bob Juch » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:42 am

Bob78164 wrote:Doesn't Virginia still have and use the death penalty? Admittedly it's south of the Mason-Dixon line, but (from 3000 miles away) I think it's shifted culturally in the last decade or so. --Bob
When was the last time California executed someone?
I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.
- Douglas Adams (1952 - 2001)

Si fractum non sit, noli id reficere.

Teach a child to be polite and courteous in the home and, when he grows up, he'll never be able to drive in New Jersey.

User avatar
Bob78164
Bored Moderator
Posts: 21013
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 12:02 pm
Location: By the phone

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#13 Post by Bob78164 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:54 am

Bob Juch wrote:
Bob78164 wrote:Doesn't Virginia still have and use the death penalty? Admittedly it's south of the Mason-Dixon line, but (from 3000 miles away) I think it's shifted culturally in the last decade or so. --Bob
When was the last time California executed someone?
It's been at least three years. I don't actually remember it but I think it's been considerably longer. --Bob
"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear." Thomas Jefferson

User avatar
SportsFan68
No Scritches!!!
Posts: 20765
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2007 8:36 pm
Location: God's Country

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#14 Post by SportsFan68 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:15 pm

LB is correct -- Colorado has the death penalty, but it's almost never used.

No, there's no consensus. The only group I know of which generally favors it comprises law enforcement people, and I think it's safe to say they can all point to a particular case or two to support their position.
-- In Iroquois society, leaders are encouraged to remember seven generations in the past and consider seven generations in the future when making decisions that affect the people.
-- America would be a better place if leaders would do more long-term thinking. -- Wilma Mankiller

User avatar
SportsFan68
No Scritches!!!
Posts: 20765
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2007 8:36 pm
Location: God's Country

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#15 Post by SportsFan68 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:16 pm

littlebeast13 wrote:They don't use it much, but Colorado has the death penalty.....

lb13
That is a horrible avatar. It will not win.
-- In Iroquois society, leaders are encouraged to remember seven generations in the past and consider seven generations in the future when making decisions that affect the people.
-- America would be a better place if leaders would do more long-term thinking. -- Wilma Mankiller

User avatar
franktangredi
Posts: 6291
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:34 pm

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#16 Post by franktangredi » Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:43 pm

Bob78164 wrote:Is there any way to make yours a federal crime? Then you can put it anywhere you want. --Bob
No, it's just an ordinary, completely senseless murder of a completely ordinary person by a complete nonentity.

User avatar
BackInTex
Posts: 12159
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 12:43 pm
Location: In Texas of course!

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#17 Post by BackInTex » Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:09 pm

Kansas has the death penalty, but to date, no one has been executed since reinstatement in 1994. Kansas could give you a little historical and entertaining tie-in to the 'In Cold Blood' murders at those were in Kansas and the perps were executed in Kansas by hanging in 1965 (the last year Kansas actually executed someone though I don't think those guyes were the last), pre-moratorium.

Also, of all the states currently with the Death Penalty, Kansas was the last to reinstate. Attempts were made earlier, but always vetoed by the governor 4 times.

Also, Kansas is the site of the Federal Death Row (Levenworth).
..what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? let them take arms.
~~ Thomas Jefferson

User avatar
Sistine Fanny
Underground Artiste
Posts: 1299
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:34 pm
Location: The Crawlspace

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#18 Post by Sistine Fanny » Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:37 pm

Bob78164 wrote:
Bob Juch wrote:
Bob78164 wrote:Doesn't Virginia still have and use the death penalty? Admittedly it's south of the Mason-Dixon line, but (from 3000 miles away) I think it's shifted culturally in the last decade or so. --Bob
When was the last time California executed someone?
It's been at least three years. I don't actually remember it but I think it's been considerably longer. --Bob
Has it been that long? I thought that Crip dude was just a couple of years ago. I'm trying to remember his last name, maybe Smith? His first name was something like Stanley or Sidney but he went by a nickname. I think it was Tookie, but it might have been Sookie.

Vague enough for you? Ha!
It's the Final Countdown.....

User avatar
DevilKitty100
Posts: 1800
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:34 pm

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#19 Post by DevilKitty100 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:59 pm

SportsFan68 wrote:
littlebeast13 wrote:They don't use it much, but Colorado has the death penalty.....

lb13
That is a horrible avatar. It will not win.
I'm wondering what MBRS had to do that she has dollar signs on her mind!

User avatar
Estonut
Evil Genius
Posts: 10398
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 1:16 am
Location: Garden Grove, CA

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#20 Post by Estonut » Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:22 pm

Sistine Fanny wrote:
Bob78164 wrote:
Bob Juch wrote: When was the last time California executed someone?
It's been at least three years. I don't actually remember it but I think it's been considerably longer.
Has it been that long? I thought that Crip dude was just a couple of years ago. I'm trying to remember his last name, maybe Smith? His first name was something like Stanley or Sidney but he went by a nickname. I think it was Tookie, but it might have been Sookie.

Vague enough for you? Ha!
Stanley "Tookie" Williams was executed in late 2005. Another guy was executed in early 2006. A bit later that year, it was decided that the lethal injection used here may be painful. There is still a moratorium on that procedure.
A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.
Groucho Marx

User avatar
mrkelley23
Posts: 6075
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:48 pm
Location: Somewhere between Bureaucracy and Despair

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#21 Post by mrkelley23 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:20 pm

franktangredi wrote:I have an idea for a new play, but it must take place in a state that currently has and USES the death penalty. It's not a polemic: I'm not taking a position, pro or con, although my characters will take varied positions. AND I DO NOT WANT THIS THREAD TURNING INTO A DEBATE ON THE SUBJECT, PLEASE.

I'm most comfortable writing about the tristate area, where I live, but that won't work in this case unless I set the play in the past. And there are various reasons I don't want to do that.

I also don't want to use Texas, because that's what everybody would expect. Plus, if a northeastern writer writes about executions in Texas, audiences will automatically read certain attitudes into the play. I'm not a political writer. (Besides, I don't feel qualified to write a play set in Texas, or anywhere in the South. There is a minefield of stereotypes to avoid.)

Ohio seems promising. (And maybe Pennsylvania?) But I don't want to make this decision based on mere Internet research. So if you live in any state north of the Maxon-Dixon line that has the death penalty, could you give me a more inside view? Is there a general consensus about it? Is there any type, nature, or circumstance of crime that is more likely to result in a death sentence? (I'm not talking racial stats here: my victim and perp are both white.) Any insights can be useful to me in making this decision.

Plan B is not to specify a setting. Which may be the correct route anyway.

Thanks in advance!
My home state might be a good setting. Indiana has the death penalty, has tinkered with it over the years to accommodate the US Supreme Court, but doesn't have an assembly line like Texas. This site has some interesting facts about Indiana and its attitudes toward the death penalty. The last execution in Indiana (in 2009) was a multiple murder committed by a disgruntled ex-husband, and the crime was committed less than 2 miles from my house, so needless to say I was interested in the outcome. In Indiana, there must be aggravating circumstances, and in most cases (just going by memory here, which may be faulty) the circumstances most likely to receive a death penalty are either having multiple victims, especially if young; or if a sex crime is committed in the course of the murder.

Good luck -- it's a fascinating topic, and since I live in a divided household (I'm against the death penalty, my wife is for it) it's one of profound interest to me.
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled. -- Richard Feynman

User avatar
Sistine Fanny
Underground Artiste
Posts: 1299
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:34 pm
Location: The Crawlspace

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#22 Post by Sistine Fanny » Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:39 pm

Estonut wrote:
Sistine Fanny wrote:
Bob78164 wrote:It's been at least three years. I don't actually remember it but I think it's been considerably longer.
Has it been that long? I thought that Crip dude was just a couple of years ago. I'm trying to remember his last name, maybe Smith? His first name was something like Stanley or Sidney but he went by a nickname. I think it was Tookie, but it might have been Sookie.

Vague enough for you? Ha!
Stanley "Tookie" Williams was executed in late 2005. Another guy was executed in early 2006. A bit later that year, it was decided that the lethal injection used here may be painful. There is still a moratorium on that procedure.
Damn, it was that long ago? Gun to my head (so to speak), I would have said maybe 2010, 2009 at the earliest....

You do bring up another point that might be of interest to Frank, the methods employed by each state. Whether that could have anything to do with the actions of his characters' behaviour I don't know, but it's something to maybe consider.
It's the Final Countdown.....

User avatar
franktangredi
Posts: 6291
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:34 pm

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#23 Post by franktangredi » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:38 pm

mrkelley23 wrote:
franktangredi wrote:I have an idea for a new play, but it must take place in a state that currently has and USES the death penalty. It's not a polemic: I'm not taking a position, pro or con, although my characters will take varied positions. AND I DO NOT WANT THIS THREAD TURNING INTO A DEBATE ON THE SUBJECT, PLEASE.

I'm most comfortable writing about the tristate area, where I live, but that won't work in this case unless I set the play in the past. And there are various reasons I don't want to do that.

I also don't want to use Texas, because that's what everybody would expect. Plus, if a northeastern writer writes about executions in Texas, audiences will automatically read certain attitudes into the play. I'm not a political writer. (Besides, I don't feel qualified to write a play set in Texas, or anywhere in the South. There is a minefield of stereotypes to avoid.)

Ohio seems promising. (And maybe Pennsylvania?) But I don't want to make this decision based on mere Internet research. So if you live in any state north of the Maxon-Dixon line that has the death penalty, could you give me a more inside view? Is there a general consensus about it? Is there any type, nature, or circumstance of crime that is more likely to result in a death sentence? (I'm not talking racial stats here: my victim and perp are both white.) Any insights can be useful to me in making this decision.

Plan B is not to specify a setting. Which may be the correct route anyway.

Thanks in advance!
My home state might be a good setting. Indiana has the death penalty, has tinkered with it over the years to accommodate the US Supreme Court, but doesn't have an assembly line like Texas. This site has some interesting facts about Indiana and its attitudes toward the death penalty. The last execution in Indiana (in 2009) was a multiple murder committed by a disgruntled ex-husband, and the crime was committed less than 2 miles from my house, so needless to say I was interested in the outcome. In Indiana, there must be aggravating circumstances, and in most cases (just going by memory here, which may be faulty) the circumstances most likely to receive a death penalty are either having multiple victims, especially if young; or if a sex crime is committed in the course of the murder.

Good luck -- it's a fascinating topic, and since I live in a divided household (I'm against the death penalty, my wife is for it) it's one of profound interest to me.
Thanks for the link. I'm going to check that out carefully. I've run across the aggravated circumstances thing in my own research, and it may prove a stumbling block for me. But I can usually find a way to work things out.

User avatar
christie1111
11:11
Posts: 11630
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:54 am
Location: CT

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#24 Post by christie1111 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:43 pm

Frank, I thought there was a lot of debate about the death penalty in CT because of the Cheshire home invasion murders. Very recent.

So looking at the news articles, it was only April-ish when Malloy signed the bill outlawing it.

Move back a couple of years and CT would work and would clearly be close enough to be an area you are familiar with.
"A bed without a quilt is like the sky without stars"

User avatar
Bob78164
Bored Moderator
Posts: 21013
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 12:02 pm
Location: By the phone

Re: Death Penalty -- not political, but literary

#25 Post by Bob78164 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:05 pm

franktangredi wrote:Thanks for the link. I'm going to check that out carefully. I've run across the aggravated circumstances thing in my own research, and it may prove a stumbling block for me. But I can usually find a way to work things out.
I think that's going to be the case no matter where (in the U.S.) you set your play. If I remember correctly, the Supreme Court requires aggravating circumstances to justify the death penalty. In other words, a "plain vanilla" murder is not eligible for the death penalty. --Bob
"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear." Thomas Jefferson

Post Reply