SAGE Journal Articles
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This article reconsiders the “Southern culture of honor” thesis, which has enjoyed prevalence in the social sciences since the first half of the 20th century. The bulk of researchers investigating the link among Southern residence, culture of honor, and violence have focused on attitudinal measures of violence through surveys and ethnographic experiments indicating preferences and opinions toward engaging in hypothesized violence. The current research measures respondents’ actual violent behaviors in a national survey of defensive gun use (DGU). Although the results failed to support a relationship between Southern residence and defensive gun use, respondents’ age and victimization were significant. This finding is dissonant with the historical literature that suggests that the rural Southern White male is prone to a violent defense of honor; as such, the article orients discussion around the further theoretical advancement of the culture-of-honor perspective.
Several recent studies report that punished individuals appear more likely to offend in the future and believe that the certainty of punishment is lower than do their less punished/unpunished counterparts. This article investigates two competing explanations for the latter finding. Under the selection account, punishment simply identifies the most committed offenders whose certainty estimates, even following punishment, remain lower than those of less committed offenders. The second account, resetting, invokes a judgment and decision-making bias known as the “gambler’s fallacy.” Under this explanation, punished offenders reset their sanction certainty estimate, apparently believing they would have to be exceedingly unlucky to be apprehended again. Herein, we report a preliminary empirical investigation of these explanations and address the challenge to contemporary deterrence theory posed by the “positive punishment effect.”
In this study, we find that in New York State over the period 1907-63 there were, on the average, two additional homicides in the month after an execution. Controls for time trends, seasonality, the effects of war, and adjustments for autocorrelation tend to confirm this finding. Such a "brutalizing" effect of executions is consistent with research on violent events such as publicized suicides, mass murders, and assassinations; with previous studies of the long-term effects of the availability and use of capital punishment; and with a small number of investigations of the short-term impact of executions in the days, weeks, and months that follow. This suggests that the message of executions is one of "lethal vengeance" more than deterrence. The resulting sacrifice of human life challenges the constitutionality of capital punishment.