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“14 Days in May” – A Biased Report

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"14 Days in May" - A Biased Report "14 Days in May" is a documentary about capital punishment. Capital punishment is the most severe form of justice possible; it is the punishment of execution. This punishment exists mainly because it is a huge deterrent against 'would be' criminals. Some countries do not deploy this because it is thought to be inhumane to take somebody's life away regardless of any reason. If somebody is convicted and sentenced to 'life' when they were innocent, it would be the biggest mistake that could ever be made. In many people's view this would be an injustice and also an error that could never be repaid. This documentary is about capital punishment and is attempting to convince us it is wrong. The documentary is following the last two weeks of the life of a man on death row. The man was black and called Edward Earl Johnson who was convicted of murdering a white police officer and raping a white female. This documentary is mostly set in The Mississippi State prison where Johnson is awaiting his fate. Ironically the place where Johnson was living (Mississippi) was once a place where black people were slave driven by whites and were never considered to be equals. ...read more.


Even when people are being interviewed we can still hear the background noises so we feel as if we are in the same position as Johnson. This programme stands out from other documentaries, as it has no narrator. Although this creates a sense of disposition, I think that there should have been some narration because in some scenes it was hard to pick up on some of the main points for or against Johnson's innocence. I think that younger or even less abled students would not be able to appreciate this documentary. Even I got lost in some parts of it and understood information wrongly. The setting of this documentary was a major part of its effectiveness because the prison cells were so small and seemingly impossible to break out of. The stringent security even went so far as to have a guard with a rifle posted on a tower outside preventing any inmate from escaping. The prison seemed very small, claustrophobic, and even like a place of purgatory. However, the behaviour of Johnson was always calm and collective as he was often seen playing chess, reading, and never behaving aggressively. Importantly, all the inmates who were filmed were behaving in a similar way to Johnson. ...read more.


There would be scenes of him behaving aggressively or even violently. Most importantly, if allowed, they would show disturbing scenes of the victims' family or even them grieving at his funeral. There would also be interviews with angry relatives saying how much they despise him and how they would like to see him dead. The final words and text across the screen would also be very different. The lawyer would say something like, "Justice has been done" and the last words could be something from the Bible like, "As ye sow, so shall ye reap" which means when you do something wrong you have to face the consequences. I think that '14 Days in May' was very successful and was cleverly made. It did its job very well, which was coaxing people to be against capital punishment. This documentary has completely changed my views on this subject because before I was completely in favour of capital punishment and didn't feel any compassion towards the convicts, but now I am against it. Throughout this programme I was feeling sad and uneasy because I always feared the inevitable for Johnson. I sympathised with his family and especially with him, so now looking at other convicts on death row I am thinking that they may be like Johnson or maybe they just deserve a second chance. By Mandeep Chana ?? ?? ?? ?? GCSE English Coursework December 2000 ...read more.

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