This is our latest installment of Dr. Demetra M. Pappas' "News of the Week" in which she uses short topics as a teaching tool to stimulate conversation in her sociology, anthropology, criminology and legal studies course. 1. HOMELAND SECURITY/DEVIANCE/SPORTS AND SOCIALIYATION: The Boston Marathon Bombing, which everyone knows about (actually cannot avoid, as it is all over web, tv, radio, etc.). There are many possible approaches to this, and I will let the team take the approach they wish. NOTE: All of our hearts go out to friends, family, and Boston, which, but for a change of schedule, I was meant to be in this week, instead of last week. If anyone in the class has a directconnection, we are all so sorry and empathetic. Also, if anyone gets upset, that is ok, too, especially if there are personal connections. We are here/there for you!
2. DEVIANCE/MEDICAL SOCIOLOGY/LAW AND SOCIETY: This week, a jury is being selected in the wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of pop star Michael Jackson against AEG (the concert promoter) for negligent hiring of (now convicted) Dr. Conrad Murray. Murray is currently serving out part of a four-year sentence for negligent homicide, relating to giving Jackson propofol (a hospital grade anesthetic) among other drugs on the night of his death. Murray is currently on appeal (one reason is so that he can get his medical license back – should he?) and reputedly won’t testify in the civil suit (though he gave press interviews after his jury verdict and before sentence, and also last week). Was Murray deviant or not? Was AEG negligent (deviant) in hiring Murray? Check out web or news articles, most recently, “Michael Jackson Trial: AEG Live Prepares for Court Battle.”
3. FAMILIES/DEVIANCE/LAW AND SOCIETY: On April 14, 2014, the Houston Chronicle had a front-page article on Section B, “No Early Release this Year for Clara Harris,” by Mike Glenn. Harris made front-page headlines (and almost every television outlet) 10 years ago when she ran over her “cheating husband.” Consider this – men who kill their cheating wives are frequently given the legal mitigation of extreme emotional disturbance or of “provocation,” why not this woman? (There is actually a reason in this case, but it is a fair question for analytical analysis and critical thinking and in fairness, it could go either way.)
For more information on Dr. Pappas' pedagogical approach, see her article, "Creating an Antidote to Student Apathy: The News of the Week," in Teacher Scholar: The Journal of the State Comprehensive University, Volume 3, Number 1 pp. 45-51.