PUBLIC OPINION > The Aurora Shooter Should Get the Death Penalty

News 2012/07/31 21:00:00
The nation is still struggling to process the tragic events of July 20, when 12 people were shot dead in a Colorado theater during a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." The suspected gunman, James Eagan Holmes, was charged with 24 counts of first-degree murder. That's two for each victim: one standard charge, and one with "extreme indifference to the value of human life generally." We asked the public if the shooter should get the death penalty.

Looking back at Colorado's recent history with capital punishment, we find that only one person has been executed since 1977 -- Gary Lee Davis, for the rape and murder of one woman. There are also three people on death row in Colorado -- Nathan Dunlap, who murdered four people; Mario Owns, who murdered two people; and Robert Ray, who ordered the murder of two people. Given the company, it doesn't sound like it will be that difficult to get the shooter on death row. The public will be happy to hear it.

Proximity Poll

Before we get into the demographics proper, we wanted to compare the results of this poll to one we took in April. At that time, we asked if the death penalty was necessary. About 62% of the public felt it was. However, this time, relating the issue to a horrendous case that's still fresh in our minds, overall support for the death penalty was 14% higher.

Liberals Let Go

Age and politics seemed to have the most significant correlation with how people responded, but the political breakdown was more interesting when compared to the April poll. While conservative opinion remained about the same, liberals almost doubled their support from 33% to 59%. However, that could have something to do with the wording -- "Is the death penalty necessary?" versus "Should he get it?"

Teens Are Torn

Teens were the only major demographic that was still undecided. Only 51% of them think the shooter should get the death penalty. There were several arguments against it -- death is too painless, we shouldn't stoop to his level, some even pitched conspiracy theories and government cover-ups. The most popular response to any of those arguments was the cost of a life sentence.

If you'd like to vote on this question, dig deeper into the demographics, or engage in existing discussion about the topic, visit our poll about the death penalty. We'd love to hear from you!
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Top Opinion

  • Anonymouse ~superdoge~ 2012/07/31 23:32:37
    Anonymouse ~superdoge~
    Don't like the death penalty. Why not let them give back to society? Hard labour, mining, medical testing, there are lots of things we could put scum to work on. Why not use them instead of defenceless animals in early-stage pharmaceutical testing?

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  • rosa.lopes.1029 2014/08/19 00:15:55
    Who the hell are you to seat your self a judge of anyone? leave judgement to God for He alone is capable of judging and not us .God alone has the right to take life for only He is the Creator and only He has the right to do so.Please open your heart to the possibility that this man may be innocent of the crimes that he is accused.Judge not but love and learn to see other through the eyes of the Creator and His beloved Son Jesus Christ who paid a very high price for his soul
  • Jorge Enriquez 2012/08/30 20:01:09
    Jorge Enriquez
    Yea its our nature...to kill the dog
  • Bibliophilic 2012/08/13 18:33:54
    He should be subjected to psychological tests in order to benefit humankind, and then placed in a jail cell. He'll have loads on fun in prison for life.
  • brian.southworth.921 2012/08/13 17:42:37
    I lost a loved one due the the Briley brothers in Virginia. I was young, but when the last one was executed I felt a sense of satisfaction. I see it as retribution. Yes, this man should be executed.
  • jumpthegun 2012/08/13 15:20:51
    ok so, we let the world know that killing people is wrong, and we deal with people who have murdered other be murdering them ourselves...
  • Leon Morgan 2012/08/13 13:22:17
    Leon Morgan
    eye for an eye ,tooth for a tooth!
  • daniel.graue 2012/08/12 09:49:55
    I think Death is too easy. Let him rot in a dark cell for a few years first.
  • tannims 2012/08/10 08:19:38
    They put animals to sleep for attacking and he's an animal
  • tannims 2012/08/10 08:16:51
    Yes totally life for a life the guys a total nut who's he think he is ,booby traps his home and goes on a rampage they should. Bring the death penilty over to uk to free the prisons up a bit if you kill you should be punished the same, sorry
  • Michael Drakopoulos 2012/08/08 19:29:28
    Michael Drakopoulos
    When I first heard of this I could not believe it. After researching more about it I really think this guy deserves the death penalty. I would hate to see him win and just be put in a mental hospital or go to prison. Even though people would probably destroy him in prison.
  • llamalife44 2012/08/08 16:36:45
  • JayLynx 2012/08/07 03:55:54
    He is crazy. A crazy is a sick person. What about sending him serve life sentence in an asylum?
    By the way, every person can have a fire gun there... isn't?
  • Nay ॐ ‏ 2012/08/05 19:32:07
    Nay ॐ ‏
    No, death pinalty is not the answer. He's got mental disorder, make him well.
  • Ian 2012/08/05 17:25:10
    I think life in prison is much better, show him what he is going to miss out on,every hour, of the day, all his life.
  • Bill 2012/08/05 15:35:57
    The electric chair or gas chamber sounds fine to me. No woosey lethal injection.
  • britbiker 2012/08/05 02:03:46
    Good Luck with that, He'll either get Life without parole ( Joke ) or get put in a nut hut
  • sonofason 2012/08/05 01:33:50
  • themadhare ~IJM 2012/08/05 00:45:23
    themadhare ~IJM
    Yes, but first I want to have his brain checked for a tumor similar to Charles Whitman's.
  • ehrhornp 2012/08/04 23:57:42
    I am against the death penalty. I don't agree in giving the government that much power. Finally the person is obviously nuts. I hope he is given a full medical and psychological exam. May be that he as a brain tumor which caused his odd behavior.
  • Torchmanner ~PWCM~JLA 2012/08/04 21:59:55
    Torchmanner ~PWCM~JLA
    Looking at the chart, it is liberals and brainwashed public school children who are voting no.
  • Sophia0... Torchma... 2012/08/05 14:22:56
    Actually, most are voting no in favour of making him suffer as long as possible. At least that's what I hope happens. Solitary for the rest of his life sounds better than just letting him off easy with death, am I right?
  • NeutronBomb 2012/08/04 20:45:04
    I dont believe in the death penalty in any case so I would have to say no.
  • Michael Mcconnell 2012/08/04 13:30:59
    Michael Mcconnell
    The 'two wrongs don't make a right' is too simplistic in this situation. His main goal that day was to kill as many as possible. Being put to sleep is too good for him.
  • JayLynx Michael... 2012/08/07 04:00:15
    Then, Bush deserve a death penalty too.
  • llamali... JayLynx 2012/08/08 16:37:32
  • JayLynx llamali... 2012/08/09 03:44:52
    of course, for the same reason: he killed a lot of innocent people!
  • Stevethinks 2012/08/04 12:00:09
    Two wrongs do not a right make. This guy hasn't been tried and convicted by a jury. He is innocent until that time. Why not dissolve the courts, they'er expensive to maintain, and try cases on Twitter or Facebook?
  • Snowman :3 2012/08/04 11:48:24
  • JayLynx Snowman :3 2012/08/07 04:01:58
    Why not a psychiatric treatment?
  • Snowman :3 JayLynx 2012/08/07 04:05:25
    Snowman :3
    maybe, i dont know all the options....
  • JayLynx Snowman :3 2012/08/07 04:45:11
    Yes, maybe he is just a crazy guy; whose insane behavior is giving an evil/abnormal entertainment to crazy people... You see how many judges we have here in SD, some of them with elaborated cruelty in mind... What's happening to the normal american persons? What happens with "in God we trust"?
  • Snowman :3 JayLynx 2012/08/07 04:49:00
    Snowman :3
    without a doubt he would just be psychotic or something
  • JayLynx Snowman :3 2012/08/07 04:58:38
    Not only he seems to be psychotic or sociopath, but the people are here imagining the kind of punishment he deserves.
    I sorry for the victims, their parents and friends. And I sorry for his mother, too.
  • C-ZAR™ of the PHÆT 2012/08/04 09:25:28
    C-ZAR™ of the PHÆT
    Kill him and be done with it!!
  • David (oYo) 2012/08/04 08:38:04
  • LEFT IS NOT RIGHT 2012/08/04 06:45:27
    Apparently his case files are being sealed. At WHO'S order, I wonder...I smell a Black Op!
  • tony 2012/08/04 04:51:44
    Waste him. Harvest his organs.
  • SJesh 2012/08/04 02:41:03
  • David (... SJesh 2012/08/04 08:39:16
  • JayLynx SJesh 2012/08/07 04:10:55
    You're right.
    The goal is selling fire guns in US and out there. When the shot people are at Irak, it is ok, when inside the home it is a crime... Everyone has a red blood - life is sacred, anywhere.
    Anyway, in this case, that guy is just a mental ill.
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