Is The Running Man or Death Race the next step for Reality TV?

Friend and writer Dave Mindeman posted the following blog on mnpACT! a couple weeks ago:

Cheering For The Death Penalty?
by Dave Mindeman

When moderater Brian Williams mentioned Gov. Rick Perry’s record on executions in Texas, I was completely taken aback when the audience began cheering.


I am not a capital punishment advocate but I have learned to deal with it as a matter of political course. But cheering? What could possibly persuade any group of people to stand up and cheer at the idea of executing human beings?

I am firmly convinced that 20 or 30 years from now, when historians look back on this part of our political history, they will be at a loss to explain the public’s acceptance and even zeal about this type of policy. Death penalty executions are fortunately still reasonably rare…except in Texas. And even more disconcerting is that people of color are disproportionately the ones executed.

I would hope (although I have my doubts) that Republicans, as a group, would find cheering for the death penalty inappropriate. I do hope that is the case.

The pros and cons of this “crime deterrent” should be vigorously discussed in public forums. And the political consequences of support or opposition should be left to public opinion.

But cheering for its implementation in such numbers and under all its various circumstances, is as barbaric as its use.

I’ve been writing and thinking a lot about this depressing mob mentality punishment and anti-compassion theme in the public right now.  And it made me think about whether movie lines like The Running Man or Death Race, which use the premise of people actually fighting to the death in bloody gladiator style death matches as public entertainment, might not be far off.

I’m not saying it will happen, but is a public obsessed with reality TV, and fine with letting certain people die and cheering public execution really that far off from going one step further to death, or at least the possibility of death on TV?  Survivor – LITERALLY!  Big Brother the Death Row House.


One thought on “Is The Running Man or Death Race the next step for Reality TV?”

  1. Just curious … many states offer tax incentives for film companies to record in their communities … I know that Minnesota does not have a Death Penalty so that means we won’t get any of that business, but what about Texas ?
    If so then the obvious choice would be Harris county (Houston, Texas) which accounts for 280+ death sentences and 116 executions since 1982. Conversely, of Texas’ 254 counties, 136 have never sent a single offender to death row (1976-present).

    IMO, there are some crimes against society that the criminal deserves the death penalty, but why would one county have so many death sentences ? Seriously, shouldn’t that make us question the effectiveness of the death penalty as a determent for crime ?

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