What distinguishes the violence that upholds the legal order from violence that destroys the legal order?

To establish order in society, we use violence (punishments, police enforcement, etc)
What distinguishes that violence which upholds the legal order from violence(criminals) that destroys the legal order?


How can violence be necessary to law and yet also destructive of law?

How do we know when violence is consistent with law?

Does it matter who is performing the violence rather than the kind of violence is being performed? That is, is it about actors or actions?

What role does society – rather than legal actors – play in shaping what is acceptable and what is not?
How is community shaped by law’s legitimate violence?

Suggested sources:
Cover, “Violence and the Word”
Skolnick and Fyfe, Above the Law
Any key text on the death penalty
Either of the movies (Thin Blue Line, Dead Man Walking)

You need not accord equal words or equal degrees of attention to the four categories; you have discretion to emphasize some and deemphasize other of the four categories in this regard.  For example, you can spend more time on the death penalty than on police violence, or vice versa.  But we will look for you to address all four in enough detail for us to assess your argument, and we will judge your choice of emphasized texts for their value in advancing your argument.

Second, you should endeavor to develop an overall, coherent, well-integrated thematic argument in the essay.  Your goal is to make a clear argument that responds directly to the primary question but which addresses the second half of the course overall.  Writing a clear and compelling thesis statement, then is going to be a crucial part of successfully completing this assignment.  Your core argument should be summarized in the introductory and, especially, concluding paragraphs of your essay, and be proved through a series of logical steps (and supported by textual evidence) throughout the body of your paper

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