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Episode 4: Ronald Ryan
Transcript
We'll look at words for legal killing and the expressions 'in cold blood' and 'stick to your guns'
At 8 am on Friday the third of January 1967 Ronald Ryan was hanged for murder. He was the last man legally executed in Australia. Ryan was convicted of killing a guard during an escape from prison. The hanging of Ronald Ryan provoked some of the largest public protests ever seen in Australia.

What would you like to see happen about the whole question of capital punishment?

Well, I'd like to see it abolished completely. Be civilised about it. What's the use of hanging a man from the neck? What's it prove? They get satisfaction out of it, the people on the street are against it, the majority against it.

I'm like a lot that believe that we should've advanced beyond that stage.

Oh, well, I think he should be. Definitely.

Yeah why?

Well I reckon it's eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth and because you've gotta stop all these other murders happening around the place.
The legal killing of someone as punishment by the state is referred to in several ways. The formal term is capital punishment. Listen:
What would you like to see happen about the whole question of capital punishment?

Well. I'd like to see it abolished completely.
Ryan was hanged by the neck from a rope and that form of capital punishment is called hanging:
The hanging of Ronald Ryan provoked some of the largest public protests ever seen in Australia.
Another word for capital punishment is execution:
People from all walks of life joined the large and well organised campaign to prevent his execution
And one more name for this is the death penalty:
The protest campaign failed to save Ryan but it ultimately won the larger battle. Governments around Australia considered it too difficult politically to ever resort to the death penalty again.
Now listen to the way the next 2 speakers describe the death penalty:
I think it's a crime to take another man's life legally this way. I mean war is a different thing, but to take it cold-bloodedly, I don't agree with it at all.

But I think when you're hangin' a man you're makin' somebody else do a cold-blooded murder.
They both use versions of the expression 'in cold blood', which refers to killing someone deliberately and without emotion. The first speaker uses the adverb cold-bloodedly:
I think it's a crime to take another man's life legally this way. I mean war is a different thing, but to take it cold-bloodedly , I don't agree with it at all.
The second man uses the adjective cold blooded:
...I think when you're hangin' a man you're makin' somebody else do a cold-blooded murder.
Not everyone was against the hanging. The next speaker says it should be an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, meaning that someone who kills someone should themselves be killed:
Well I reckon it's eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth and because you've gotta stop all these other murders happening around the place.
The word that expresses the idea that capital punishment stops people committing murder is deterrent:
I'm for it. I think Bolte's quite right in sticking to his guns and I don't see why hanging isn't a great deterrent to criminals. If that isn't , I don't know what is.
She says 'Bolte's quite right in sticking to his guns'. Bolte was the state's leader at the time. She means that by "sticking to his guns", he is not going to change his mind about the execution. Listen again:
I'm for it. I think Bolte's quite right in sticking to his guns...
So we've seen that the words for the state killing criminals are capital punishment, the death penalty, execution and, in this case, hanging. Killing in cold blood is killing deliberately and without emotion. The adverb is cold bloodedly and the adjective is cold blooded. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth means that killers should be killed, a deterrent is something that stops people from doing something and sticking to your guns is not changing your opinion. We'll finish with the passionate opinions of an opponent of capital punishment who is also sticking to her guns:
You can't ignore the opinions of the representatives of all the major churches. You can't ignore the opinions of other parliamentarians. You can't ignore the opinions of prison education officers. You can't ignore the opinions of parole officers. You can't ignore the opinions of social workers. You can't ignore the opinions of university teachers. You can't ignore the opinions of the ordinary person in the street.

What about the worker!

Because public opinion has changed so much.

However, the execution went ahead in spite of public opinion.
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