A man by the name of Gary Mark Gilmore spent most of his life either in trouble or in jail being punished for it. He was born December 4 1940 and he grew up in Portland, Oregon. He was abused by his father and when the family moved to Salt Lake City, he started on a life of crime. When the family moved back to Portland, Gilmore became a neighborhood tough and dropped out of school at the age of 14. His involvement in a car theft ring opened his long criminal record. He was arrested a second time, and was sent to a boys reformatory, where he spent most of the time in solitary confinement. After his release, he was arrested again and spent much of the two years in jail.

In 1961 he moved back with his parents, but was arrested two more times, the second time tearing his cell apart when he learned that his father had died of cancer. Gilmore was in jail for 11 years, and was released in 1976. Three months later on July 19, he killed a service station attendant during a robbery attempt in Utah. The following night, repeating the crime, he murdered a 25-year-old motel manager. Both men, married and having children, had been shot twice in the back of the head.

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Gilmore was caught, convicted, and, in October 1976, was sentenced to death. On the morning of January 17, 1977, Gilmore was led from his cell on death row to a vacant cannery, tied to a Rivera 2beat-up office chair, and read his execution order. A hood was placed over his head and the five marksmen, seated 10 feet away behind a canvas curtain, fired at a black target pinned on his chest, and Gilmore died, the first man in the United States to be put to death following the ten-year moratorium on capital punishment ended by the Supreme Court in 1967. (Mill 57)Capital punishment does not only lower the murder rate, but its value as retribution alone is a good reason for handing out death sentences. Support for the death penalty in the U.

S. has risen to an average of 80 percent. The death penalty deters murder by putting the fear of death into would be killers.

A person is less likely to do something, if he or she thinks that harm will come to him or her. Another way the death penalty deters murder, is the fact that if the killer is dead, he will not kill again. Most supporters of the death penalty feel that offenders should be punished for their crimes, and that it does not matter whether it will deter the crime rate.

There are those who claim that capital punishment is in itself a form of vengeance on the killer. But isnt locking up a human being behind steel bars for many years, vengeance itself? And isnt it inhumane that an individual who took the life of another, should receive heating, clothing, indoor Rivera 3plumbing, 3 meals a day, while a homeless person who has harmed no one and had done nothing receives nothing? The primary purpose of legal punishment is to deter crime. Over the years theorists have agreed on three additional purposes of punishment-rehabilitation, bringing about changes in the character of the convict, incapacitation, also referred to as isolation from society, or imprisonment, and finally, justice which without a doubt, is one of the main reasons for punishment. (Van de Haag 53)In February 1963, Gary McCorkell, a 19-year-old sex offender, was scheduled to hang. Just days before his execution, the then liberal cabinet of Lester Person commuted McCorkell to life in prison.

Less that 20 years later, McCorkell was arrested, tried, and convicted for the kidnapping and rape of a 10-year-old Tennessee boy. He was sentenced to 63 years in prison. Prior to leaving Canada, he was sought by Metro Police in the murder of an 11-year old boy. (Mill 32)Had McCorkell been executed in 1963, two boys would never have gone through the horror of being abused, and the 11-year old boy wouldnt of had his life taken by a madman.Rivera 4Society must be kept safe from the monstrous and barbaric acts of violent killers, by taking their lives to function and perform in our society.

At the same time we must insure that innocent people are never convicted or sentenced to death for crimes they did not commit.In 1986 a young white woman was killed at a dry cleaners in Monroeville, Alabama. For the next 8 months the police were unable to come up with any likely suspects. Finally, police arrested Walter McMillian, a black man who lived in a nearby town. McMillian denied murdering the woman; he claimed he was with his relatives all day, in fact, his story was corroborated by several people. Nevertheless, he was arrested, tried, convicted, and imprisoned on death row even before formal sentencing.

For more than six years McMillian was on death row until finally was proved innocent. A study by the Stanford Law Review found that between 1900 and 1985, 349 people were incorrectly convicted of capital crimes and later found to be innocent on the basis of reexamination of cases. Of these, 23 were actually executed. The debate over the merits of capital punishment had endured for years, and continues to be an extremely indecisive and complicated issue.I, personally am for the death penalty. I believe in the eye for an eye punishment.

If someone kills they should be killed, no questions asked. I just would not want an innocent person executed for a crime that they did not commit.

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