Capital Punishment


The Debate over the merits of capital punishment has
endured for years, and continues to be an extremely
indecisive and complicated issue. Adversaries of capital
punishment point to the Marshalls and the Millgards, while
proponents point to the Dahmers and Gacys. Society must be
kept safe from the monstrous barbaric acts of these
individuals and other killers, by taking away their lives
to function and perform in our society. At the same time,
we must insure that innocent people such as Marshall and
Millgard are never convicted or sentenced to death for a
crime that they did not commit.
Many contend that the use of capital punishment as a form
of deterrence does not work, as there are no fewer murders
on a per- capita basis in countries or states that do have
it, then those that do not. In order for capital punishment
to work as a deterrence, certain events must be present in
the criminal's mind prior to committing the offense. The
criminal must be aware that others have been punished in
the past for the affiance that he or she is planning, and
that what happened to another individual who committed this
affiance, can also happen to him/her..
But individuals who commit any types of crime ranging from
auto theft to 1st-Degree Murder, never take into account
the consequences of their actions. Deterrence to crime, is
rooted in the individuals themselves. Every human has a
personal set of conduct such as how much they will and will
not tolerate and how far they will and will not go. This
personal set of conduct can be made or be broken by
friends, family, home, life, etc. An individual who is
never taught some sort of restraint as a child, will
probably never understand any limit as to what they can do,
until they have learned it themselves. Therefore, capital
punishment will never truly work as a deterrent, because of
human nature to ignore practiced advice and to self learn.
There are those who claim that capital punishment is in
itself a form of vengeance on the killer. But isn't locking
up a human being behind steel bars for many years,
vengeance itself? And is it "humane" that an individual who
took the life of another, should receive heating, clothing,
indoor plumbing, 3 meals a day, while a homeless person who
has harmed no one receives nothing? Adversaries of capital
punishment claim that it is far more humane then having the
state take away the life of the individual.
In February 1963, Gary McCorkell, a 19 year old sex
offender, was scheduled to hang. But just days before his
execution, the then Liberal cabinet of Lester Person
commuted McCorkell to life in prison. Less than 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 attempted murder of an
11-year old boy.
What has been gained by this? Had McCorkell been executed
in 1963, two boys would never have had to have gone through
the horror of being sexually abused. These individuals may
themselves become sex offenders, as many sex offenders were
sexually abused as children.
McCorkell may have been a victim of sexual assault in the
past, but that does not justify what he did. He did not do
this only once. He killed two boys, and assaulted two
others, leaving one for dead. He knew exactly what he was
doing. What right does this man have to live? He has ruined
the lives of 4 children. What will he do in life that will
compensate for that? What kind of a life would the state
have been taking away in this case? An innocent life? A
forgiving life? No, a life that was beyond the realm of
reform, and did not care to be.
We must be careful. We must be very careful to never, even
when suspicion may cause considerable doubt, send an
innocent person to be executed. It could have happened to
David Millgard, it could have happened to Donald Marshall.
It probably has even occurred numerous times in the history
of the earth. But with proper police investigations, and
where the evidence shows that the individual is a threat to
the peace of society as long as he or she is alive, capital
punishment must be used


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