Thursday, January 12, 2012

Republican Governor Pulls a “Willie Horton” in Mississippi – Let’s Murderers Go Free

Where’s the Law and Order Crowd When You Need Them?

Flashback to history.  Willie Horton was a Massachusetts convict serving a life sentence without possibility of parole.  For reasons that are totally inexplicable, he was granted a furlough from prison.  Really, he was.  While on furlough Mr. Horton committed assault and rape. 

In the 1988 Presidential campaign the George H. W. Bush folks tied this horrific act to Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.  The ads were shown with the picture of a menacing African American, and while the Dukakis campaign was probably doomed anyway, they were considered highly effective in defeating Mr. Dukakis.  Furthermore the ad campaign tarnished Democrats as “soft on crime” and Republicans as the party of law and order.

So how does one explain the fact that Mississippi Governor Hailey Barbour, a staunch right wing Republican has pardoned, not just let out on furlough, but pardoned a man who was serving a life sentence without parole after being convicted of murder.  David Glenn Gatlin committed a rather awful crime

In 1993, the paper writes, Gatlin "leveled a gun at the head of his wife, Tammy, and killed her while she held their 2-month-old child, then turned the gun on family friend Randy Walker and shot him in the head as well. Walker survived."

On Dec. 27, the Mississippi Parole Board refused to release Gatlin.

So how in the world did this man get a pardon?  Well here’s how.

The Associated Press, citing victims' families, says Barbour, a Republican, pardoned at least three killers working as trusties. CNN quotes a corrections officials as saying he pardoned two men serving life sentences for murder.

The inmates were freed Sunday. Barbour leaves office Tuesday after two terms. He will be succeeded by Republican Phil Bryant.

The AP writes that in 2008 he explained that "releasing the trusties who live and work at the mansion is a tradition in Mississippi that goes back decades."

First of all, what were these vicious criminals doing working as trustees at the Governor’s mansion in the first place.  Shouldn't a trustee be someone who was convicted of a minor crime and who is not considered dangerous to society, say someone who got their third jay walking offense and went to jail on a “three strikes and you’re out” charge?  Who in their right mind allows convicted murderers serving life without parole to work in the Governor’s mansion?

One can just imagine the Governor introducing the trustee to his wife and family. 

 "Hi, this gentleman will be working at the house, free to do whatever he wants.  He is serving life without parole for shooting his wife while she held their baby and killing her, and then shooting another man in the head.  Everyone says he's a fine person, nothing to worry about.  When you get a chance would you show him where we keep the sharp knives"

Well wait a minute though, tradition is involved here.  Now Mississippi is not a great place for tradition.  It used to be traditional to own slaves; it used to be traditional to deny African American citizens the right to vote or attend integrated schools or drink from the same water fountain as Caucasians.  Mississippi has a whole lot of other awful traditions, many of whom are thankfully long gone.

No one should expect the righteous Conservative movement to rise up against this outrage, Rush Limbaugh will not blast the Governor and no Presidential candidate will say this is something they would never do.  That sort of reaction is only when reprehensible like this is done by a Democrat.  When Republicans do it, it is not a problem.

1 comment:

  1. Barbour was one of the real crazies that didn't make the GOP cut. I am grateful.