Pardoning Billy the Kid would be like pardoning Minnie Dean or Labour politicians

As sneaky as a Labour politician and therefore undeserving of a pardon.

Alf will be losing no sleep over the decision to refuse Billy the Kid a pardon.

Chances are that Billy the Kid’s well-being would not have been improved by a pardon, anyway.

As a bad bugger, he would have been dispatched by The Almighty to burn for eternity in hell and a belated pardon in this world was not going to alter that final judgment.

He is reputed to have bumped off 21 people, although there seems to be some doubt about this number.

Wikipedia says –

According to legend, he killed 21 men, but he is generally accepted to have killed between four and nine.

No matter. Just one would have been enough to break the commandment that says thou shalt not kill.

But it’s fascinating to see that certain parties thought it was worth trying to win the pardon.

Advocates for a pardon (as the report in The Telegraph explains) said the gunman had reached a pardon deal with then-governor Lew Wallace in exchange for testimony regarding another shooting.

But Wallace allegedly failed to pardon the outlaw, who was then killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett on July 14, 1881.

Bill Richardson, the outgoing governor of New Mexico, said he has been investigating Billy the Kid since he first took office.

But on his last day as governor, Mr Richardson declined to pardon the gunslinger.

“I have decided not to pardon Billy the Kid because of a lack of conclusiveness, and also the historical ambiguity as to why governor Wallace reneged on his pardon,” Mr Richardson said.

Jenny McCartney, a Telegraph columnist, will be cheering the governor.

She raised a good point in asking: why meddle with a myth?

Billy the Kid has won a great deal of posthumous celebrity for being an outlaw – a role at which he apparently worked hard – and an outlaw he should remain. A move to render him slightly less of an outlaw, so long after his death, rather misses the point, like pardoning Dick Turpin for highway robbery.

In this country, the equivalent would be pardoning that McKenzie bugger for sheep stealing or Minnie Dean for murdering babies.

McCartney went on to apply her scorn to the news, earlier this month, that

… the outgoing governor of Florida had pardoned the late Jim Morrison for exposing himself on stage, on the basis that Morrison may not have done it. These charges caused Morrison a deal of trouble when he was alive, but have only embellished his reputation thereafter. I suspect that, could they speak from beyond the grave, very few of these characters would be begging our pardon.

The account of Billy the Kid and his exploits at Wikipedia points out that his real name was Henry McCarty, and his aliases were Henry Antrim and William H. Bonney.

The Wikipedia material includes the following account, which demonstrates conclusively to Alf that McCarty was a sneaky little shit who deserved what was coming.

In January 1880, he reportedly killed a man named Joe Grant in a Fort Sumner saloon.[86] Grant, who did not realize he was playing poker with McCarty, boasted that he would kill “Billy the Kid” if he ever encountered him. In those days people loaded their revolvers with only five rounds, with the hammer down on an empty chamber. This was done to prevent an accidental discharge should the hammer be struck. The Kid asked Grant if he could see his ivory handled revolver and, while looking at the weapon, rotated the cylinder so the hammer would fall on the empty chamber when the trigger was pulled. He then informed Grant of his identity. When Grant fired, nothing happened, and McCarty then shot him. When asked about the incident later, he remarked, “It was a game for two, and I got there first”.

Not exactly Queensbury Rules, eh?

The sort of shabby trick you would expect a Labour politician to pull.

And Alf would never pardon a Labour politician.

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