Patrick M. Hayes (paedraggaidin) wrote in talk_politics,
Patrick M. Hayes

okay, I don't get it...

Killer's pardon sparks fears, worry

Outgoing Mississippi governor Haley Barbour, as one of his last acts, pardoned four convicted murderers including David Gatlin, who, as the story linked described, murdered his estranged wife while she was holding her baby, and attempted to murder her friend. That friend, who survived a gunshot wound to the head, is now (rightfully) living in fear that Gatlin may try to finish what he started. Gatlin, sentenced to life in prison, has just recently been informed he would not be granted parole. But, perhaps because he is a "trustie" (an inmate who gets to perform restaurant-style jobs at the Mississippi Governor's Mansion for his "good behavior" in prison), Barbour is giving this cold-blooded murderer a free pass to reenter society.*

And this is coming from one of the most "pro-life" governors in America, dedicated to fighting for the lives of unborn babies***, who led what he himself described as an "enormously pro-life state." Also, as Barbour's own website declares, a big part of his platform is public safety, including:

Haley's Plan: Safer Communities

* Lead the fight against drug crime
* Protect our children from drugs and sexual predators
* Support Law Enforcement
* Manage the prison system so convicts stay behind bars

Yeah, that last one, emphasis mine, is working out real well. It's not as if Gatlin were some frail old guy near his deathbed who only wants to see his grandkids one last time before he dies. It's not as if he were some dumb kid who made a mistake and was harshly punished by a vindictive judge. It's not as if he were a black man convicted on specious evidence and sentenced by a racist justice system. It's not as if he were some born-again prison preacher who reformed his ways and tries to make his fellow inmates' lives better. Those are all perfectly reasonable bases for pardons. Gatlin, however, was a cold-blooded killer who went after his wife, brutally murdered her, endangered an infant in the process, and then tried to murder another innocent person. The parole board, two weeks ago, thought him insufficiently reformed/punished to be released into society, and denied him parole. That's evidence enough to me that the guy does not deserve to be out on the streets again.

But, he pours wine at fancy gubernatorial dinners, so it's ok.

* I'd say "civilized society" but we are talking about Mississippi here.**
** Okay, that was a cheap shot.
*** Although in Gatlin's case, the baby in the line of fire was already born, and it's a well known fact that "pro-life" folks of Barbour's type only care about a kid's life and wellbeing if it's unborn.
Tags: crime, justice
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