No pardon for Billy the Kid

Hope he grows the beard back

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, on his final day in office Friday, did not pardon legendary outlaw Billy the Kid.

It was a very close call,” Richardson said from his office in Santa Fe when announcing he “decided not to pardon Billy the Kid,” one of New Mexico’s more infamous native sons, on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Richardson said his decision was based in part on ambiguity surrounding the record in which territorial Gov. Lew Wallace agreed to pardon Billy the Kid — real name Henry McCarty but also known as Henry Antrim and William H. Bonney — in exchange for the outlaw’s testimony in a range war killing, but later reneged on his promise.

Billy the Kid testified but “Wallace didn’t keep his end of the bargain,” Richardson said, and the criminal, romanticized by oral tradition and Hollywood, later shot and killed two deputies…

Richardson said a decision about Billy the Kid’s fate in this matter was important because “this is America’s history” and the issue has festered since 1881.

Legend says Billy the Kid killed 21 men but it is generally accepted that he killed between four and nine before he was shot to death by Sheriff Pat Garrett at the age of 21.

This is a special chuckle here in New Mexico. As well as Governor Bill plays the media in New Mexico, he games the national and international media-types even more thoroughly.

He’s been playing the Billy the Kid card for eight years and every time he gets coverage from the BBC to Pravda.

Meanwhile, the TV stations down in Albuquerque tried to climb on board with online polls for viewers – and got fewer than a thousand responses.

That’s OK, though. Next week our shiny new Republican governor takes office and she can start increasing the unemployment numbers with the state employees she will lay-off. Newspapers and TV will forget about the Lincoln County wars for another decade or so.

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