The Truth and Myth of Willie Horton

With Republicans finally running effective campaign ads on the crime issue, we are hearing predictable cries from the soft-on-crime crowd that this is Willie Horton all over again. It is, but that does not mean what they are implying. Horton and his crimes were a completely valid criticism of a horrible policy decision by Massachusetts Governor and presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, but it has gone down in leftist mythology as racist fear-mongering. Diana Allocco has the first of a two-part series of articles at Tipp Insights here.

In a nutshell, Massachusetts had a prison furlough program, as many states did. Unlike most states, murderers were eligible. The legislature passed a bill to exclude them, but Dukakis vetoed it. He later reluctantly signed a similar bill, too late for the Maryland couple viciously attacked by Horton after his walkaway from the furlough.

The more recent tidal wave of soft-on-crime legislation and policies has produced many such horror stories of horrible crimes that need not and should not have happened. Ramming them down the throats of politicians who care more about guilty criminals than innocent victims is entirely appropriate. That is how democracy should work. Elected officials should be held accountable for their policies and the consequences of those policies, and the people need to be told about them.