Not since Fidel Castro emptied the prisons of violent criminals along with political dissidents in Cuba in 1980 during what has become known as the Mariel boatlift, have so many undesirables been unleashed on the public by a chief executive as ex-governor Haley Barbour's pardons on the last day of his second term of office.
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 convicted felons got a get out of jail free card by the outgoing governor. No doubt some were justified. The former governor says 90% were recommended by the parole board. I doubt that is the case with David Gatlin, the trustee that worked in the governor's mansion who was convicted of killing his wife with a shot to the head while she held their infant daughter in 1993…since he was denied parole just days before being pardoned by the governor.
Some of those were 29 felons convicted of murder, manslaughter or homicide. The public outcry has been great. Some 94 percent of those voting on wdam.com said that violent offenders should not be granted pardons. Early paroles are controversial enough for the more heinous types of crimes…a pardon is making it just like it never happened. That is a slap in the face to the victims and families of victims of violent crimes. We don't know what the governor was thinking…but these actions taken on his way out the door certainly sully the legacy of what was arguably one of the better gubernatorial stints in recent history. I'm Jim Cameron and that's today's Viewpoint…let us hear from you.