November 8, 2009

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On Second Chances “The Long Shadow of Willie Horton” (October 18) made some good points about commutations for inmates in Massachusetts. Joe Donovan is one example of a flaw in the system, while Arnold King is a very poor example. Despite the fact that King has allegedly turned his life around, he executed a promising young man, from a wonderful family, whose only mistake was crossing the path of a cold-blooded murderer. It is beyond belief that so many people who are against capital punishment have the audacity to seek parole or commutation for convicted killers because the inmate has earned a college degree or been “born again.” Victims are soon forgotten by everyone except family and friends who live out their lives thinking of what might have been.

J. Patrick Grimes / Watertown

Reading about the impact Willie Horton’s furlough had on the 1988 presidential election reminded me of a visit to Chicago right after that election. I was in a shuttle van leaving Midway Airport. The driver, a jovial South Side native, was talking with two Western businessmen about the election results. He glanced at me in the mirror and asked, “You back there, where you from?” I said, “Massachusetts.” Without missing a beat, he said, “Do you know Willie Horton?” and the three of them laughed. At that moment, I fully realized how Horton’s furlough had doomed the candidacy of Michael Dukakis.

David F. Malone / Hingham

Blond Highlights The excerpt from the book by Larry Bird and Magic Johnson with Jackie MacMullan (“Kings of the Court,” October 18) was most interesting to our family. Many years ago, my brother-in-law, Anthony Tuccinardi, told us that Larry Bird had gotten into his car and that he and his buddies had driven Bird downtown. Needless to say, no one ever believed this tale. But Anthony and his buddies have finally been vindicated, and now I can never make fun of his story again. Sorry, Anthony!

Marianne Gaudet / Wilmington

Since sitting in the Boston Garden in 1979 (has it really been 30 years?) and asking my friend, “Who’s the blond?” my fascination with Larry Bird has never wavered. Nor apparently has it for his legion of other fans. Finally, a book that gives more than stats. I’m looking forward to reading it. I doubt the guy who gave Larry and Quinn Buckner a ride ever sold that car!

Carol Straub Podolske / Mequon, Wisconsin

Introducing Dad I loved Jessica Cerretani’s “I’m Coming Out” (Coupling, October 18). My dad is transgender, and because of the physical aspects of his change, the conversation with new boyfriends always happened pretty early. Thanks to Cerretani for writing this piece and for working on her book. I’m so glad the new generation of kids with gay parents will have so many resources to let them know they’re not alone.

Sarah Weiser / Weston

  • November 8, 2009 cover
  • november 8 globe magazine cover
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