Talk:Willie Horton/Archive 1

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Case for a Name Change

I think that there could be a good case for changing this article from Willie Horton to William Horton. Although I realize he is known as Willie Horton by the general public, it is well-documented that he goes by "William." He was renamed "Willie" by Republicans in order to, to put it bluntly, seem "blacker." Titling this article "Willie Horton" merely continues this misconstruction of the facts. It is unfair. Articles that are titled according to a person's nickname ("Bill" Clinton" rather than William; "Dick" Cheney rather than Richard") are alright because that is how the subject prefers to be referred. This is not the case with this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:39, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

He was called Willie to make him seem blacker? And your evidence for this is what, exactly? Oh, that's right, you don't have any. How silly of me to even ask. And what he prefers to be referred to now, two decades after the ad ran, is irrelevant; I would be willing to to bet everything I own that you have no idea what people used to call Horton back in the late 80s. The racism charges in regards to this incident have always been patently ridiculous. The notion that it is somehow racist to point out that Dukakis let a convicted murderer have a vacation, which he used to commit more brutal crimes, is so asinine, it could have only had its genesis with Jesse "everyone I think I see becomes a racist to me" Jackson. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:06, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
So you are seriously arguing that, in the absence of proof of what nickname a person used, you should assign him a nickname? Hmm, that sounds ... shall we say ... unsurprising. For you to say here. I assume you would be so quick to condemn someone attempting to set the record straight on how Ted Bundy went by "Theodore?" Oh wait, no, because you dedicate your time to defending racism. (talk) 22:02, 18 November 2012 (UTC)

Please re-title this article from Willie Horton to William Horton its current form, it is quite unfair to the former All-Star baseball player - Willie Horton. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Chuckjav (talkcontribs) 14:51, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

Unfortunately, both of these people are known to the public almost excusively as "Willie." There is probably no way out of this. Each article has a dab reference at the top ... (talk) 23:49, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Let's work on this

"Sordid" is almost invariably rife with POV; it's also non-NPOV to find it "surprising" that Atwater claimed a deathbed conversion to "Born-again Christianity". But I am not the arbriter of non-NPOV and won't appoint myself such in this case, unless no one steps up, I suppose.

Rlquall 17:06, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)


"Attempting to counter-attack, Dukakis's campaign ran a similar ad about a Hispanic murderer named Angel Medrano who murdered a pregnant mother of two while on furlough from federal prison. Dukakis's ad stated Medrano's name and showed his photograph."

Am I missing something? How could this help Dukakis? --Tothebarricades 09:29, August 11, 2005 (UTC)

Well, it didn't help Dukakis that much -- but presumably it was motivated by the idea that if Dukakis could be held answerable for Massachusetts prison furloughs, then Bush was similarly responsible for federal prison furloughs. Determining whose political campaign was the more hypocritical is left as an exercise for the reader. 09:16, 18 August 2005 (UTC)

Joseph Fournier

Willie Horton is a household name but who the hell is Joseph Fournier? Does anyone else but me care?

I would like to know more about this young man. I do know a few things about him that I remember from a Reader's Digest that I have not been able to verify on the net. The net is so new that much of the info about this case is not available on line. But I do remember a few things like:

There was a brave lady from the Boston Globe(was that it?) that exposed this case that everyone else wanted to sweep under the carpet. What was her name? She and Mr. Fournier's sister helped expose this policy to the national public. What was her name?

The way in which Horton killed young Mr. Fournier needs to be listed. I recall he was shoved the boy into a barrel with his feet up to his chin. It was cruel. He bleed to death and no doubt suffered much pain and fear. But all I ever hear about this case is how unfair it all was -- to Horton.

Fournier was poor, white and powerless so he had the 3 strikes to turn him into a non-entity for "progressives".John celona 18:36, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

-- mccommas

Dukaki has the idea of "rehabilitated prisoners" which branched from the "restorative justice" movement which started as early back as the 60's. This is one of Dukaki's statements during an interview by CNN's Berrie Shaw:
(When asked if Dukaki would change his mind about the death penality if his wife was raped and
murdered.) Dukaki said, "No, I don't, Bernard. And I think you know that I've opposed the death
penalty all of my life. I don't see any evidence that it's a deterrent, and I think there are
better and more effective ways to deal with violent crime. We've done so in my own state. And
it's one of the reasons why we have the biggest drop in crime of an industrial state..."
Unfortunately this was never successful in Dukaki's case. He and his allies wanted to shovel Horton's case under the rock. Joey Fournier's sister then formed an organization called "Citizens Against and Unsafe Society. Then when it was surfaced (mostly by Joey Fournier's sister, who's name I can't remember), they turned the Horton case into a "racist" situation, saying that everything about the Horton case was made just because he was black. On one occasion, Jamieson claims that it was Bush (Sr's.) administration's dirty trick to change William Horton's name to Willie (like an act of racism). In July 1988 Reader's Digest Jamieson refers to Willie Horton as William J. Horton., Jr, saying that it's his real name (though she, Jamieson, never states how she found that out [did she personally walk down the cell blocks and ask his cell block buddies?]). The fact that the word "Willie" was used instead of William was supposed to be the Republicans making a cruel, racist slur. Of course, this is completely false, as during an interview with liberal columnist Jimmy Breslin the day of Bush's inauguration, Horton referred to himself in the third person as "Willie Horton."
Instead of being treated as a criminal who murdered and mutilated a 17 year old boy (Joey Fournier), stabbed Cliff Barnes repeatedly and raped and stabbed his wife twice, the entire case turned Willie Horton into a saint before the public as it tried to pit Republicans as racist for wishing to apply fair justice in the case of Willie. As Paul Harvey says, "And now you know the rest of the story."--NWalterstorf 17:12, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

What is the significance of calling him "Willie"? (Picture, if you will, not everyone being entirely au fait with the racial political discourse obtaining in those United States. Thank you kindly.) 03:00, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

Al Gore?

Why does half this article involve Al Gore? It seems to me that a few commentators at the time the ads were run tried to shift the issue onto Al's shoulders, saying that the Democrats brought it on themselves. So why does an article on the entire Willie Horton series of events read like an indictment of Al Gore, of all people? What place do quotes from Novak and Kristol criticizing Al Gore ten years after the fact have in an article that should deal with the ads, their creators, their funding, and their effect?

I'm pulling the nonsense quotations out of the article now. Even if they do pertain (and they don't), they're poorly formatted and they don't belong in the middle of the body. --electric counterpoint 17:35, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

I am going to edit down the "Al Gore" part of the interview quite a bit. I know Wikipedia subscribes to the NPOV standard, but NPOV is not the same as "including information known to be false". There is no evidence--no film, no audio, no news article, nothing--to indicate that Al Gore mentioned Horton during the 1988 primary campaign. It's probably true that "some believe" Gore did, but "some believe" the Earth to be flat. The several paragraphs about Gore, who never mentioned Horton, distract from the actual Horton story. Vidor 12:19, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

There's a reason the Clinton/Gore team won in 1992. They did not try to justify and/or rationalize convicted murderers and rapists. As far as Al Gore is concerned, he did not mention Willie Horton by name, but he did criticize the furlough program. SesameRoad 18:57, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

While not taking issue with the "Al Gore never mentioned Horton by name" statement on the main page, it really must be backed up by something other than a mention of the Media Matters website. Media Matters is an unreliable, partisan website which has often been caught lying or twisting facts. If Al Gore never used Horton's name, I am sure there are other, more reliable sources to cite. — Preceding unsigned comment added by TheLastBrainLeft (talkcontribs) 17:08, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Reasoning behind the furlough

It would be helpful, if someone could explain the reasoning behind letting life-without-parole convicts be eligible for a furlough. What arguments did D. use when he vetoed the the bill eliminating this? 20:34, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Life without parole convicts were allowed in the furlough program because of a badly written law. At first, Massachusetts tried to bar such convicts from the program, but a lawsuit was filed and they were ordered to make the program open to all inmates, even lifers. Why Dukakis vetoed a bill to close this loophole, I have no idea. Jsc1973 (talk) 22:05, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

According to Ann Coulter, "Gov. Michael Dukakis vetoed the bill … in a desperate bid for the ACLU's Brain-Dead Liberal of the Year Award"; she adds that contrary to the claim that the ad "marked the beginning of vicious personal attacks in politics", it was the "most devastatingly relevant campaign commercial in all of American history." Asteriks (talk) 11:14, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Citation requirements run amuk

This page claims a citation is needed regarding the Lawrence Eagle Tribune's Pulitzer Prize for reporting on this topic. The "needed" citation can be found right here:

Why/how do these "citation requests" get added without first checking to see if a citation is available already, on another page in the wikipedia? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:36, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Speaking in general terms and not about this particular [citation needed], I think many times they're added by someone who wishes an unpleasant fact were not so, with the subconscious belief that when the tag ages out and the statement is removed, reality will change to match.
When a citation does get provided, they know they have at least succeeded in annoying the opposition. --CliffC (talk) 20:23, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
All information in Wikipedia should be cited, especially when it comes to biographies of living people. I've added a bunch of citations, improved a couple of them to conform to standards, and flagged a few other places where citations are needed. A page like this is likely to be a little bit controversial, so making sure everything is properly cited is a good way of heading off controversy before it starts. Due to the timing of the events in question (that being before the internet boom of the early-mid 90s), wikipedia also seems to have one of the better pages on the subject, and appears to be frequently quoted around the net on this subject.
On that subject, there are still a few facts which I can't cite. I can't find any mention of the Dukakis campaign being asked to remove Medrano's name from the ads, nor can I verify his prison records. Also the second paragraph under "jumping the gun" cites a book by Germond. Assuming this is Jack Germond (and it might not be), he's written several books. My guess is that it's "Whose Broad Stripes and Bright Stars" because that's cites elsewhere, but I don't want to make assumptions here. If someone has that book and wouldn't mind opening it to page 159 to see if that's the right place it would be much appreciated. --Bachrach44 (talk) 18:45, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

Mention of common misconception of what he did while on furlough?

It seems almost the norm that people believe that Mr. Horton committed murder while on furlough...he did commit assault, robbery and rape but did *not* murder anyone--it's such a common misconception I think it almost merits a mention in the main article.Historian932 (talk) 08:16, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

No, he'd already gotten murder out of his system, but apparently not assault, robbery and rape. (talk) 10:49, 24 May 2011 (UTC)