SEOUL, Dec. 20 (Yonhap) — North Korea said New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson met Monday with a ranking official of the communist country to deliver “a present” for leader Kim Jong-il.
A two-paragraph dispatch by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) suggested Richardson has failed to meet with the 68-year-old leader amid festering regional tensions.
Left-handed or right-handed? It was widely assumed throughout much of the 20th century that Billy the Kid was left-handed. This perception was encouraged by the only documented photograph of McCarty (an undated ferrotype), in which he appears to be wearing a gun belt with a holster on his left side. (All Winchester Model 1873 rifles were made with the loading gate on the right side of the receiver: the “left-handed” photograph is a mirror image.) Indeed, the notion of a left-handed Billy became so entrenched that, in 1958, a film biography of “the Kid” (starring Paul Newman) was titled The Left Handed Gun.
In 1954, however, western historians James D. Horan and Paul Sann wrote that McCarty was “right-handed and carried his pistol on his right hip”. More recently, in response to a story from The Guardian that used an uncorrected McCarty ferrotype, Clyde Jeavons, a former curator of the National Film and Television Archive, cited their work and added:
This particular reproduction error has occurred so often in books and other publications over the years that it has led to the myth that Billy the Kid was left-handed, for which there is no evidence. On the contrary, the evidence (from viewing his photo correctly) is that he was right-handed: he wears his pistol on his right hip with the butt pointing backwards in a conventional right-handed draw position.
Over the past eight years Governor Bill Richardson has received dozens of communiqués regarding a pardon of Henry McCarty, a/k/a Henry Antrim, a/k/a William H. Bonney, a/k/a “Billy the Kid.” These reference the widespread belief that in return for damning testimony which The Kid provided at a later murder trial, a pardon was promised – but never granted – by then-New Mexico Territorial Governor Lew Wallace for earlier actions committed by The Kid during the Lincoln County Wars in New Mexico in the latter half of the 19th century. Specifically this issue revolves around The Kid’s alleged role in the killing of one Sheriff William Brady, a suspected operative of a rival faction during the Wars.
Received communications include several petitions in various stages of completion urging a posthumous pardon of The Kid.
In an effort to clarify the issue, the administration has been reviewing the historical record surrounding these events through various documents, accounts, personal interviews and other materials. Independently, nationally prominent trial attorney Randi McGinn was designated to review both the history and prior petitions to ascertain whether there was sufficient basis for the matter to be seriously considered. Ms. McGinn – a New Mexico resident and western history enthusiast – agreed to undertake this voluntarily and at no cost to taxpayers.
After concluding her review, and upon finding sufficient merit to warrant consideration, Ms. McGinn submitted a formal petition on December 14, 2010 requesting that Governor Richardson honor the pledge of a pardon for Billy the Kid as initially offered by Governor Wallace.
Governor Richardson will assess this petition and decide a course of action sometime after Christmas but before the end of this year. Any decision will be made in light of the explicit concern as to whether one of his predecessors as governor committed the state of New Mexico to a specific act, and whether that pledge was upheld. This is important not only in the context of keeping one’s word, but also as it relates to the rich historical record of the American Old West and New Mexico’s unique place in it.
It must be emphasized that Governor Richardson has made no predetermination regarding this petition. His review will be an earnest exercise based on fact and the historical record.
As part of his deliberations Governor Richardson is seeking comments from the general public, as well as history buffs, experts in the field, and family members of the affected parties . If you wish to comment on the petition or recommend an outcome please do so by submitting comments via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Comments may also be submitted via regular mail to:
Office of the Governor
490 Old Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe , NM 87501
ATTN: Eric Witt / BTK
Please limit your comments to the contents, events and pleas contained in the petition. They are narrow in scope and do NOT argue for a blanket pardon of all The Kid’s activities including his subsequent killing of two deputies at the Lincoln County jail, nor the role of Sheriff Pat Garrett in the resulting manhunt for, and killing of, The Kid — which matters are not here disputed.
The deadline for receipt of comments is December 26, 2010.
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