Billy 'Sir Thomas More' Bulger
and Harvey Silverglate
have competing columns this morning on all the recent criticism aimed at Billy Bulger, specifically whether Billy was somehow duty bound to help apprehend his older brother, Whitey.
Needless to say, you know where Hub Blog stands. As much as I admire Harvey, he’s setting up a kind of straw-man argument here, suggesting the issue is about whether Bulger has a right to love and protect his brother. But who has argued that Billy shouldn’t love his brother? Who has called for jailing Billy for not testifying about his brother’s whereabouts? The legal system has most definitely protected Billy Bulger’s rights and actions over recent years. He’s a free man. He’s collecting a nearly $200,000 annual public pension. He most certainly is not
facing execution at the hands of a tyrannical king. So why the comparison to Sir Thomas More? And I thought the Robin Hood comparisons were bad enough.
As for unfairly hounding Billy, I’ll concede that we may have reached that point, when it comes to the feds suggesting he pay for his brother’s legal fees. Why should he? Unless the feds legally tie Billy to his brother’s crimes, then he’s under no obligation to pay a dime for anyone else’s defense. And what’s all the fuss about the public paying Whitey’s legal bills? If Whitey hands over more money to the feds, we all know it’s going to be confiscated, just like the $800,000 that the feds grabbed in Whitey’s apartment. In effect, let's assume Whitey has arguably already forfeited the dough to pay for his defense, i.e. the $800,000. Use that money. And not a penny more. ….Howie
has a good column this morning delving into all the Bulger “enablers” over the decades. … And, no, no one is arguing for Dukakis and Weld to be burned at the stake. So spare us the Joan of Arc comparisons. ...Update
-- Robin Hood. Sir Thomas More. Joan of Arc. Who and what next? My bet: Salem witch hunts. Specifically, Giles Corey and Mary Dyer, though she was technically hung for being a Quaker.Update II
-- Bob Ryan
, of all people, has a good column on Whitey and Billy. He's not buying the brotherly-love argument either. Not that he wants Billy beheaded, mind you. ... Another reason to groan at the Sir Thomas More comparison: Billy -- the "presumed scholar, the Man of Letters," as Bob puts it -- will lap up the analogy.Update III
-- A reader writes in about Harvey's op-ed: "... Seriously. Does this guy realize that in actual history, Sir Thomas More, as chancellor, had people tortured--in his own house--for state reasons. And had people burned at the stake?" ... A lot of people prefer fairy tales over reality when it comes to the Bulgers.