Kathy Boudin Paroled

In a surprise reversal of its decision just a few months ago, the New York State parole board has granted parole to Kathy Boudin, who was serving a twenty-years-to-life term for murder. The Washington Times has an excellent summary of her case and of the parole board’s decision.
Our younger readers may not know much about the Communist movement of the 1960’s and early 1970’s. Boudin was a member of the Weather Underground, a violent Communist organization. Her involvement in bank robbery and murder is well chronicled by the Times article linked to above. Her victims included two police officers, Sgt. Ed O’Grady and Officer Chipper Brown, whose relatives reacted with shock to Boudin’s parole.
There are a number of obvious parallels between Boudin’s case and that of Kathleen Soliah, who went underground for more than twenty years and surfaced only recently as Sara Jane Olson, the wife a St. Paul, Minnesota physician. Our observations on the Soliah case are recorded in the article “Kathy’s Clowns,” linked to at left. While many parallels can be drawn, I think the one that remains most relevant today is the apparent lack of remorse shown by both Soliah and Boudin. Neither has ever shown any apparent regret at having murdered wholly innocent people–in Soliah’s case, a mother of four who was in the process of depositing her church’s weekly collection in a California bank–in the service of a contemptible cause. I wonder whether both women, in fact, continue to believe that they and their violent cohorts were on the right side of history, and were morally superior to their victims, having only, perhaps, gone a bit too far in pursuance of their youthful ideals. Indeed, is it too much to wonder whether this view of their crimes is not the one which still prevails in the newsrooms of most American newspapers? And if so, is it any wonder that the criminals themselves feel so little regret and so little concern for the people they murdered?

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