Project Reader Reaction — Billy the Kid

Editor’s note: The Clovis News Journal asks readers to respond via e-mail to a series of questions each week. To participate in Project: Reader Reaction, contact Editor David Stevens at:

A recent Project: Reader Reaction question asked about New Mexico’s recent efforts to take an objective look at the life and times of Billy the Kid, including whether or not Pat Garrett really shot and killed the Kid in 1881 in Fort Sumner.
Here are some responses:

“The amount of money New Mexico is spending on the Billy the Kid investigation is a drop in the bucket in contrast to potential earnings through tourism that can be gained. The Old West heritage is an important aspect in New Mexico history and should be showcased at any and all opportunities. More tourists equals more money spent in New Mexico, which ultimately is good for everyone here.” — Jeff Gray, Clovis

“I don’t think anyone really cares where Billy the Kid died, and if they do decide he is not buried in Fort Sumner, the only one that will lose is Fort Sumner. Let the dead rest, wherever they are!” — Michael Williams, Clovis

“In the short term, some increase in tourism could be experienced as the media hype promotes Fort Sumner and the research. However, should it be found that Billy the Kid was not buried in the town, then a major source of tourism dollars would be eliminated, adversely affecting the community. Considering what could be the end result and many more prudent uses (for) tax dollars, I feel the situation should be left as is and let the question continue in debate and speculation.” — Bruce Ford, Clovis

“Billy the Kid lives and now occupies the governor’s mansion in Santa Fe. The real reason Billy the Kid Richardson wants to spend money on the venture of trying to clear his namesake is to get practice for when he needs to clear himself.” — Carolyn Spence, Clovis

“If the Kid wasn’t killed at Fort Sumner there would be no reason for tourists to visit the Kid’s grave there. The state should save the money.” — R. L. Render, Clovis

“I believe that any money spent on any scoundrel — even Billy the Kid — is a waste of money. Fort Sumner has been known for Billy the Kid forever. Let it stay that way and use the (research) money for more important issues like water.” — Jim Sitterly, Clovis