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20 August 2016 @ 07:40 pm
There’s things inside that scream and shout...  
Five years ago, the West Memphis Three walked out of prison.

I first saw Paradise Lost in 2001 or 2002, when I was at USC.  Like a lot of people around my age who'd had a fairly-sheltered, middle class childhood, it was my first real experience with how frustrating and terrible true injustice could be.  I went on to read the book Devil's Knot by Mara Leveritt, getting more obsessed with the case.  I spent more hours than I could ever count on message boards, reading evidence amateur sleuths had uncovered over the years, finding myself convinced by this theory, then that one.  I followed the appeals and motions for years, and every time something new came up - another example of the courts' malfeasance, new exculaptory evidence - I would think, "this is it, this is how they're going to get out," only to have everything go back to square one.  And the whole time, Damien was on Death Row, getting sicker and sicker.  Five years ago, when I checked CNN in the middle of a desk shift at work, I hadn't heard a whisper of what was coming.  Yet there it was, the headline: "West Memphis Three Free."

If you've never seen it, I highly recommend the documentary West of Memphis.  Though the Paradise Lost films are very good, you have to watch all three to get the full story; and honestly, the second one suffers quite a bit in retrospect for suspecting the wrong stepfather.  West of Memphis follows the case from start to finish, from the murders, through the trial, through the painful eighteen years in prison for crimes they didn't commit, to their eventual release.  In fact, I'm planning on watching it (for like at least my sixth or seventh viewing) tonight.

To Jessie, Jason, and Damien: I'm still so proud and happy for you.  All the best.
cath822cath822 on August 22nd, 2016 01:05 am (UTC)
Oh, man, I definitely need to add that one to the list. My Netflix queue has been woefully stagnant; The Danish Girl has been sitting on my desk since before the Olympics started. But yeah, I live in Memphis and have never seen it...bad Catherine.
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on August 22nd, 2016 02:45 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I've been really bad lately about making the time to watch much of anything. I'm just really lazy? Even though it's not really an active activity?

But you should absolutely check out West of Memphis, especially if you like documentaries. So good.
cath822cath822 on September 4th, 2016 07:23 pm (UTC)
I feel like you may have mentioned this before, but have you seen Making a Murderer? It made me think of you, with the true crime and wrongful accusations and class dynamics and whatnot.
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on September 5th, 2016 04:26 pm (UTC)
I watched the first five or six episodes, and got too frustrated/angry to continue watching. Now that Brendan Dassey's getting a new trial/hopefully will just be released, I might finish it.
cath822cath822 on September 5th, 2016 06:47 pm (UTC)
Yeah, we're seven episodes in, and it's pretty frustrating to watch. I think we'll still finish it, though.