Today's post isn't about anything fun, but it's about something great: three innocent men, who have been in prison for 18 years, are free today. Three innocent men, who were BOYS when they went to prison. One of them was Madeleine's age. They were convicted in 1993, when I graduated from high school. One of them spent the better part of a decade in solitary confinement, on death row. Can you even imagine? I cannot.
Several of my friends and I, including Hateful Buntsy, have seen the original documentary so many times we can quote entire scenes. Some of the people featured in it are so crazy we would have to watch, rewind, giggle hysterically, and watch again. It was, after all, small-town country old Arkansas. Eighteen years later, it doesn't seem so funny anymore.
If you haven't seen either documentary (there are two, with a third in still in production), I wish you would change that. I went to dig out my old VHS tape to watch again tonight. Some of you may not have access to the documentary, and might have to illegally download it. Fine, do it. I won't judge. (Although I do feel compelled to tell you that HBO is running them again next week.)
The West Memphis Three's exoneration was not exactly that: they still had to plead guilty to the crime to avoid a long re-trial. But that seems incidental to me, today. What matters is that they are free. And tonight, for the first time ever, I'll watch the original documentary again with the knowledge that those young sweet faces are out in the world somewhere. So here's to you, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Jr., and Jason Baldwin. I hope your lives are full of more goodness and love than y'all could ever dream.