I went to two Pearl Jam shows to benefit the West Memphis 3 in Boston in 2004. At that point, they were just getting the funding for further DNA testing that, as it would turn out, revealed no link between them and the murders.
It was nice to wake up to the news that they would all be freed. Full exoneration aside, today is a good day.
This is an amazing triumph, though still somewhat galling that they had to plead guilty to avoid, well, state embarrassment. This essentially means that the state and the people who locked these poor kids up with no hard evidence other than they were into metal would rather see them rot in jail forever than admit than be embarrassed and (probably more importantly) leave themselves open to potential litigation and financial penalties.
This still really sickens me. I know they aren’t likely to starve due to the overwhelming popular support they are getting, but the fact remains they they’ve spent nearly the last 20 years in jail. And jail REALLY BLOWS. And that can’t be taken back. Spending every night afraid of the murderers and rapists who are bunking up with you when you didn’t do anything wrong is the most insane way to live and the damage done to their lives is unimaginable and honestly, COMPENSATEABLE.
Seriously, just swallow your pride. You STOLE these kids lives. They deserve a legal and monetary victory because you can’t give them their lives back. The arrogance and pride of the people and the culture that locked them up kept them there, and this is their one last kick in the ass on the way out.
The funny thing? This is a cruelty made possible by those who consider themselves godly. Keep that in mind.