Sunday, August 28, 2011

Discordia Springs West Memphis Three From Prison!


But is there really any other explanation? For something like twenty years, through a very tense trial, all kinds of public protest and close to TWO DECADES of appeals, there still was no end in sight. Damien Echols was still on Death Row and his friends, Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley, were still looking at life in the big house. They'd protested over and over that the only evidence against them was a confession gotten out of a mentally slow kid who was being questioned by the police without an attorney, his parents or anyone else to protect his rights.

(For 16 hours.)

95% of that confession, they argued, did not fit the facts known from the crime scene. But the jury didn't like the defendants' Goth tastes, or their unsavory companions, and they especially disliked the fact that they were big fans of Metallica. What followed was essentially a 20-year-long shouting match, with the defendants saying "WE'RE INNOCENT!" and the courts saying "WE DON'T NEED EVIDENCE -- WE DON'T LIKE YOUR HAIRCUTS AND YOU'RE GOING DOWN FOR IT!" Now, this is the SEAMY UNDERSIDE of a legal system in which you can still catch Eris putting her thumb on the Scales of Justice. YOU STILL DON'T NEED EVIDENCE TO CONVICT SOMEONE OF A CRIME. This not only robs the families of those 3 little boys of real closure, but it also totally screws over 3 other people who had NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

And, of course, if the scenario laid out above is correct, the real killer, or killers, got clean away.

So how did these guys finally get to go home?

THEY PLEADED GUILTY. That's right! Proetsting their innocence landed them in prison for life. Pleading guilty allowed them to go home on the basis of TIME SERVED.

It swells my heart with pride, AND MORE THAN A LITTLE FEAR, to realize at a moment like this that ERIS NEVER SLEEPS. She watches over us eternally, and you NEVER KNOW WHEN SHE WILL FAVOR YOU. Possibly with a free trip to Death Row. There are several million stories in the prison system; this has been just one of them.

Watch your back, people. No matter which side of the law you're on.

I know this turn of events must be devastating to the parents of the 3 little boys -- Steve Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore. I think often of those three families, and continue to support them in my heart, long-distance. Another of the many ironies here is that I know about this case, and continue to get bulletins and reminders about it, only because of the angry supporters of Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley. Chris Byers's mom died, apparently of grief, not that long after her son's murder, and I guarantee you it hasn't been that much easier for the others, either. I truly hope they get justice and some sort of relief for their pain.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturation Point


EVERYONE I know is talking suicide, and NONE of them appear to be joking. I fully realize how overwhelming things are, even right between your ears, even before you open the window and SMELL THE CHAOS. We're ALL going through it to some extent.

You can see the signs everywhere:

>> People losing or gaining weight -- and I mean quite a lot of weight -- without trying.

>> People who can't get out of bed or people who can't go to bed. The ones who can sleep at all, are having incredibly horrible dreams, like the one I had 2 nights ago. I was trying and trying and trying to kill my boss's boss, and she wouldn't die no matter what I did, and then she started turning into the first cat I ever had and I was reminding myself sternly that no, this is your ENEMY, not a fluffy kitten, and then I'd try eight more times...I woke up nauseated.

>> People racking up their 13th or 14th OUIL.

>> People who used to look and feel good, having their faces break out in insane zits or developing mysterious illnesses that shrink them down to what looks like a bundle of rags.

>> People who used to be calm, twisting at their hair until it comes out in handfuls.

>> People who never had a whiff of mental illness before in their lives, going totally psychotic. I don't mean that in the commonly-accepted sense of the term; I mean clinical psychosis. Like believing that the Pope is watching you from a hidden camera inside your toilet bowl and reporting back to God, known to unbelievers and infidels as the Face on Mars. That level of madness.

And, of course, people seriously planning suicides. One friend I talked to last night is giving away all her things, telling everyone she loves them "because you never know what might happen," and she's even set a firm date beyond which she is no longer willing to live. CAN YOU SAY "RED FLAG"?

This is one of just a dozen people I've heard about in the past few weeks.

The only correlation I can find is the RISE IN CHAOS. Nothing is holding still the way we like it to. There is no way out of any of the impasses we find ourselves in -- political, financial, ecological. I think of President Obama trying to negotiate with those Tea Party freaks and all I can do is groan helplessly. The entire East Coast is taking cover against a category-3 hurricane as I write this. They say it would be only a category 1 without our greenhouse gases. The Washington Monument was seen to wobble when an earthquake about half the size of the one in Miyagi Province hit Virginia. HOW SYMBOLIC IS THAT? Giant, mutated Jellyfish are taking the place of everything else in the oceans, and on one memorable day shorted out an entire city's electrical power by piling into the cooling system for the plant. London is in flames. All the Bats are dying of White Nose Disease, all the Bees are dying of Hive Collapse Syndrome, and the average human sperm count has dropped 50% in ten years. Joplin, Missouri is gone. GONE. The death toll in the drug war in Mexico is believed to exceed 40,000 people. Last year in the county where I live, 2010, there were 21 deaths due to opiate overdose. (One of them was a neighbor of mine.) This year, as of the first of June -- the exact halfway mark for the year -- there were already 22 such deaths. And there are only about 150,000 people in the whole freaking county.

My dear Cod, even Middle Eastern dictators are losing their jobs en masse.

So I see the pattern. I count myself lucky that I've only had disturbing kitty dreams. But the s-word has been sneaking through my thoughts as well. AND I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHY.

Something in the water?