Medieval times, England- A seemingly foolproof technique for identifying witches was with a cucking or ducking stool. The cucking stool derives from wyuen pine which means "women's punishment". It is basically a wooden stool fastened to a giant lever. The supposed witch was tied to the stool and dunked repeatedly into a large vat of water, pond or stream. This form of interrogation was later accomplished absent of the chair by binding the victim's right thumb to the left toe. A rope was tied around the waist of the accused who was then thrown into a river or deep pond. In either method, the verdict was the same. If the accused drowned, she was deemed innocent. If the accused survived, she was deemed a witch and burned at the stake.
August 19th 2011, America (land of the free)- A surprise hearing was held in Jonesboro Arkansas regarding the release of three men known as the West Memphis Three. For almost 18 years, the WM3 have been imprisoned for the murder of three boys. Although there was no evidence to have put them there in the first place, the WM3 have spent two decades trying to prove their innocence. The judge offered a deal with the prosecutors; The three men would be released from prison if they change their plea from not guilty to guilty. Tired and worn down from fighting, the WM3 agreed.
These two methods of judicature seem equally asinine. It is hard to believe in the American Judicial system with numerous cases like this. While it is written in ink that we are innocent until proven guilty, it is clear that we are all screwed unless we can prove otherwise.
I've been involved with the WM3 for about five years now. I don't know the accused men or their families but have been drawn to their situation; growing up an outcast in hicksville. I grew up on a farm in the sticks outside of a town with a population of 3000. Not only was I the same age as the accused Damien Echols, I had long dyed hair and wore black. But more than feeling a bloodline among the freaks, I gravitated towards the cancer in our judicial system made apparent by this case. That is what I fight for...to have a fair and just America.
Martin Luther King Jr said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." That quote has been tattooed in my memory. I feel that we need to choose cases of injustice in our communities or that are close to us and fight to make them accountable.
I was away on a trip when this surprise hearing for the WM3 happened. All weekend my phone blew up with emails, tweets and facebook comments from fiends that are familiar with my involvement. I often question my efforts being unaware of what kind of an impact I'm making. Is any of this getting through? Am I handling things to my full potential? Does my little contribution make a difference? It was at this moment that I knew it had. I left writings on the walls and they had been read.
When I was finally able to soak in all the information I was ecstatic, confused and frustrated. As happy as I am that the WM3 are finally free, what I've been trying to fight and bring awareness to (which is injustice) still infects this case. The supreme court ruling that the WM3 are guilty and set free with time served is not justice. Again, victim's are being charged for a crime with no evidence against them. The case is being closed with the murderer(s) still in question. Individuals in power are not being held accountable for misrepresenting their position of authority.
I'm uncertain where I go from here. I will stay in contact with the WM3 organization and see where I can help. I still have a few sizes left in the two WM3 shirts that I created to raise money and awareness for the cause. They can be purchased through www.madcreator.com. I will continue to pass on all proceeds to the organization as they will continue to have use for donations.
Wherever my path leads, I believe the WM3 are on it and I would like to take you with me.