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David Lindsay 
Member since Aug 28, 2011

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Re: “Changing minds: The West Memphis Three

I've lived in Arkansas for eight years (I'm from Alabama, and I'm old enough to remember when George Wallace was the worshiped "Guvnuh", which may possibly cause some of you to view what follows with suspicion). I'm also not very educated. I barely graduated high school and didn't finish junior college.

But I'm also a newspaper junkie. I was the guy who used to go to the library on my off time and read all the out of town papers, periodicals of various political opinions. Nowdays, I do the same online, when time allows. One of the first things I did when I moved to Arkansas was check out every local newspaper I could find. I read the Democrat-Gazette daily. Pretty fair paper in my opinion. I have serious issues with Wally Hall (petty issues which annoy me, mostly annoyance with myself for letting such things bother me; maybe they're not THAT serious, except to me. But I've sent him a few emails, and he's flat out lied to me on two occasions). I usually enjoy Paul Greenberg, and learn something from his columns. I've never communicated with Mr Greenberg. I've gotten to know Gene Lyons through FaceBook. I rarely agree with Mr Lyons (sorry, he, facetiously, I think, told me he prefers Dr over Mr), and I wish he'd get off the "It's all Bush's fault" train, but he seems like a hell of a nice guy, admits - and seems to delight in - being a provocateur, and, at his best, causes me to rethink a position if he doesn't necessarily change my mind. I haven't made up my mind about Mike Masterson. Sometimes he makes sense to me, other times, not so much. As far as him personally, I've heard everything from "He's a great guy" to "He's a lying nutcase." I've never met nor communicated with him.

Then there's Philip Martin. I've never met Martin. He moderated a book reading/discussion featuring a fine novel a buddy of mine wrote (Matt Baker, Drag the Darkness Down, go buy a copy, you won't regret it), so I have been in the same room with him, though we didn't actually meet. We've exchanged several messages on FB, a couple of emails. I guess you could say he's a "friend", in the modern, social network way you can be friends with someone. PM has written essays/columns I've read and thought "Well, okay then." He wrote one I found a little condescending, although I found no meanness or snobbery in it, and I think his heart was in the right place. Mostly, I find we're rather similar: We're just watching the world, sometimes commenting, always curious, and willing to admit we have few, if any, answers, though we may have strong opinions. We're also willing to admit, sometimes grudgingly, sometimes pleased, that we've changed our mind, or at least that what we thought a few years ago might be wrong. He also admits he, like me and all of you, can be a hypocrite about some things (he and I have the same love for and misgivings about college sports, for instance). The thing I admire most about him, however, is I've never seen him not take responsibility for something he's written.

I wasn't here in 1993. I vaguely remember something about some Satan-worshiping teenagers murdering children. I'd imagine the only reason I really noticed was because I had, at the time, children about the same age as the victims. I also had, about that time, a friend at work who was an actual Satanist. We used to debate religion quite often, then go have a beer or two. Quite possibly, we discussed the West Memphis murders of three children by three teenaged, alleged Satanists. I do remember him telling me once that true Satanists didn't advocate human sacrifice or murder, which I always took with a grain of salt. I do know personally, and consider friends, two people who have been involved with the WM3. I won't name either of them here, so you can believe they exist or not. One was an advocate, right from the beginning, of their being freed, that they were wrongly convicted based on fear, prejudice and community need to have justice served (if I was told correctly, she was around before Mara Leveritt, but I can't confirm that. And no, she, my friend, is not one of the people who told me that). The other is a longtime, highly respected in his field correctional officer who guarded Mr Echols for a while. One still maintains the WM3 were nothing more than somewhat rebellious teenagers who were railroaded. I just called the other, and asked if I could quote something he once told me without naming him. He said go for it. What he said was "That Echols kid is one vile, manipulative little sonofabitch." I work a lot with police and correctional officers, and I have yet to meet one who, when asked, didn't think the WM3 were guilty. I also have yet to meet one who didn't think the cops at the time screwed up the investigation royally.

I think the reason those of you who are offended by Mr Martin are offended because he's an agnostic when it comes to the WM3 (I grew up in a VERY religious house, and spent much of my life around VERY religious people, both good and bad. I know a religion when I see one). Other believers are our friends, brothers-in-arms, fellow worshipers. Atheists, to misuse the word, we're okay with, we know where they stand, we can pray for them or hate them. But agnostics, oooo, they don't believe anything, they don't KNOW. They're scary, confusing, and usually need to be attacked by all sides. PM doesn't seem to believe one way or the other because he doesn't know. He doesn't claim to know, and, from what I've read today, he never has. Poor man. His life would be better, of only he believed, surely, like the rest of us do.

Oh, being uneducated as I am, I don't see where to put my name. I'm David Lindsay.

Posted by David Lindsay on 08/28/2011 at 9:06 PM


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