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Friday, May 19, 2017

Writing Richard Glossip


Last week, I wrote a letter to Oklahoma death row inmate, Richard Glossip. I was inspired to do so after watching 'Killing Richard Glossip', a documentary series that was aired on Discovery ID and produced by well known documentarian, Joe Berlinger (Paradise Lost)...

In writing Richard, I let him know that I was not just someone who saw a TV show and "knew" that he was innocent. But that I am someone who does know that, at the very least, he had been given a raw deal by a system that was inexplicably hell-bent on putting him to death, despite a lack of legitimate evidence (much like I was convinced by the eerily similar case Berlinger made for the now freed 'West Memphis Three', in Paradise Lost). I wanted him to know that I was not naive, and that I was not easily swayed by slick production and fancy packaging (AKA I was covering my ass). But, just as importantly, I wanted him to know that there was someone out there, beyond his prison walls, who felt moved enough by his story to reach out and offer what little help I could...

In his 3-page response, Richard spent most of the time thanking all of those that were reaching out and fighting to clear his name, and the rest of the time politely yet defiantly declaring his innocence. But, in response to my questions about what I could do to help further his cause, Richard offered 2 requests:

1) He wants as many people as possible to watch the docu-series, 'Killing Richard Glossip'. Which is still available ON DEMAND via Discovery ID across various infotainment platforms.

AND

2) He asked that I share this poem, which he included in the letter:

WE CAN OVERCOME

We want to be happy,
We want to smile,
And we never want to live our lives in denial.
We no longer want to wear these sad faces,
We only want smiles in their places.
Life is truly hard,
But we can overcome.

We sometimes feel as if hope is lost,
And it hurts when we see at what cost.
Despite everything that can lead us to hate,
We still see the world that we can make.
We can see this life that we can live,
We sure never wanted this.
But we can overcome.

Our streets are now fields of battle,
And so often we are treated more like cattle.
All we ever wanted is a place to call home,
And not to have to face this world alone.
We never thought we could get so depressed,
Or that we would ever be stuck in such a mess.
But together as one,
We can overcome.


He closed the letter with, "We never know how strong we are, until strong is the only choice we have".

This is a man who was had 3 'last meals'. Meaning that, on 3 separate occasions, he has been just hours away from execution. Only to be spared by both litigious and tragically unfortunate/extraordinary means. Which, in and of itself, should tell you that the system is irreparably broken and incapable to handing down such a punishment. But that's a determination I'll allow you to make for yourself after watching the series... 

And again, I'm not claiming to "know" that Richard is innocent of the murder-for-hire charges for which he's been convicted. And I'm not trying to minimize the brutal murder of his alleged victim, Barry van Treese. But between the evidence provided in the documentary (or in many cases, lack thereof), and the track record of Berlinger, I am certain that an adequate case hasn't been made that Richard should be put to death. Especially considering that the admitted murderer, Justin Sneed, is not even facing such a fate...

But I urge you to watch the series, and judge for yourself. And at the risk of making up your mind for you, or putting you in a certain mindset before you even watch minute one. I'll say this: I've seen dozens of true crime documentaries. And the most relatable comparison I can make, is that the case against Richard Glossip makes the the case against Steven Avery (Netflix: Making a Murderer) look like the case against OJ Simpson. And if that doesn't compel you to at least check out this series, then I'm not sure what will...

Thanks for your time, friends. I hope you find the series as moving and as troubling as I did. And, in echoing Rich, I hope that we can all overcome what is clearly a tragic a situation, and come out better off as a society on the other side...


4 comments:

beachwoman said...

Very thought provoking.

Brett Ferruccio said...

and how! :)

finnegan said...

One day no mistakes will be made.

Choo Say said...

It's nice topic, Thanks for sharing guys!
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