A weekend away was supposed to be spent reading and blogging…yeah, that didn’t happen. Instead, I got sucked into the movie vortex and watched The Longest Yard, Forrest Gump, and The Green Mile. Tom Hanks and prisons…what more could a girl ask for?
I only caught the last half of The Longest Yard, but what I saw was great. My favorite line was from Baby Face Bob. After “commentating” for the big game of guards vs. inmates, Bob looks at Chris and says, “Remember Chris, criminals are people too.” Yes, yes, they are. As much as people would like to dehumanize them into monsters, we need to remember that their bad decisions don’t change their humanity. Like I’ve said before, they’re people with stories, families, friends, and a piece of something greater. We can’t devalue them based on a bad decision.
I’ll save my feelings for Forrest for another day. This post can’t handle all the love.
So, The Green Mile is a new favorite of mine. It makes me misty eyed for sure. John Coffey (like the drink, but not spelt the same) is endearing. What happened to Eduard Delacroix is heartbreaking. Percy Wetmore is infuriating. Paul Edgecomb, Brutal, Dean and Harry treat the inmates with respect which makes my heart happy and make me appreciate Tom Hanks even more.
If you’re familiar with the movie, you know that the execution is cringe worthy. If you’re not familiar with the movie, you should watch it and know that this isn’t the first time something of the sort has happened…
The poor, unfortunate soul of Mr. John Evans had a botched execution via electric chair. Here’s the story as told by eyewitness, Russ Canan, through Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy.
At 8:30 P.M. the first jolt of 1,900 volts of electricity passed through Mr. Evans’s body. It lasted thirty seconds. Sparks and flames erupted from the electrode tied to Mr. Evans’s left leg. His body slammed against the straps holding him in the electric chair and his fist clenched permanently. The electrode apparently burst from the strap holding it in place. A large puff of greyish smoke and sparks poured out from under the hood that covered Mr. Evans’s face. An overpowering stench of burnt flesh and clothing began pervading the witness room. Two doctors examined Mr. Evans and declared that he was not dead.
The electrode on his left leg was refastened. At 8:30 P.M. [sic] Mr. Evans was administered a second thirty-second jolt of electricity. The stench of burning flesh was nauseating. More smoke emanated from his leg and head. Again, the doctors examined Mr. Evans. The doctors reported that his heart was still beating, and that he was still alive.
At that time, I asked the prison commissioner, who was communicating on an open telephone line to Governor George Wallace to grant clemency on the grounds that Mr. Evans was being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. The request for clemency was denied.
At 8:40 P.M., a third charge of electricity, thirty seconds in duration, was passed through Mr. Evans’s body. At 8:44, the doctors pronounced him dead. The execution of John Evans took fourteen minutes.
Watching Del die on The Green Mile was one thing, but reading this and realizing that it actually happened was devastating. And it’s not over. Most states primary form of execution is lethal injection but hanging and electrocution are still allowed in a few select states. The thought of this is haunting to me.
I’ll say more on this tomorrow…in the meantime, check out The Green Mile. It’s well worth your time.