Reason First: Should Newly Released Oklahoman Corey Atchison Be Bitter?
Does freedom have to be mixed with animosity?
Wrongfully convicted individuals must face a new day. While some harbor animosity and anger for the years that they stayed under the watchful eye of the law, people like Tulsa Oklahoma native Corey Atchison expressed only the joy of being granted liberty. With new insights into cases, the number of people freed from prison continues to go on so that justice may be served. Whether it’s through DNA or another look at the particular matter, the way that men and women have been released from the confines of cell walls speaks to a system that is imperfect.
Atchison hugged his grandson telling the journalists that was to raise the young man, and that it’s them, “against the world.” He doesn’t want to hold a grudge because that might be counterproductive. But he certainly holds the right to do so. With 28 years behind bars, some bit of anger is only probable in cases like this. To be so proud and confident in his manner, Atchison should be commended. He is setting an example for his son to face the world with profound respect for whatever life throws at you, and to handle any situation with grace and aplomb.
After nearly three decades locked up for a crime that he did not commit, Atchison could go on a tirade and berate the law enforcement officers, the judge, the jury, and anyone responsible for sending him away. Yet he displayed every ounce of being a gentleman and seeks to only live the rest of his days in peace and dignity. Atchison had exhibited the true meaning of justice. He knew all along that he murdered no one. He knew that in his mind, there would come a day when the four walls surrounding him in the correctional facility would evaporate like water on a hot skillet.
With his homecoming, celebrations surrounded him. He took all of the pain, the torment, the years of being subjected to inhumane conditions in stride. This is not out of sacrifice or altruism towards a broken system. His selfishness allowed him to maintain a sense of knowing that he must live first-handed. He never blamed anyone or pointed at anyone that decided his fate. In almost three decades, he kept his composure and continued to hold onto a flickering flame of hope until now. It is now a raging fire in his soul, as he knows that he was always free in his mind.
In spite of the circumstances, Atchison said that, “Life is too short.” It is too short indeed. This is coming from a man that spent nearly a third of his lifespan in prison. He had to encounter all of the snares that go along with prison life. From the food to fellow inmates, Atchison struggled. But he triumphed. The sum of $175,000 is available to those wrongfully accused in Oklahoma. This is a paltry amount considering the fact that Atchison could have made that much money (and more) the legal route with a well-paying position.
Time is what is the real, precious commodity that was taken from him. But is he bitter? No. He holds onto the promise of reason and self-esteem. His purpose in life ought to be to aid in finding the actual murderer of James Lane in 1991.
His days ought to be filled with the knowledge of making one’s way on one’s own. He should be able to chart a course for success in whatever endeavor he chooses to pursue. As his family and friends continue to support Atchison, he should be able to rebuild his life. He ought not forget those who sent him on an almost 30 year odyssey into a desperate situation.
Now, with the fullness of his freedom intact, it is important for Atchison to realize just how important it is to “bounce back” into civilian life.