By Werombi Towradji
After spending nearly 35 years behind bars in a federal prison, recently analyzed DNA evidence has exonerated confessed serial murderer and rapist Edward Thompson. The evidence proves conclusively that the crimes for which he took responsibility were, in fact, committed by African-Americans. Thompson, a white male, who is 58 now, was serving eight consecutive life sentences. One for each victim. In a trial that lasted several months, prosecutors showed the jury pictures of brutally beaten, raped, tortured, and murdered young women. For years Thompson was regarded as one of America’s most heinous serial killers, and his story was profiled extensively by the media.
Many Americans were puzzled as to why a young white American, who was by all accounts a great student, from a wealthy and upper class family, would go into urban neighbourhoods and brutally rape and murder young white women. His family and friends expressed disbelief, yet in court, he confessed guilt and even orated at length as to how much he enjoyed planning and carrying out his horrific crimes. It was all, we know now, a carefully contrived act.
Upon his release, reporters asked Thompson, “Why did you accept guilt for such heinous and gruesome crimes when you were innocent? Why did you keep silent for so many years, and remain in prison?” Thompson answered “I knew that most likely these crimes were going to be traced to urban youths of color. I didn’t want African-American boys, who grew up facing the sting of poverty and bigotry everyday of their lives, to go to jail for raping and killing a series of privileged and affluent white women. The truth is we are all guilty. I grew up a privileged white male! Had I been born poor and black in the inner city, I would have committed those crimes!”
Facing heckling from the radical right wing, and shouts of “You are insane.” Thompson continued, “All of us, rich and affluent white males hoard all of the wealth and commodities to ourselves. We refuse to give minorities a chance! We are all guilty. I was more responsible for those gruesome crimes than the actual perpetrators! I was not going to sit back and stand by while our crimes, as white males, were pinned on African American urban youth. They may have technically raped, tortured, and murdered these women, but we all should bear the guilt and responsibility! I’m guilty and they aren’t! Every day I cut myself with razors to remind myself of my guilt and I whip myself with a belt. I scourge my evil privileged skin! I’m an evil white male, and I don’t deserve to live or to be free!
When asked about his experiences in prison, Thompson stated that “I offered my body willingly to anyone of color who wished to use it for their pleasure! I knew it would be very lonely for male homosexual prisoners of color. I knew that many of them would be sexually frustrated. So, although I am straight myself, I willingly offered my body to them as an outlet for them to vent their sexual frustrations, as often as they needed one. I even worked out to look my best.” While in prison, Thompson contracted several STDs and received treatment repeatedly for a prolapsed rectum.
Some extremists on the radical right, are claiming that Thompson was and remains, mentally ill. They claim that prosecutors should have discovered his agenda, and sought the real culprits. Many progressives have praised Thompson, and hailed him as a hero, for nobly standing up and taking responsibility for his own white privilege.
According to Dr. Isaac Feldheimberg, a criminal psychologist, “Edward Thompson is a truly great and heroic man. He was accused of horrifically raping, torturing and murdering several young women. He took the blame because otherwise innocent youth of colour would be punished. Yes, I say innocent. Technically they might have done the deeds, but only technically. White racism, white oppression, and white discrimination drove them to do it! We need more Edward Thompsons. I’m sick and tired of phoney white liberals who talk about helping youth of color but don’t have a single black friend, and haven’t made any personal sacrifices! Thompson should get a gold medal!” In fact, Edward Thompson has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and is considered a serious contender.
When pressed as to his plans for the future, Thompson noted that “Several beautiful young ladies have offered to sleep with me, because I took responsibility for my privilege and saved those young African Americans from lengthy prison terms. I have received offers of marriage from countless women. However, I have turned down all such offers. Because of the unequal balance of power in our society, I have foresworn such things. I will not have sex with a woman until full equality for women is achieved everywhere! Until then, no man deserves it!
Despite offers from several wealthy fans and supporters to put him up in their own homes or buy him a luxurious home of his own, or a stay in a first class hotel room, Thompson refuses to leave the small tin shanty he has occupied in an alley in urban Detroit since his release from prison. “As long as even a single young boy or girl of color lives on the streets in America, I refuse to live in a house or a room of my own! I do not deserve better than they do. Offers of shelter from whites disgust me!” Thompson noted, as he removed the marijuana joint from his mouth, and handed it to a homeless person of color. He then offered the gentleman a sip from some collected rainwater.
Thompson has already been stabbed four times with a crack pipe, and has been repeatedly beaten and robbed. When asked the race of the perpetrators by police, Thompson rightly refuses to answer, or sometimes smiles widely and says, ”alright fascist pigs, it was a group of blonde white guys, in suits, carrying brief cases. They are rich white and privileged! Go get ‘em all! Shoot ‘em!”
Several wealthy progressives, including Warren Buffet, have offered Thompson a job, or start up money for his own non-profit organization. Thompson refuses all such offers, noting that, “I’d rather die than become another suit and tie wearing sell-out. I will stay here living on the streets, and helping urban youth and poor of color wherever I can, however I can.” Thompson notes that so far he has helped several homeless to patch up their cardboard boxes, and he has liberated watches and jewellery for them, from several local shops, or created distractions so that they could liberate items from stores.
Principled progressives are rightly distrustful of Thompson and scornful of him. While claiming to be a progressive, he merely assumed that youth of color committed the murders and rapes for which he took responsibility. An assumption Thompson made, without a single shred of evidence! In this case it was true, but it very well could not have been as well. Edward Thompson is just another privileged white male. In this writer’s opinion, he deserves no special praise or commendation for his actions. He did some good, but even that is erased by his racist assumption that youth of colour were guilty. Edward Thompson’s ugly racism should rightly disgust all Americans. He’s no hero.
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