Being considered an outcast can be a frightening experience. In the real world and in fiction, it can leave one susceptible to persecution and prosecution, or even turn you into an unwilling “hero” fighting a menace the rest of the crowd refuses to face.
In this episode, on the real world side of things, I cover three different, high-profile miscarriages of justice that took place in the Dallas area from 1976 to 1982. Randall Dale Adams, subject of the famous documentary The Thin Blue Line. Lenell Geter, subject of a 60 Minutes feature, as well as Joyce Ann Brown, subject of the same. A white man, a black man, and a black woman, all convicted of crimes they did not commit, and that it should have been very apparent they were innocent of. Among their commonalities is that, in one way or another, they would all have been seen as “outsiders” in the part of the country where they were erroneously found guilty, and thus easy targets for the lazy and prejudiced.
In the world of fiction, there are many stories where outsiders are the victims of similar biases and bigotry. John Rambo in his initial appearance in First Blood is a famous example.
On a different side of that same die-roll, an outsider’s different perspective on a dangerous situation can make them the person best equipped to save the day, whether they want that burden or not. That’s the case with three outsiders in Amity Island, who have to team up to take down the great white shark terrorizing the community in a little film you may have heard of called The Summer of the White Shark.
That is, if you’re from the Netherlands or Flemish Belgium. Most of the rest of the world knows of it as Jaws.