Imagine this in Morgan Freeman’s voice.
My friend, Andy Dufresne. He was a kind and gentle man. I’ll never forget when he walked into the doors of Shawshank all those years ago. He told me he was innocent of the accusations that had landed him in the hoosegow. You see, his wife was cheating on him with another fella when a random hoodlum broke in, shot the two dead and robbed them. Poor Andy ended up being the patsy. The fall guy. The cops didn’t know who to pin the case on so they figured as a jilted husband, Andy had motive and that’s all they needed to make an accusation.
And so, the years passed us by. After a couple of decades, Andy got it into his head that he was going to make an elaborate break for it.
I managed to procure a tiny rock hammer for Andy. He was allowed to keep it on the idea that he was using it to carve chess pieces but in secret, why, old Andy would stay up all night, removing an inch of wall here and there and then sneaking the chiseled off cement out into the yard in his shoes.
After ten years of doing this, Andy had finally created a tunnel, which he had hidden behind a poster of Rita Hayworth. When the tunnel to freedom was finally dug, Andy stopped and appeared to be lost, deep in thought.
“Well,” I said. “Aren’t you going to make a break for it?”
“Nah,” Andy said.
“What?” I asked. “Why not?”
“I’ve been thinking about it, Red,” Andy said. “And, well, even though I did not shoot my wife, someone went to all the trouble of accusing me of shooting my wife and well, shucks, golly, it sure would be rude of me to offend someone who took the time out of their busy schedule to accuse me of something I didn’t do.”
“But Andy,” Red said. “Your life has been ruined. You didn’t do anything to deserve being sent to this Godforsaken place and look what has happened to you. You were butt raped daily by psychos. You became the warden’s bitch. And a fellow inmate was even willing to testify to the fact that he once overheard his bunkmate admit to doing the crime you were falsely accused of.”
“Yeah,” Andy said. “And I’m glad the warden shot that inmate to keep him from providing the testimony that would have secured my freedom because, hey, my life isn’t that important. What’s really important is that all accusers, whether they are making true or false accusations, should be able to make them and why, if you defend yourself against the accusations, then that means you are a piece of shit who literally hates everyone who has ever been a victim of anything.”
“Holy shit,” Red said. “The art of nuanced debate is dead.”
“Huh?” Andy asked.
“Nuanced debate,” Red said. “When you say something like, ‘I agree accusers should be treated with respect, not dumped on, given their chance to make their claims and not received repercussions for doing so but that also people who are accused must be given a chance to defend themselves lest innocent men be put behind bars for crimes they did not do.”
“Right,” Andy said. “People are too dumb to wade into all that, Red. All I know is if I escape through this tunnel, I’ll be hurting the feelings of the people who accused me and albeit a false accusation, that still took a lot of guts to falsely accuse me, so I respect that. I don’t want them to feel bad and I don’t want people making true accusations to feel bad and so, even though in this particular case, I didn’t do it, I’d be a piece of shit for standing up for myself.”
And so, Andy put the poster back up the wall and went back to bed. Over the next ten years, he snuck the cement pieces he’d snuck out back into his cell, again in his shoes and patched up the wall like nothing had ever happened.
Nope. Andy never achieved his dream of moving to Mexico and buying a boat. Instead, he rotted away in that cell until he was 101 years old. I should know because I lasted until 120.
Andy’s last dying words? “I sure am glad I stayed here and wasted the one and only life God will ever give me. Escaping and offending my accuser would have been a total dick move.”