Jackie and Joey’s Video Manifesto—Clark Humphrey

Just after their action, on the day before their arrest, Jackie and Joey set up their smartphone on a mini tripod on the dashboard of their borrowed minivan. Having planned for this moment in advance, they had strung up a little black sheet behind the front seat, so the police could not ascertain their location. When they began the recording, they’d driven for at least an hour after their initial getaway. Their faces were still a bit dirty, their hair unkempt. Jackie had put on a big brimmed hat, to try to cover the fresh scar on her forehead. In the longest available version of the video, they can be seen breathing heavily, trying to compose themselves; Joey can be seen fiddling with a previously printed-out script. Joey counts down five, four, three, two, and a silent beat before he begins to speak:

“We expect a lot of you want to know a lot of things about why we did what we did. A lot of you are probably also asking who would dare to do such a thing.”

Joey had been staring at his printout. But Jackie starts her turn to speak by staring directly into the phone’s camera:

“To those of you who ask these questions, we have a question for you: Why haven’t most of you risen up to act? Like the saying goes, ‘If not you, who? If not now, when?’ 

“Every day in this society, millions of people go about their daily routines. They drive to their jobs. They shop in the malls. They send their children to schools. They watch TV and look at Internet pages. They eat, they drink, they take drugs, they pee, they have sex, they do the laundry. They commit big and little crimes. They sleep. They dream about the lives they wished they had, about the world they wished they could live in.

“But they don’t do anything to create those lives, to create that world. 

“But we did.”

Joey took his next turn to talk, his eyes darting from his script to above, or to the side of, the phone camera. 

“We are not one bit ashamed or sorry about what we did. We would do it again. With any good fortune, we will. Whether we get that chance or not, we want you to take your lives, your futures, into your own hands. Live without dead time. Be truly alive, now. Give a damn. Be somebody. Do something.”

Jackie can then be seen reaching out to click the recording off. It was sent to an “anonymized” file-upload site, then uploaded to YouTube. 

In the months and years after their initial arrest, Jackie and Joey’s manifesto was transcribed, revised, altered, and reused by advocates of various, even contradictory causes. Their words were invoked to justify the bombings of Planned Parenthood clinics and animal-testing labs, the lootings of banks and fast food restaurants, attacks against the lives of liberal politicians and conservative preachers. 

The noteriety wound up working against Jackie and Joey,at their initial trial and their subsequent appeals. After four and a half years in the legal system, Jackie’s conviction was overturned on a technicality. Joey took another 19 months to get out on parole.

Among the conditions of Joey’s parole were that he refrain from any presence on social-media sites, from anything involving explosives or their components, and from being within 500 feet of any oil refining or transport facilities.


About bbcstudiowrites

This blog is me archiving the BBC Studio Writers Workshop.

Posted on March 19, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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