Dream it Forward – John Bunn Tells His Story of Being Jerked Around by the System and How He’s Approaching Life Now


A Stroke of Courage for Standing Tall

In the space of a week, two stories hit front page news that have people shaking their heads and demanding accountability. First came the tragic death of Botham Shem Jean who was killed in his Dallas apartment under questionable circumstances. His family wants answers as co-workers grieve his loss.

Then came the viral video of John Bunn who was recently released from prison after 27 years for a crime he didn’t commit. These stories once again brought front & center the challenges of the justice system. One person is taken out by a law enforcement officer and the other is jerked around by the system.

It’s hard to imagine being one of those individuals, but it could have been. With Bunn having the murder charge wiped from his record he’s trying to stay positive about his future. In one sense it feels like the system is ‘sorry but not sorry’ when situations like these keep happening. What can we learn from it?

Well there’s the hometown tale of a tourist wanting to know more about making Jerk Chicken. That person asked the question, how do you know which chicken is the jerk before you cook it? But the gravity of these justice matters asks, ‘how do we know the system is jerking folks around before it happens?’

Bunn explained that he was intimidated by a police detective who was someone in a position of power. Some people are made to believe that if they confess that they’d be taken care of. Others have even been tricked into going on record with information that wasn’t really the facts of what happened.

But Bunn is a model of courage that makes him stand tall even in the eyes of J.K. Rowling. Maybe that’s because his new lease on life gives inspiring lessons for living life forward, understanding it backward and enjoying the now. He did time for a wrong he didn’t commit. But he also spends time doing right by:

  1. Setting the record
  2. Dreaming it forward
  3. Squeezing the moment
  4. Breaking the clouds


(Photo Credit: CNN)

During the court hearing prior to his release Bunn was heard telling the judge that he was confident of his innocence. He knew the truth was on his side and that it would eventually come to light. It’s been said that when you do right it will come to light. Bunn was setting the record straight for himself and the system.

While behind bars he remembers falling in love with reading. He says this gave him the chance to take his imagination beyond the walls. He may not have seen how paying it forward could be of any help at the time. But he made it through his nightmare situation by expanding his mind and dreaming it forward.

Bunn says he wants to use his experience to fulfill a greater purpose. So he started a library program for prisons. He also spends time speaking to elementary school kids about the importance of their education. He’s squeezing the moment by turning tears of pain and anger into life-juice that’s like liquid gold.

These situations tend to leave a cloud hanging over those affected. But Bunn’s doing what pilots do on an overcast day. They use on-board instruments during takeoff. That’s their go-to move for breaking through the clouds. Bunn is using his talents and other human/social instruments for breaking the clouds as well.

The system can never replace the time taken from Bunn. There’re still gaps in justice that can make a grown man cry and should make a caring nation weep. No matter the complication or indignation we have for a lowly or unfair plight, Bunn chose to ‘breath out, breath-in’ to keep his spirits up from the neck up.

Tracks: Zion I Kings – The System ft Pressure & Akae Beka  – https://youtu.be/3ZaHo_UFW0o

Rihanna – American Oxygen – https://youtu.be/Ao8cGLIMtvg

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