RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Life since being set free and pardoned has been full of adjustments for Ronnie Long. He was in prison for 44 years before an appeals court ruled his Constitutional rights were violated.
Long and four others were pardoned by Gov. Roy Cooper on Dec. 17.
On Tuesday, Long hosted an “ask me anything” question and answer post on Reddit. In it, he covered a variety of topics like how he’s spent his first few weeks as a free man. Much of his time has been spent adjusting to a world that has changed a lot in the more than four decades he was behind bars.
Long said that he didn’t know how to pump gas when he got out of prison. He said he went to a department store on Monday for the first time since before he went to jail.
“I’m standing around, looking, fascinated by the crowds, it’s been so long since I’ve just been around people, and society,” Long wrote. He added that a woman asked him if he was trying to buy something or rob the store.
“I got some humor out of that,” he said.
Smoked salmon was one of Long’s favorite meals since being released. Everything from a bowl of cereal with chocolate milk to some BBQ beef ribs to a glass of lemonade have all been appreciated.
“Those are the little things that right now people in society take for granted,” Long wrote. “Once you have those things taken away, you cherish them.”
Long also said he was suicidal in his first two or three years in prison. He wrote extensively about shifting his attitude, offering the following statement with a bit of advice:
“I’m blessed, and I’m glad God blessed me to the point that I got a second chance. I am a living testament that you can always overcome,” Long wrote.