Ethics Hero: DUI Manslaughter Killer Matt Cordle

The video is self-explanatory, I think.

I’m certain some will say that it is self-serving, that he made the video to try to minimize his punishment. This could be, and so what? The YouTube confession is still the best, most honest, most ethical, most courageous option that he had, once he had made the tragic and irresponsible decision to drive while intoxicated. Many, indeed most, and arguably all ethical acts have an element of self-serving in them. If they are right, they are right.

Imagine how much better society and the justice system would be if those who committed crimes fulfilled their societal duty to admit them, apologize, and accept their just punishment. Cordle, ironically, is not merely an Ethics Hero, but a role model.

Source:  DNA

11 Comments

Filed under Character, Citizenship, Law & Law Enforcement, The Internet, U.S. Society

11 responses to “Ethics Hero: DUI Manslaughter Killer Matt Cordle

  1. Despite his tragic crime, he still stands head and shoulders above the bulk of the federal leadership.

  2. ByTheFarmstead

    Everyone makes mistakes, this kind of admission is more likely to get my forgiveness than any rationalization.

  3. wyogranny

    If he were trying to get a lighter sentence he is going about it the wrong way. He already said he could lie and get a lighter sentence. He’s telling the truth. I’d like to hope his example will be followed.

  4. Andrew V

    Of course, he should not now be given a lighter sentence, or it would encourage the making of many of these types of videos in an attempt to mitigate punishments.

  5. I did not like it. The high production quality of the video (and a score that reminded me vaguely of Halo’s famous opening notes) made what should have been a serious a confession feel like an overly dramatic commercial. To be honest I was disgusted with the narcissim of it. I appreciate that he felt the need to take responsibility for his actions, good on him, but I cant help but feel that making a public spectacle of his confession is wildly inappropriate.

    • He’s not responsible for the production value. I’ve already used the video, personally, to get an alcoholic who got away with driving drunk to go back to AA. So it worked, and that’s one more person who might not kill somebody because he made the video.

      • “He’s not responsible for the production value.” Thats a dodge and you know it. Was he literally the guy sitting behind the computer doing the editing? No. Was he none the less fundamental in the production of the video by being its willing star? Of course. It was his confession, if we wanted less production value he certainly could have gotten it.

        And again, good on him, good on your friend for a noble deed. The problem is that his confession manufactures drama in the same cliche ways that a thousand other over-the-top-and-lesser-for-it commercials have done. Anything with Sara McGlocklan, the starving children of Africa, the national anti-smoking campaign featuring people horribly disfigured by tobacco. etc. This level of tension building is so overt as to damage the reality and gravity of the confession.

        Whats more is the public nature of it all. I dont need to tell anyone here that doing a good deed and demanding recognition for it is classless, distasteful, and arguably unethical (in that it supports the expectation of rewards after good deeds). And yet that is exactly what Cordle has done. It may not have been his intention in making the video but it is certainly the result of it. He did something wrong, he took responsibility for it, and he got the whole world to know how righteous he is. His apparent selflessness has earned him a great deal of public support and minor cultural hero status. But what good is his PSA likely to do for society? Not a great deal I would argue. People arent generally unaware of the illegality and ramifications of drunk driving, nor is Cordles example likely to make any significant impact in the number of people doing it. But, in the appearance of impropriety sense, it certainly creates a situation where he stands to benefit.

        You really want to impress me? You really want to seem sincere in your acceptance of responsibility? Then shut up and go directly to the nearest police office and turn yourself in. Do not pass go, do not create a social blitz, and certainly don’t make a commercial that the great minds of the ASPCA would be envious of.

        • Just a misguided analysis Jeremy, all around. Going to the police does no greater good at all. After he is arrested, no public apology or admission will be regarded as open, uncoerced, or sincere.

          1. If he wanted less production value he certainly could have gotten it. What does he know about video production? He put his fate in the hands of a professional who had the right objective. You don’t like the dramatic production values–that’s swell, but I don’t think most people feel that way—I don’t. Yeah, it’s a little slick, and that’s just packaging. Does it change the content ? Not at all. Not one bit.

          2. So if the result of doing the right thing is recognition and praise, that retroactively means it was the intent of it? Nonsense. The only result Cordle could count on was that the video would eliminate any defense and get him jail time. He didn’t “demand” recognition. Where’s the “demand”? There is none.

          3.“People aren’t generally unaware of the illegality and ramifications of drunk driving, nor is Cordle’s example likely to make any significant impact in the number of people doing it.” Enough people aren’t sufficiently aware that they avoid driving drunk. Here the “if it saves one life” argument is valid, because the harm is minimal.

          4. I hate the ASPCA ads. They also get a lot of contributions, and can easily be defended as utilitarian, though not by me. I object to them as ambushes. The video is NOT an ambush—nobody has to view it who doesn’t set out to. It doesn’t jump out at me while I’m watching “Big Bang Theory.” Not a fair comparison.

    • “…I cant help but feel that making a public spectacle of his confession is wildly inappropriate.”

      So, is Cordle to be suspected of maneuvering to obstruct justice in his own case? Is this a “reverse Fifth Amendment” scenario? Because Cordle wasn’t already a public figure, it’s inappropriate for him to become one now? His drinking and driving were private choices (but with public consequences); so, a public figure’s private choices are inappropriate for public confession, even if they have public consequences?

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