Of Hero Ethics, Credit, Fame, And Angel Cordero

Angel Cordero, unsung hero. And in good company.

Angel Cordero, unsung hero. And in good company.

Apparently a Cleveland man named Angel Cordero is every bit as deserving of accolades in the rescue of the three kidnapping victims of Ariel Castro [of alleged kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro, that is. Reflect on this case the next time someone puffs themselves up to reprimand you for a missing “alleged” and lectures you about how the accused are “innocent until proven guilty.” Yes, we know—and that means we can’t lock them up and throw away the key until they have had a fair trial and been officially proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in the judgment of a jury. It does not mean,  in a situation where there is literally no possible interpretation of the facts that would not end with the conclusion that the man who owns the house where three women have been kept prisoner for ten years and who have told interviewers that he beat them, starved them and raped them, that to state the obvious is some kind of human rights violation. By the way, O.J. is guilty too.] as the more colorful, more publicized–and more ridiculed—Charles Ramsey.

I want Cordero to receive the credit and admiration he deserves. I don’t want him to feel bitter and unappreciated. If the media, public and popular culture is inclined to bestow its goodies on the heroes of this horrible story, I hope he gets his fair share. Still, I also hope that he would be sufficiently large of soul and solid of values to adopt the attitude that what is important is that the women were rescued, and not who gets credit for it, now or in the future. Continue reading

Charles Ramsey Is A Hero. Show Some Damn Respect.

Nice---he saves the women, and you mock him. Who's the real jerk here?

Nice—he saves the women, and they mock him. Who’s the real jerk here?

Charles Ramsey is a hero without qualification. He saw someone in peril and acted, kicking in his neighbor’s door to help a woman and a child who were strangers to him. This assertive and proactive conduct led to the rescue of three young women missing for a decade. Yet because Ramsey is unrepentantly expressive in the manner of his community and peer group, and is not the typical white, middle class American who tends to dominate the internet, videos of his account of the event, replete with colorful slang and vernacular and his own expressive flourishes, have become objects of mockery and ridicule on the web, with a nasty racist edge. He is now a viral meme, especially his signature quote about knowing something is wrong when “a little pretty white girl” runs into “a black man’s arms.”

Wrong. I love Ramsey, and love his open, clear, emotional, story-teller’s manner. He is articulate in the true spirit of the word—interesting, vivid, clear and genuine. John Kerry should communicate so well. Mitch McConnell should hire him as a coach. If Al Sharpton could convey such sincerity, we’d all be in trouble. Continue reading