Yesterday, I wrote a piece documenting the fallibility of our “heroes” and memes — people that we think are these great human interest spectacles often have real flaws that constrain them from becoming whatever it is we want them to be. Charles Ramsey is the latest of our “heroes” to walk the tricky path of newfound global celebrity. The so-called “Ohio Abduction Hero,” Ramsey has delighted and captivated a worldwide audience with his antics, his candor and his apparent generosity. He excellently navigated the recent news of his criminal past — charges that include spousal abuse. “I was a piece of shit,” Ramsey affirms in his interview with “Nightline.” But just as he is taking two steps forward, another “hero” has emerged that threatens to send him ten steps back.
Angel Cordero, who Ramsey refers to as “the Dominican” (ooh tricky, gotta be careful with the labels, Charles) was on the scene that day as well, and insists that it was he, and not Ramsey, that really saved those girls. “I helped her and I was first,” Cordero told ABC’s Cleveland affiliate WEWS-TV. “Ramsey arrived after she was outside with the girl. But the truth — who arrived there, who crossed the street, who came and broke the door, it was me.”
Naturally, Ramsey disputes this fact claiming that “the Dominican,” while first to the door, actually ran across the street and yelled, “I’m not getting involved in that” (here, Charles during the interview actually mimics a Dominican patois, and admittedly, I found myself able to imagine Cordero saying it).
Really, the bottom line for all of this is that the girls are safe. Everything else is just bluster and a lifetime of free drinks and goodwill. But as there is a lot of goodwill and free drinks potentially involved, it does matter who is telling the truth here. Because both men have made statements of “absolute fact” (according to them); clearly one is lying. Is it the ex-con or the guy who speaks halting and poor English? Fortunately, the court of public opinion might be spared such a controversial decision — we have not yet heard from the girls. Amanda Berry has her version of the story, and that should clear a lot of this up.
In the end though, even if Ramsey’s version of events is more credible, it will be fascinating to see if he can hold to his statements that when the money starts getting doled out, he doesn’t want any of it. If he can actually hold to that, and walk away from this with nothing more than his head held high, he’s a bigger hero than any of us realize.