Wednesday, May 8, 2013
By now most everyone has at least a passing understanding of who Charles Ramsey is. If the name doesn't ring a bell, he was the neighbor who helped rescue three women in Cleveland who had been held captive for a decade.
Upon hearing screaming from his neighbor's house, he went to the door and a woman asked him to help her. He told reporters that he at first thought she was a victim of domestic violence. He quickly became an internet meme because of his awesome interview with local TV.
The aftermath of all this has been rather strange to observe. Some people are worried that Ramsey is being treated like the "funny black neighbor". Not understanding that we can laugh a funny guy without mocking him. I'd love to talk to him. He's a good story teller, and a character.
Today it was revealed by the omnipresent media that seems to find the bad side of everybody, that Mr. Ramsey has a record including an assault on a woman in his past. National media especially seem to love to find the dirt to tarnish a heroic act.
As many of you know, I work for DCFS in Illinois. In the last 20 years I have interviewed thousands of people a lot like Mr. Ramsey. People who may have had a bad past, or made bad choices but who have grown from those experiences to become better people and better parents.
It may be bone headed optimism, but the fact that Mr. Ramsey initially thought the victim may have been a DV victim, could be because he learned from his past. Most men who are convicted of Domestic Battery have to take classes in anger management and other counseling to help them recognize their own triggers. Is it so far off base to think that Mr. Ramsey internalized what he learned and put it to good use when needed?
It's easy to be a cynic, but people can change. I've seen it countless times. While there are really bad people in the world who will never change (mostly White Sox fans but I digress), the capacity for positive change exists in us all.
I recognize that Mr. Ramsey has a checkered past, and I've certainly called out abusers in this blog before, but for now, he did a heroic thing. On top of his heroism, when Anderson Cooper asked about the reward money, he said give it those women, give it to that little girl who was out here crying last night.
Maybe karma isn't always a bitch.