Charles Ramsey, the neighbor who freed Amanda Berry and called 911, has been hailed as a hero. And he is – especially to those women who had been held against their will for so many years.
His interviews have been played and replayed all over the world. His words have already been remixed on auto-tunes. Facebook is filled with photos of the guy. And when he was told that there was a reward for finding the women, Ramsey said that he didn’t want it because he has a paycheck and said that the money should go to those women.
People have been thoroughly entertained by Ramsey’s interviews because he is unintentionally funny. (Plus, he has a funny hairdo.)
But I must be getting cynical or something because I keep waiting for a tabloid-type reporter looking for his fleeting moment in the spotlight to dig up some dirt on Charles Ramsey.
I’m waiting for him to report about Ramsey’s early brushes with the law. Or an ex-wife to pop up and say that she could use the reward money because he never paid child support. Or even that Charles Ramsey owes beaucoup bucks in back taxes.
To my knowledge, none of those things is true. Charles Ramsey might be the epitome of a fine, upstanding citizen.
But someone will find something negative to report on the guy.
I wish I didn’t feel that way. And I hope I’m wrong this time. But it seems like whenever you have a plain ol’ ordinary citizen – Mr. John Q. Public – who puts himself out there to do something heroic or notable, people first rush to laud him…and then swoop in to denigrate him.
Why do we do that?
It’s not like any of us have a spotless record. Most everyone has had a black mark or two in their backgrounds. Heck, this is precisely why there are sayings such as, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Right?
Even if Charles Ramsey has a blemish or two on his record, I hope people leave him alone. I don’t need to know about it. And neither does anyone else.
We should just thank this man, let him have his moment in the spotlight, and then leave him alone. After all, it’s harder and harder for people to get involved with their fellow man these days. People try to help an accident victim and get sued for moving the injured out of harm’s way when they shouldn’t have. Or people try to help someone in distress and their own lives come under the microscope.
It’s no wonder we keep to ourselves these days.
People don’t seem to know their neighbors anymore. We’re afraid to get involved. Oh, sure, there are neighborhoods that are friendly and open and everyone seems to know each other. But – like the neighborhood in Cleveland where three young women were held captive for years - it’s becoming more frequent that neighbors don’t know what sort of monsters live next to them.
I’m grateful that we live in one of the friendly neighborhoods. We wave every time we see a neighbor drive by. We greet each other when we pass them on the street. These are neighbors who become friends. So we’re lucky.
As a matter of fact, our garage door was inadvertently left open all day yesterday because someone forgot to close it. (And by “someone” I mean, “not me.”) But it’s one of those things that happens from time to time. Fortunately, we live on a court and there is not a lot of traffic other than the residents driving in and out of the development.
So no one took advantage of the situation and helped themselves to our stuff. Frankly, I don’t think Vince would’ve minded if someone walked off with our electric lawnmower. It would’ve given him an excuse to ignore the scruffy lawn.
But I’d like to think that if our neighbors saw someone stealing our electric lawnmower, they would have called us. Or the police.
So I’m glad that there are people out there like Charles Ramsey who was willing to get involved. My heart goes out to those three young women who had years stolen from them. And I hope that neighbors can learn to be more diligent and report suspicious activity when they see it.
We have to look out for each other.