Why is everybody so touched about this viral video of a 22-year-old Ohio man admitting his guilt over a drunk driving accident that left innocent man dead?
Matthew Cordle — as part of a promotional launch for becauseisaidiwoud.com, an organization that aimed at "bettering humanity through the power of a promise" — confessed his guilt of killing Vincent Canzani on June 22, 2013. Many on the internet are swooning over this man's supposed courage for owning up to his heinous crime and promising to "take full responsibility for what [he] has done to Vincent and his family." Even if Cordle followed through with his promise to plead guilty in court, he should be admonished for attempting to sentimentalize his criminality on the internet.
But not only did he enter a "not guilty" plea on Wednesday, Cordle's confession comes three months after the incident itself, effectively destroying what evidence law enforcement could gather against him in the case. Although the Because I Said I Would blog indicated that Cordle chose his attorneys "based on their honesty, integrity, and willingness to help guide him through the legal process that would ultimately result in his admission of guilt," his confession makes him no less delinquent. The "eventual admission of guilt" only nods to the likely legal tactics his lawyers will employ to try and get him off on a technicality or lack of evidence.
Who, then, is guiltier of glamorizing Cordle's actions? As noble as Because I Said I Would's supposed mission is, making Cordle the poster boy for their cause is slightly akin to the Rolling Stone plastering Dzhokhar Tsanaev's face on the cover of their July 2013 issue.
It also points to a somewhat perverted social phenomenon that compels people to applaud and even excuse the moral and criminal failings of others if they can apologize through a well-produced, cleverly edited video, or any shareable forum for that matter.
I am not cold or merciless. I believe that Cordle repents for his actions. But like many of us, he recoils at the reality of his actions and impending punishment. Shifting the focus from the loss of an innocent life to the shallow, self-involved, and ultimately hypocritical video-blather of Matthew Cordle is a total outrage.
We should send our hearts out to the family and friends of Vincent Canzani, and to those of other victims. If you want to feel compelled to make a promise not to drink and drive, watch this.