www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Future of The Mall -9/21/2014, 6:14 PM

Multiculturalism is a failure -9/19/2014, 9:52 AM

State education rankings -9/19/2014, 9:52 AM

Kobach gone wild -9/19/2014, 9:52 AM

Bias prevents civil discussion of education issues -9/18/2014, 9:35 AM

Immigration is American -9/18/2014, 9:35 AM

Costs to states not expanding Medicaid -9/17/2014, 10:14 AM

Medicare threats -9/17/2014, 10:12 AM

Green fields in northwest Kansas -9/17/2014, 10:12 AM

Consolidation by starvation -9/16/2014, 9:54 AM

School mergers tricky -9/16/2014, 9:54 AM

Hotel tipping -9/16/2014, 9:54 AM

Abuse video revealed nothing we didn't know -9/15/2014, 9:20 AM

Lessons from 13 years ago -9/15/2014, 9:20 AM

The zero option -9/14/2014, 1:31 PM

Why branding ISIS matters -9/14/2014, 1:31 PM

School efficiency -9/14/2014, 1:31 PM

Favors and loot for sale -9/12/2014, 10:10 AM

The 'college experience' -9/12/2014, 10:10 AM

Ellis schools -9/11/2014, 10:10 AM

Hold on, Mr. President -9/11/2014, 9:26 AM

The best bathroom -9/11/2014, 9:26 AM

The day the world stood still -9/11/2014, 9:26 AM

No one can play your part -9/9/2014, 9:55 AM

Playing candidate dress-up -9/9/2014, 9:55 AM

Congress at work -9/9/2014, 9:55 AM

Schmidt is the answer -9/9/2014, 9:55 AM

The liabilities of cannabis use -9/8/2014, 9:21 AM

Downtown decision -9/8/2014, 9:21 AM

Why are red states so far behind? -9/8/2014, 9:20 AM

Taylor's next move -9/5/2014, 10:16 AM

Consider trees to spruce up yard -9/5/2014, 10:15 AM

Washington takes action to reform VA -9/5/2014, 10:15 AM

Umbehr stands out -9/4/2014, 12:25 PM

Leadership education -- it's not a scam -9/4/2014, 12:24 PM

Not supporting Brownback's re-election -9/4/2014, 12:23 PM

A fair fair debate -9/3/2014, 9:23 AM

Suicide in today's age -9/3/2014, 9:23 AM

Regulation overreach -9/3/2014, 9:23 AM

Sharpton, Kobach's common ground -9/3/2014, 9:23 AM

In charge of all -9/3/2014, 9:23 AM

Pocket-book debate? -9/3/2014, 9:23 AM

Educating voters on education -9/2/2014, 9:33 AM

Crazy election season in Kansas -9/2/2014, 9:33 AM

An erosion of authenticity -8/31/2014, 4:39 PM

Blasphemy, free speech and the 'black mass' -8/31/2014, 4:39 PM

Labor Day -8/31/2014, 4:39 PM

Flexing muscles -8/29/2014, 10:00 AM

Blacks must confront reality -8/29/2014, 10:00 AM

The leadership scam -8/29/2014, 10:00 AM

Green monster -8/28/2014, 10:14 AM

The resurrection of Rick Perry -8/28/2014, 10:14 AM

Senate campaign -8/28/2014, 10:14 AM

Right to be heard? -8/26/2014, 10:08 AM

Over-covering Ferguson -8/26/2014, 10:07 AM

Figuring out the tax debate -8/26/2014, 10:07 AM

An obvious ploy -8/25/2014, 9:29 AM

Not-so-beautiful sunset -8/25/2014, 9:29 AM

Cannabis therapy -- Why bother? -8/25/2014, 9:29 AM

Business climate of Kansas -8/24/2014, 11:39 AM

James Foley: Courage in the face of danger -8/24/2014, 11:39 AM

Festering wound -8/24/2014, 11:39 AM

Big banks settling -8/22/2014, 10:16 AM

Tuition pays for this -8/22/2014, 10:16 AM

College textbook scam -8/22/2014, 10:16 AM

Policing a riot -8/21/2014, 9:45 AM

Evil strikes back -8/21/2014, 9:45 AM

Art appreciation -8/21/2014, 9:45 AM

Abuse of power -8/20/2014, 8:22 AM

Ferguson police arrest reporters for reporting -8/20/2014, 8:21 AM

Don't 'got milk' -8/20/2014, 8:21 AM

Another road map to success? -8/19/2014, 10:05 AM

It's the abuse of power, stupid -8/19/2014, 10:04 AM

Riots in Ferguson, and what they mean -8/18/2014, 9:57 AM

One of billions -8/18/2014, 9:57 AM

The GOP presents: Barack-nado -8/17/2014, 2:08 PM

Media and Missouri: What's going on? -8/17/2014, 2:08 PM

Answer the bell -8/15/2014, 8:58 AM

Get ready for denials -8/15/2014, 8:49 AM

Mental illness -8/15/2014, 8:49 AM

Mindless drones -8/14/2014, 9:27 AM

Can-do attitude -8/14/2014, 9:27 AM

'Poor door' -- a symbol of a truth we all know -8/13/2014, 9:19 AM

Eyeing the Ogallala Aquifer -8/13/2014, 9:19 AM

The slacker congress -8/12/2014, 9:02 AM

CIA vs. Senate -8/12/2014, 9:02 AM

The cannabis conundrum -- we against us -8/11/2014, 8:55 AM

The debate is over -8/11/2014, 8:54 AM

The 'Almost' Revolution -8/10/2014, 3:28 PM

Is cross a history lesson or state religion? -8/10/2014, 3:28 PM

Another downgrade -8/10/2014, 3:28 PM

State economy plays critical role in the future of FHSU -8/10/2014, 2:09 PM

Building on past successes for a stronger future -8/10/2014, 2:09 PM

Will Palin's channel rival Comedy Central? -8/8/2014, 9:25 AM

Western anti-Semitism -8/8/2014, 9:25 AM

Patrolmen without borders -8/7/2014, 10:13 AM

Not a choice -8/7/2014, 10:12 AM

Ebola politics -8/7/2014, 10:12 AM

Too few voters -8/6/2014, 10:03 AM

A special breed -8/6/2014, 10:03 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

A positive aftermath to a criminal act

Published on -9/16/2013, 12:34 PM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

Matthew Cordle does not want your admiration. He knows some people are finding inspiration in his courage. We are told this upsets him. He thinks they're missing the point.

The point is, he killed someone.

Vincent Canzani was a 61-year-old photographer, Navy veteran and father of two daughters. In the pre-dawn hours of June 22, he was traveling on Interstate 670 in Columbus, Ohio, when his Jeep was struck head-on by a Toyota Tundra speeding east in the westbound lanes. Canzani died at the scene.

Cordle, 22, was critically injured in the crash. As of last week, he had not been arrested. Then, without his attorney's knowledge, he recorded a video, a wrenching, professionally produced clip that makes his guilt clear as mountain air.

"I killed a man," he says. The screen is black. Somber music rises, a heavily pixilated face appears, and in an electronically altered voice, it tells the story. How he was out bar-hopping with friends. How "sometimes I drink because I have depression that I struggle with every day." How drinking made him someone "people don't like being around." How he drank to excess then got behind the wheel. How Canzani paid with his life.

"Immediately following that, I consulted some high-powered attorneys who told me stories about similar cases where the drivers got off. They were convinced that they could get my blood test thrown out and all I would have to do for that was lie. Well, I won't go down that path."

Here, he faces the camera without pixilation, speaking in his natural voice. "My name is Matthew Cordle," he says.

Yes, he says, he knows this video will likely help convict him. The point is moot; he intends to plead guilty. He closes with a plea: "I beg you -- and I say the word beg specifically -- I'm begging you, please don't drink and drive."

Cordle's video wound up on Because I Said I Would (becauseisaidiwould.com), a website dedicated to the power of promises. He wants people to promise not to do what he did. Monday, he was arrested and indicted on charges that could put him away for up to eight-and-a-half years. And yes, that penalty would be well-deserved.

It's emblematic of our cynical times that people online have suggested the video is part of some Machiavellian plot to get a lighter sentence. It's also emblematic that you can't dismiss the speculation out of hand.

But Alex Sheen, founder of Because I Said I Would, told CNN Cordle seems sincere in his desire to accept responsibility for what he did. That opinion is persuasive. Cordle, says Sheen, is "upset that people are calling his act of confession 'courageous.'?"

You can hardly blame them, though. We see such forthright behavior so seldom. In this era, people who get in trouble parse the meaning of "is" or say "mistakes were made."

They speak non-apology apologies filled with uncontrite contrition. This has become the norm.

So there is a rare, courageous integrity in seeing this very young man step up and say, I take responsibility. To acknowledge that is not to minimize the crime, nor to lionize the criminal.

He did what he did, and you can never erase that or reduce it.

But there is more to the story -- and to Cordle. Though we sometimes pretend you can encapsulate a given individual in a single blunt word of judgment, the truth is, humanity is more complex than that, each woman or man a vessel of traits that contradict and deny one another. It is impossible to say which one of them defines the whole person in every situation. It is also unnecessary to say. We are not limited to a single blunt word of judgment.

So we can say of Matthew Cordle, yes, we're saddened by the terrible thing he did. But we are also braced by what he did after that.

Leonard Pitts is a columnist

for the Miami Herald.

lpitts@miamiherald.com

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos

AP Breaking News
AP Nation-World News

View this site in another language.