Way to puncture my good mood, The Smoking Gun. This happened:
Charles Ramsey, whose 911 call and subsequent TV interviews have made him a microcelebrity, was once a repeat spousal abuser whose marriage ended in divorce following a 2003 felony conviction for battering his wife.
Here’s the thing: this is not trivial information. It’s not irrelevant dirt someone dug up just to spite this guy. It doesn’t make his actions with Amanda Berry any less powerful or admirable. It doesn’t change the fact that he helped three women escape from captivity. It doesn’t suggest any ulterior motives for helping Amanda and her daughter break through that door.
It does, however, put a little damper on this:
Ramsey has also reportedly said that he went to help Berry because he “was raised to help women in distress.”
No, that doesn’t quite work.
His ex-wife reports that he has since apologized for his actions to her. It’s possible that he learned from his experiences and now understands that domestic violence is a horror that no one should have to endure. It’s possible that he stepped up to help Amanda Berry, while thinking it was an everyday case of partner-battering, because he knows, as a former abuser, how important it is for bystanders to step in.
I don’t think that if you’ve done something bad in the past, that it determines your character for the rest of your life. I don’t buy into “once a misogynist batterer, always a misogynist batterer.” We should have room to learn from our mistakes and live our lives as better people. It should be okay for bad husbands to grow up to be the bravest of neighbors.
Except for guys like those Castros. They can be marooned on an island with a revolver loaded with only two bullets, for all I care.