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Is Matthew Cordle the Hero or the Villain?

Sep 09, 2013 | Updated Nov 09, 2013

On June 22, 2013 61-year old Vincent Canzani was hit and killed by a drunk driver. No one was ever formally charged with the hit-and-run which led to Canzani's death, but that's all about to change. His name is Matthew Cordle and he admitted to being the man who hit and killed Canzani that night in a profoundly unique video he posted online.

This video consists of Cordle declaring "My name is Matthew Cordle, and on June 22, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani. This video will act as my confession".

But that's not all Cordle has to say.

"By making this video, I know exactly what it means. I'm giving prosecutors everything they need to put me away for a very long time. But I'm willing to take that sentence, for just one reason, so I can pass this message on to you. I beg you... I'm begging you, please don't drink and drive."

What's so unique about this video is that Cordle's message, and confession, comes off as sincere and genuine. Although he is confessing to a crime he is also delivering an intensely powerful message based on his recent experience drinking and driving. Even though Cordle killed another human being he has received an outpouring of support from those who watched his video.

Many of the comments left on the YouTube video are from users commending him for being honest, brave, and showing remorse for a horrible tragedy he was the cause of. With the sheer volume of support Cordle has received even though he's the reason why another human being is dead makes me ask the question;

Is Matthew Cordle the hero or the villain?

Two things are certain with this video confession, which makes you wonder which one of the two he is.

Number one is that Cordle unquestionably drove under the influence of alcohol, which resulted in the death of Vincent Canzani.

The second certainty is that Cordle made a video confession taking responsibility for his actions, delivering a heartfelt message about not drinking and driving, and looking quite remorseful all throughout.

With the amount and type of support received since his determined confession reports and further comments tend to share a general idea or sentiment. That sentiment is that Cordle is courageous, a generally good person, and is deserving of sympathy and others could learn a thing or two from his honesty.

While it's easy to condemn a person for being responsible for why something terrible happened, one could say it's difficult to praise the manner in which that person responds to that situation. That seems to be what is happening here.

But isn't Cordle still the bad guy in all of this? Isn't he the villain here? Someone that shouldn't be receiving praise because of the fact he killed someone by driving drunk?

That's the unusual thing when it comes to a situation such as this.

Yes, Cordle broke the law and killed someone as a result.

But Cordle is using his experience in a way that could possibly prevent someone else from doing what he did and possibly save a life, or more, in the process. He also seemed generally sorry for his actions the pain he has caused the family and friends of the man he killed. His remorse, his wanting to take responsibility for his actions and accept the consequences are what make us want to like him.

We know that what he did is horrible and he deserves to be punished, but how he is handling this life changing experience makes us want to like him in a sense. It seems almost noble, he seems like a person worth welcoming back into society once punishment has been passed onto him.

In this story Cordle is the hero and the villain, which isn't all that uncommon in the grand scheme of things. People are inherently good but we are only human and we make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes are the ones that are the most damaging but it's how we respond to these life altering events in our lives that is able to define and reflect who we are deep down most often.

Hopefully Matthew's message is heard around the world to help prevent a senseless tragedy such as this from impacting the lives of others. In the meantime it's up to us, as spectators, to allow the justice system to do what it sets out to do and attempt to properly pass judgment.