Charles Ramsey, the Cleveland man whose quick thinking while intervening in what he initially thought was a domestic dispute saved three missing women who'd been held captive for 10 years in his neighbor's house, gave another terrific interview to Anderson Cooper last night on CNN.
In the wake of his engagingly animated and darkly funny retellings of the story of his rescue of Amanda Berry, Ramsey has emerged as a microcelebrity, the sole bright spot in what's otherwise an unrelentingly horrifying case. (America's collective fascination with working-class black people giving interviews on local television doesn't hurt.)
Unfortunately, Ramsey's newfound meme-status kind of overwhelms the fact that the guy rescued three women from their kidnapper. Relatively new to the neighborhood, friendly with his neighbor, he nonetheless refused to keep his head down and ignore what he admits he thought was a domestic dispute. In the aftermath, he acted quickly and decisively—having one victim, Amanda Berry, make a simultaneous 911 call, and castigating the emergency operator for insufficient quickness and understanding. ("She need an ambulance, or what? She needs everything. [...] she’s been kidnapped, so you know, put yourself in her shoes," he told the operator, whom he describes to Cooper as a "moron.")
But he tells Cooper he doesn't think of himself as a hero:
No, no, no. Bro, I'm a Christian, an American, and just like you. We bleed same blood, put our pants on the same way. It's just that you got to put that - being a coward, and I don't want to get in nobody's business. You got to put that away for a minute.
I tell you what you do, give [the reward] to them. Because if folks been following this case since last night, you been following me since last night, you know I got a job anyway. Just went picked it up, paycheck. What that address say? [...] 2203 Seymour. Where are them girls living? Right next door to this paycheck. So yes, take that reward and give it to—that little girl[.]