Charles Ramsey is a hero, but not just for the reasons you think

House where Amanda Berry was held

The house where Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight were held for ten years. –AP

Charles Ramsey Interview, rescuer of Amanda Berry, a missing Cleveland woman

1:22 Seconds into video

Ramsey: “About five minutes after the police got here, the girl Amanda told the police ‘I ain’t the only one, there some more girls up in that house.’ So they go up there, thirty, forty deep and when they came out, (it) was just astonishing. I thought they were gone come up with nothing. I figured, I mean, whoever she was and like I said, my neighbor; you’ve got some big testicles to pull this off, bro.”

Ramsey: Cause we see this dude, everyday! I mean, everyday!

Reporter: How long has he lived here?

Ramsey: “I’ve been here a year. You see where I’m coming from? I barbequed with this dude. We eat ribs and whatnot and listen to salsa music, you see where I’m coming from?

Reporter: And you had no indication there was anything wrong?

Ramsey: Not a, bro, not a clue that that girl was in that house or anybody else was in that house against their will because how he is, he just comes out to his backyard, plays with the dogs, tinker with his cars and motorcycles and goes back in the house. So he’s somebody you look and then you look away because he’s not doing nothing but the average stuff. There’s nothing exciting about him. Well. Until today. (nervous laugh)

Reporter: What was the reaction on the girls faces, I can’t imagine, to see the sunlight, to be around people?

Ramsey: Bro, I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a Black man’s arms. Something is wrong here. Dead giveaway. Dead giveaway.

Reporter: Charles Ramsey, thank you very much.

 Cultural Insensitivity

When I first started hearing about this story, I did my patrol of the news articles and discovered a disturbing trend. So many people (a large number of them men) kept saying “Why didn’t they leave? Why didn’t they escape? Why didn’t three women overpower this one man?”

I found those statements to be galling and frustrating. As we would later find out, there were three men involved. The door was blockaded and barely able to be opened as Mr. Ramsey attested and the police used a large number of officers to break into the place to rescue the women successfully. There were also statements indicating the men proposed violence to the young women when they were still very impressionable. They were said to have told the girls “I took you from your home, I can go back there and harm your family any time I like. If you leave, I will do that.”

With such a threat hanging over their heads and without any knowledge of how they were physically constrained at the time, how could any compassionate individual make the statement WHY DIDN’T THEY JUST ESCAPE?

I started my transcript at the 1:22 mark because of the statements Mr. Ramsey made I found to be the most telling about this incident.

“We see this dude, everyday!” At least one of the suspects made no attempts to hide. He interacted with the neighborhood, he shopped, he was seen in the yard, he liked his dogs, his cars, barbeques and salsa music. This is the nature of their pathology. They were completely able to blend into the neighborhood looking just like anyone else. The boldness of his actions meant he had no expectations of ever being caught and for ten years or three thousand, six hundred and sixty five days (at least) three women lived in daily terror of their lives.

I mention this because I have been studying human trafficking and believe there is more of it taking place than we are ever truly aware of. This case is a perfect example of an abduction which left no clues long enough for the children who were abducted to be declared dead and the case considered cold if not completely closed.

Our nationwide lack of compassion toward children/women, hell anyone, who has been abducted and held against their will is poisoned by the idea that people will escape their captors, in a fashion similar to depictions in Hollywood. Bold, daring and completely self actualized, these characters find a way to foil their captors and return to their lives, barely changed by the event.

The truth is far more terrible. They are stolen as children, prevented from reaching a sense of agency, a sense of purpose, they are abused, misused, psychologically mutilated, bereft of identity and left in conditions often worse than if they were fending for themselves on the streets. These are not the heroes of cinema, they are the victims of a nightmare which for many have gone on so long, they have little hope of escape. And if their captors are competent, any will to escape is eroded by abuse, drug addition, torture and examples of what may happen if you try to escape. These victims are psychologically broken, often unable to escape unless a clear opportunity presents itself.

We, as a nation, need to be more aware of the nature of human trafficking, more aware of its effects on our society, our way of life and on the victims of it. They are victims, questioning their willingness to escape is the same as empowering the idea they should have been snatched from their lives and turned into slaves in the first place.

No doubt, more of this sorrid and terrible tale will be made available and as it is, it will be up to us to decide how we want to be involved in the reduction of human trafficking in our neighborhoods. Yes, no matter where you live, this insidious monster could be living right next door to YOU. And you have no idea of it.

Yes, Charles Ramsey is a hero. But not for the reasons you think. His greatest contribution to this conversation is to point out the temerity and boldness with which such monstrous behavior wanders invisibly into and out of our lives. That is the second greatest gift he could give to all of us.

He is an everyday hero who stepped up when he could have gone back into his home and never given it a second thought. Personally, I am so glad he didn’t turn away. There is too much of that going on already in this nation. Well done, sir, well done.

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