Drunken driving death was just the first crime

It’s a shame the way the news media and others are fawning over Matthew Cordle, the 22-year-old Powell, Ohio man who became an Internet sensation for posting an online video of himself confessing to causing a fatal traffic accident while driving drunk.

Mr. Cordle said he posted the video to make good on his pledge to accept responsibility for his actions, but he could have done that by simply turning himself in and pleading guilty without all of the other accompanying hoopla.

Instead, Mr. Cordle took the time to produce and post a slick 3-1/2 minute video that obscures his face before gradually revealing his identity in dramatic fashion, complete with background music to set the mood.

The video is clearly meant to generate sympathy for Mr. Cordle by making him a YouTube sensation, and he apparently succeeded, judging by the generally positive responses. By the end of the video you almost feel that Mr. Cordle is the victim and not the man he killed, Vincent Canzani, which is the real crime of his video.

After last week’s hearing, Canzani’s daughter, Angela, told a Columbus TV station the attention the case has gotten is forcing her to relive what happened. She said people seem to forget a person died at the hands of Mr. Cordle.

Too often our society wants to glorify the criminal and forget about the victim. Perhaps it’s because we see so many sports figures, politicians and celebrities breaking the law, that we seem to forget that a crime has been committed. Or perhaps through the Internet and television we are exposed to so much crime and violence that we’ve become desensitized to it.

We need to see through all of the smoke and mirrors meant to deflect our attention in this case and focus on the human suffering caused by this crime, not on the perpetrator’s feelings.