Some of you might remember the DUI confession of Mathew Cordle. Cordle posted a YouTube video earlier this year. In his video, he confessed to the June killing of 61 year-old Vincent Canzani in a hit and run accident. Now, he is being sentenced to six-and-a-half years in an Ohio state prison.
Cordle posted the video to speak out against the dangers of drunk driving. He knew it would be used against him in court, but he did it anyways. He was under no pressure (that we know of) to do so. Many believed he should have received a lesser sentence for the remorse showed in the video, and for confessing.
However, many wish the sentence was heavier. They believe that no sentence can substitute the loss of another life—DUI confession or no.
“There is no such thing as a fair sentence when it comes to the loss of a life. The true punishment is simply living, living with the knowledge that I took a man’s life that I irreparably damaged the lives of Vincent’s family and friends and that weight and pain will never go away,” Cordle said.
Cordle will never drive again; he will lose more than six years of his life, and have to pay restitution. Canzani’s family will never get to speak with him or see him again.
As is often the case with alcoholism and drug addiction, there is no fairytale ending. There are less-sad endings, but there is always damage. Sometimes that damage can be mended, but in this case, there was little that could be done to rectify the damage dealt.
Despite doing the right thing, the judge really had little say in the matter as well. Giving Cordle a lesser sentence would have sent a message that a heart-felt YouTube confession should bring a lighter sentence. Clearly, that should not be the case. Whether it is sincere or not makes little difference, as there would surely be plenty who would do the same thing, but feel no remorse whatsoever and do so only to garner a sense of sympathy. To make a real amends, the actions have to change—not just the rhetoric.
The reality is that Cordle took responsibility for his actions. He may have ben late in doing so, but ultimately, he did. He handled the situation about as well as he could have, after having not done the proper thing in the beginning. It is a tragedy from every angle and in the most classic sense.
Too often, addicts and alcoholics think that if they take responsibility for their transgressions, they will suffer fewer consequences. That might happen sometimes, but it cannot be the relied upon outcome. When it does not turn out as we expect, many times we feel indignant, and try to dig our heels in, completely missing the point. We forget, quite quickly, that no one owes us anything—we owe them more times than not.
What is your take on Cordle and his DUI confession? Tell us in the comments!