Beware Your Heroes

We all have heroes. Fictional or real, we all have people we look up to for so many reasons. For their actions, for their words, for their music, for all of the above. And we as human beings have this tendency to put our heroes on pedestals, to believe they can do no wrong, or that if they do wrong there is a purely good intentioned explanation.

The problem comes when we expect this of human beings. Because they are human. And human nature is not a pretty thing.

I am writing this in reference to the reactions to the sentencing of the now-former Escape the Fate lead singer Ronnie Radke. Yesterday, Bree reported he had been sentenced to 5 years probation, along with the stipulation of rehab and fines.

There were many reactions, some ranging from “Only 5 years when a man was murdered?” to “Oh, Ronnie, how could you screw yourself up like this?” And then there were the extreme reactions: that he shouldn’t have been sentenced like that because it split up the band…and that he in fact hadn’t DONE anything.

I’m not going to pass judgment on anyone here, that’s NOT what I do. But I am going to say to those people that you have to learn a hard truth: when your heroes are human, they are going to act according to human nature. It’s not pure in either it’s motivations or intentions.

I had to learn this same lesson the hard way, to a lesser degree. Back when I was still heavy into wrestling (which I am NOT getting sucked back into, regardless of the fact that I sat through RAW last night just to see Jeff Hardy) I was a huge fan of Amy “Lita” Dumas, as you may or may not know. She was to me an alternative to the company’s other women, she was a tomboy, she hung out with the Hardyz (yes, spelled with a “z”) as just one of the guys, and her move set was more daredevil than what had been seen in recent years.

It is embarrassing how long I spent looking for a shirt like that.

And then, in 2005, her image was shattered. It was revealed through Matt Hardy’s official website that Amy, who had been involved with Matt for several years, had cheated on Hardy with a good friend of his, Adam “Edge” Copeland…who was married at the time.

This presented an issue. Someone I considered a personal heroine had done something so blatantly horrible, on multiple occasions, to someone she claimed to be a friend and a lover. She confessed to having cheated, but did not offer any reasons or further explanation (though Matt’s brother Jeff said, quite diplomatically “Matt can be…difficult…to live with.”) It was difficult to reconcile the image I had in my head with the image I was now being shown. I had to decide how I felt.

Matt, Amy and Jeff during better times

How I felt:

She did a terrible thing, a thing she KNEW was wrong. She got caught. She took responsibility for her actions and tried to make things right. She paid a price personally and professionally for her actions (her character was turned into a promiscuous, power hungry coward as opposed to her previous “won’t back down from any fight” tomboy character). She in fact LEFT wrestling for a period of time in part due to the mess the situation had created for her (she also wanted to concentrate on working with her band, the Luchagores).

She’s wearing solid black here. That’s how you know she’s bad now.

I still hold her in high esteem for the good things she did. But yeah, she was flawed. She’s human.

Now, what she did is very VERY little compared to what Radke did. No one died because of her actions. But the price she paid has also been much less than what Ronnie is paying.

So, for those of you who are still fans of Ronnie? I suggest you take some time to consider all of this. You can still be a fan of his music, and remember how he made you feel. But at the same time you HAVE to recognize that what he did was wrong, morally as well as legally. He has confessed, he is paying his price (both legally and professionally) and hopefully he will learn something from his EXTREMELY lenient sentence. Hopefully he will come out of this with an appreciation of how his actions affect others…and maybe a better appreciation for human life, both his own and the lives of others.

As for everyone else? Choose your heroes wisely.

(for those of you who are going to yell “BUT YOU DEFEND AMY ALL THE TIME WHEN PEOPLE CALL HER A SLUT!” I will argue: sleeping with one man behind your boyfriend’s back doesn’t make you a slut. It makes you unfaithful. Now, if she’d been having sex with multiple partners, whether it was behind Matt’s back or not, to the point of ridiculous promiscuity and obviously showing no respect for herself? THEN she’d be a slut.)