A Brief History
On June 30, 2018, it is once again our sad duty to report the Jerks and our glad duty to report the Heroes of the Month. These jerks may not be lifelong career jerks, they might just have had a moment’s weakness or failure of their moral compass. Or of course, they might be jerks all the time. You decide! The heroes may be someone that is not normally heroic, but deserves mention for a specific deed. The jerks and heroes we list have done something in June of 2018 or previously that became news in June of 2018. That something is an act by a jerk that makes life harder or unhappier for the rest of us. The heroes did something good for other people. Feel free to nominate your own special “jerks” or heroes along with an explanation of why they should be listed. If you are unhappy with someone we listed feel free to tell us why that person should not have been listed (or it could be that you are a jerk!).
1. Jerk. Jarrod Ramos, murderer.
On June 28, 2018, this creep shot up an Annapolis, Maryland newspaper facility killing 5 innocent people and wounding 2 more. It seems the 38 year old Jarrod Ramos had a beef with the Capital Gazette newspaper which had reported on a harassment/stalking case that Ramos had previously pled guilty to. Ramos lost a defamation lawsuit against the newspaper and had posted negative, somewhat threatening posts on social media. Ramos was armed with a shotgun and is said to have also brought smoke and flash bang grenades to the newspaper facility. Ramos did not carry any sort of identification and had defaced his fingertips to foil attempts to fingerprint him. Although he was captured alive while hiding under a desk by police officers that arrive one minute after the shooting started Ramos did not cooperate with the police and had to be identified through facial recognition software. Authorities are searching the home of the deranged suspect for further evidence and clues as to motive. Ramos is charged with 5 counts of first degree murder.
2. Hero. Anne Arundel, Maryland Police.
Normal people run away from the sound of gunfire. Police run toward the gunfire, intent on saving innocent lives without regard to their own safety. The incredibly quick one minute response to the scene of a mass shooting at the Annapolis Capital Gazette newspaper resulted in the quick arrest of the suspect and stopping what could have been considerably more carnage. Luckily, no police were injured and the suspect was arrested without the police having to shoot him. These Anne Arundel cops are heroes, as are cops all over the country. Good job, guys! (Note: Anne Arundel County, Maryland is where the city of Annapolis is located.)
3. Jerk. Brian Anthony, fatal hit skip driver.
In the early morning hours of June 24, 2018, Brian Anthony, age 24, was operating his Jeep when he plowed into Patrolman Matthew Mazany of the Mentor, Ohio Police Department, killing the officer that was assisting another officer on a traffic stop in which the driver that was stopped had an outstanding warrant. Anthony sped away from the scene and ditched his car at a local marina, leaving the Jeep crashed into a fence. Police later found the hit skip vehicle and arrested Anthony 10 hours after the incident, using Officer Mazany’s handcuffs to shackle the jerk. Anthony faces 5 years in prison, but probably escaped bigger problems by avoiding arrest long enough to not be charged with impaired driving. Mazany, age 41, had 14 years on the department and leaves a son behind. In a bizarre twist to the story, the step-father of Brian Anthony was the lead paramedic on the emergency call to treat Officer Mazany.
4. Hero. Patrolman Matthew Mazany and Patrolman Maryann Chaloupka, Mentor, Ohio Police Department.
These 2 officers were out on the road about 1 am on a Sunday morning doing their job keeping the community safe, when Mazany was assisting Chaloupka at a traffic stop in which the stopped driver was wanted on an arrest warrant. Stopping unknown people at 1 in the morning is dangerous business, but our police officers do it. The chances of dealing with intoxicated people or persons up to no good is pretty high, and the danger of getting hit by a sleepy or drunk driver is ever-present. These 2 officers were out on the road doing their jobs instead of killing time avoiding real law enforcement, and that dedication cost Mazany his life, and probably scarred Chaloupka emotionally. Our thanks to these 2 officers for choosing a challenging and sometimes thankless job.
5. Jerk. Paul Manafort, international sleaze.
Paul Manafort was the Donald Trump presidential campaign manager for a few months in 2016, which is how he became known to the general public. He was indicted by special investigator Bob Mueller for crimes not related to the presidential campaign, but indicative of the fraudulent and sleazy nature of this creep’s business dealings. On June 15, 2018, the accused Manafort had his bail revoked and was ordered to be in jail pending his upcoming trial for multiple counts of money laundering, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators. Manafort had been free on bail pending trial, but had his bail revoked for witness tampering. President Trump has falsely claimed that all the alleged crimes by Manafort occurred long before his involvement with the Trump presidential campaign, when in fact 3 of the 12 charges are for actions in 2016 and 2017. Trump also falsely claimed Manafort had a “minor role” in the campaign and worked for the Trump campaign for only 49 days. In fact, Manafort was the campaign manager and worked as for the Trump campaign for 144 days.
6. Hero. Poncho, the CPR dog.
A viral YouTube video shows a Madrid, Spain police officer falling to the ground pretending to have had a heart attack. In rushes Poncho, the life saving CPR police dog! The portly mutt immediately goes through the motions of applying chest compressions and then checking for breathing and heartbeat, then repeats the routine, just like a paramedic would! Of course it is just a funny and amusing dog trick, and the pooch cannot actually save your life by doing CPR, but knowing how dogs have been proven time and again to save human lives we know Poncho would be willing to do real CPR if he could. Kudos for all the hero canines out there! Although dogs cannot really perform CPR, they do heroic work catching criminals, finding lost people, sniffing out drugs and bombs and warning people about oncoming seizures and diabetic problems. They have been trained to sniff out termites, dead bodies, and even cancer cells. In 2017 a dog in Long Island, New York saved a baby deer from drowning. Wow!
7. Jerk. Antwon Rose, killed by police running while away.
While the outpouring of platitudes for the 17 year old victim of a fatal police shooting come piling in, it must be remembered that Rose was shot while running away from a car in which witnesses said had been engaged in a drive by shooting shortly before police spotted and stopped the car. Rose and the driver ran from the car and police fired 3 shots, killing Rose. While it is generally not okay to shoot fleeing suspects, police are justified in the case of reasonably expecting the escape of said suspect may endanger other lives. While Antwon Rose was not armed when shot, there were 2 handguns found under the seat he had been sitting in while in the car. Did Rose and his companion commit the alleged drive by shooting? We do not know. Perhaps it would be a good idea to wait for forensic test results for gunshot residue on Rose’s hands before any conclusions are jumped to. Should the unarmed teen have been shot in the back while running away? Probably not, but that is for a jury to decide now that the police officer that did the shooting has been charged with murder. (That officer had been sworn in only hours before the shooting!) While numerous descriptions of what a great kid Antwon was keep coming forth, we ask, why did such a great kid have a couple of guns under his seat in the car? Why did such a great kid run from the police? Why did such a great kid have an empty clip from a handgun in his pocket when shot? If in fact the driver or Antwon was really involved in a drive by shooting, then why did such a great kid engage in homicidal behavior? Instead of knee-jerk reactions perhaps a better course of action would be to wait for some of the answers before automatically assuming either Antwon was a violent shooter or that the cop murdered an innocent kid. Either way, we need answers, not violence.
8. Hero. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, upstart rookie politician.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as you may guess from the name, a Latina woman, upset incumbent Democrat Representative Joseph Crowley in the Democratic primary election for the 2018 congressional nomination for the seat in the US House of Representatives representing New York’s 14 district in the Queens area. Incumbent Congressman Joe Crowley had been elected to 10 terms in Congress and was considered a heavy favorite to once again earn the Democratic nomination for his seat. Alexandria, only 28 years old, has a Puerto Rican mother and a father from the Bronx. She is a 2011 graduate of Boston University with a degree in economics and international relations. Although she worked briefly for Senator Edward Kennedy when she was in college, this election is her first effort to attain elected office. She has worked as a community organizer for children’s education and also worked in support of the Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential campaign. If elected in November of 2018 in the general election against her Republican opponent (she is favored in the majority Democrat district) she will become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Alexandria has rejected large corporate sponsors and relied on small donations from individuals for 70% of her campaign spending. Even if you are not enamored of her socialist leanings or her Democratic Party affiliation, we think you could still applaud the fact that this young woman has bravely entered a realm dominated by older White males and espouses a candidacy based on helping people, providing inspiration for young girls to enter politics.
9. Jerk. Chicago thugs, shooting people.
During the weekend of June 22-25, 2018, 5 people were shot to death and another 35 wounded by gunfire in shootings across the city. In 2018 over 1300 people in Chicago have been shot, and among them were 236 murder victims. The weekend shootings included women and children, sadly a “normal” course of events in Chicago. Incredibly, the rate of shootings in Chicago in 2018 are actually lower than in 2016 and 2017! Some of the strictest gun control laws in the United States have done nothing to curb the violence. Aggressive policing often results in violent encounters between police and minorities and recent negative media events have caused a reining in of police, both by order and by police discretion. We do not have an easy solution, but if you do, please tell us and forward the ideas to the City of Chicago.
10. Hero. Jason Bernfeld, NYPD.
“Any police officer, firefighter- anybody would’ve done the same thing.” These are the words that humble hero, off-duty New York police officer Jason Bernfeld said after his harrowing rescue of a man trapped inside a burning vehicle. Bernfeld was on his way to work early in the morning when he noticed a car’s taillights off the road in a wooded area, obviously having run off the road. Bernfeld stopped to assist the driver who was stuck in the car that was flipped on its side, unable to get his seatbelt off. Bernfeld also was unable to unlatch the belt when the situation got markedly worse by the car catching on fire. Bernfeld ran to his own car to fetch a fire extinguisher and a seat belt cutter returned to the imperiled driver, spraying the flames and cutting the man free. Bernfeld pulled the driver from the flaming vehicle shortly before the car was engulfed in flames and completely burned up. Bernfeld also works as Fire Chief in Melville, New York. The driver survived with burns to his legs.
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For more information, please see…
Denenberg and Roscoe. 50 American Heroes Every Kid Should Meet. Millbrook Press, 2016.