Sunday, June 14, 2015

Memorable eyewitness accounts

Andy Warhol once said that in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. This is seen today to a much greater extent than in the past. Fifteen fleeting minutes of fame seems to go hand in hand with reality TV shows, entertainment industry figures, publicised personal lives, people famous just for being famous, internet memes and greater news coverage

The last of the above has produced a number of 15 minute famous people, the most recent being Courtney Barnes last week. Here is Courtney's interview, plus some memorable others.

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Courtney Barnes

Courtney is not yet your average eyewitness. To start with, Courtney, from Mississippi has green hair, green fingernails and has been a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance a number of times. Last week he witnessed a traffic accident involving two cars, one a police car. His account to the local reporters quickly went viral:
Barnes: Okay, well, I am a witness here, and what I seen was a horrible, tragic situation. The guy was coming down and I guess the police was trying to do a stop point, the man said ‘no, not today,’ and they began to race behind each other like cats and dogs. The police all of a sudden got behind the man and started going so fast his car spinned out of control. Girl, he hit the pole, his head went to one side, and his body went to the other side, and this is the result. Lord, be with this young man, he need a blessing. 
Interviewer: So what’d…where were you when this happened? 
Barnes: Well, ma’am, I was actually going to buy me a piece of…um…burger from Burger King, and I just stopped right in the middle because my hunger just went away.
Watch it by clicking on:

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Clare Werbeloff

Clare became known as the Chk Chk Boom girl after telling reporters what she had witnessed at a shooting outside a Kings Cross nightclub in Australia. The trouble was that she had not seen anything, she had made it all up. It remains a classic eyewitness interview.
“This morning, my friends and I came out of a tattoo parlour and there were these two wogs fighting. And the fatter wog said to the skinnier wog, ‘Oi bro, you slept with my cousin, eh?’ And the other one said, ‘No man, I didn't for shit, eh!’ And the other one goes, ‘I'll call on my fully sik boyz, eh!’ And then he pulled out a gun and went CHK CHK BOOM!”
Clare‘s Chk Chk Boom quickly went viral with the words being printed for sale on T shirts and drinking glasses. She scored herself a TV gig and was the cover of the last edition of men’s mag Ralph. 

Clare: "The worst thing was that people accused me of being a racist, which I’m not."

See it by clicking on:

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Charles Ramsay:

Back in 2013 Charles Ramsay was eating his McDonalds at his home in Cleveland when he heard screams from a nearby house. With Big Mac in hand he ran there to investigate. What he found was Amanda Berry, who had been held captive from 2003 when she had been aged 14. He broke the door, allowing her to escape with him, and called 911. Police found 2 more missing girls held captive inside the house. Perpetrator Ariel Castro pled guilty to 937 criminal counts of rape, kidnapping and aggravated murder as part of a plea bargain. He was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole plus 1,000 years. One month into his sentence, Castro committed suicide by hanging himself with bedsheets in his prison cell.

The interview with Charles Ramsey straight after his rescue made him an unlikely, but loved, hero:
I heard screaming. I'm eating my McDonald's. I come outside. I see this girl going nuts, trying to get out of the house. So I go on the porch and she says, "help me get out, I've been in here a long time." So I figured it was a domestic violence dispute, so I open the door and we can't get in that way cause how the door is, it's so much that a body can't fit through there, only your hand. So we kicked in the bottom. So she comes out with a little girl and she says, "Call 911, my name is Amanda Berry."
. . . .
About 5 minutes after the police got here. See, the girl [Amanda] told the police, "I ain't just the only one. It's some more girls up in that house!" So there go in up there, you know, 30-40 deep and when they came out it was just astonishing cause I thought they was gonna come up with nothing. I figured, I mean, who ever she was - and like I said, my neighbor... you got to have some big testicles to pull this off, bro! Cause we see this dude every day. I mean everyday!
. . . .
What was the reaction on the girls' faces? I can't imagine, to see the sun light - to be around people...
[Charles 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, dead giveaway [cuts off reporter] ‘cos either she's homeless or she's got problems, that's the only reason she's running to a black man! [thumbs up at camera]
See and hear it at:
(go to the 2.20 mark if you want to skip ahead)

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Kimberly "Sweet Brown" Wilkins

Sweet Brown became an internet sensation when she described a 2012 fire and her dramatic departure from her apartment block in Oklahoma City:
I woke up to get me a cold pop and then I thought somebody was barbecuing. I said, ‘Oh Lord Jesus, it’s a fire.’ Then I ran out, I didn’t grab no shoes or nothing, Jesus. I ran for my life and then the smoke got me, I got bronchitis! Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
After becoming a celebrity, Sweet sued Apple over an iTunes song that used some of her catchphrases, Ain't nobody got time for that?", "Ran for my life," and "Oh, Lord Jesus, it's a fire!".

See it at:

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Noah Ritter steals the interview:

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