Ashley Smith’s new book is out. You may remember her as the woman who was taken hostage by an Atlanta murderer and then proceeded to convince him to turn himself in to the police by reading to him from a religious self-help book.
She was touted as a hero. A single mother whose faith in God and willingness to spread the good word put a dangerous madman behind bars. A quite uplifting story actually. It warmed the heart of the nation.
But she left out one small detail. God might have been a big part in ending the murderer’s rampage of terror. But more than likely it was the combination of that and the crystal meth that did the trick.
See, what we didn’t know at the time was that Miss Smith was a tweaker. Why didn’t we know this? Well, because she didn’t tell anyone about it.
The guy broke into her house, tied her up and asked for some pot. Ashley didn’t have any marijuana on her…but she had some ice. So she offered that to him instead. Which he took and then proceeded to become convinced that Ashley Smith was in reality, an angel.
So her book is called Unlikely Angel: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Hostage Hero.
She’s just lucky that his meth-riddled brain chose to envisage her as an angel. Otherwise things could have been much more awkward.
Who’s going to buy a book called Unlikely Santa Claus?
The police learned about this drug involvement months after the event took place. But the general population is just finding out about it now. Is it really that hard to figure these things out? Nobody questioned the suspect? Nobody smelled the meth in the apartment? None of her friends knew she was an addict? The cops didn’t leak it?
They probably did. We probably could have figured out the truth a long time ago. The reality is that no one wanted to. We want to believe what we want to believe. Does her drug addiction and the use of meth make her any less of a hero? No. She still got the dude to turn himself in. Who cares how she did it?
The Christians, that’s who.
They wanted it to be god and an appeal to basic human emotion and a sense of right and wrong. Hell, we all wanted it to be that. We all want to believe that you can reason with a murder. We want to believe that there’s an inherent moral truth that runs through all of us. It gives us a sense that we’re in control of things. That we can make the wrong right. But the harsh reality is that most of the time it’s just not the case. Sometimes reason needs a little psychotropic help.
The truth of the matter is that she used drugs to manipulate this man. Not spirituality. A chemical compound. She still accomplished something remarkable. But it’s tarnished her achievement. Especially since she lied about it at first. In our rush to create yet another heartwarming story, we’ve gotten it all wrong.
(Speaking of wrong stories, GMA did a story on the “Urban legends of Hurricane Katrina” this morning. People being raped and killed in the Super Dome, roving gangs… Mostly untrue. They had an expert on as they tried to discover just how these kinds of stories get started and spread so fast. Hmmm. It’s a real mystery isn’t it, GMA? I wonder…? Next, I suppose it’s off to help OJ find the real killer. I also like how they used the term “Urban Legend.” It connotes that the problem somehow lies with us, the “Urbanites,” the common folk. Last time I checked, only 50 people a day read this stupid blog. Back to the post.)
But this story (Ashley the Angel) had all the makings. Multiple murders, hostage taking, faith, hope, love and a happy ending. The formula for a network news human interest story.
In a way, I’m happy to learn that Ashley isn’t the angel that she was made out to be. Maybe it will make the media a little gun-shy (yeah, right). I’m getting tired of the heartwarming tripe on television. It’s too much. It’s not even real anymore.
My freaking heart is so warmed that I’m getting heartburn. But it’s so persistent that I’m thinking about consulting my doctor. I’m afraid that I might be suffering from a more serious condition.
Warm Fuzzy-Reflux Disease.
Fun Fact: The wait is over. I’m setting up my TAM Merchandise shop and more great items are being added every day! soon you’ll be able to buy all your favorite TAM merchandise! Won’t that be great?! Be the first on your block to have a TAM coffee mug! Or a TAM mouse pad! You’d be the envy of all your friends…if they had any idea what the hall all this TAM crap was anyway. But see, that’s why it’s so cool, it’s new! Get in on the ground floor of cool. Get in on what I’m sure will be the beginning of a national obsession.
And you can say that you were there the whole time. Man, you’ll be cool.
Did I mention cool?