When Aron Ralston, 38, cut off his forearm to free himself from a boulder in 2003 after he fell into a canyon on a hike, he earned international fame. He has been coveted as a motivational speaker, and his story was turned into the Oscar-nominated film 127 Hours starring James Franco. So it's pretty shocking news that on Saturday night, Ralston was arrested at the home of a 38-year-old woman (not his wife) and charged with domestic violence.
There are sparse details available on Ralston’s arrest, but he was charged with assault and "wrongs to minors."
Anyone who knows the story knows that Ralston is amazingly tough and resilient. What he was able to do, armed only with a pocket knife, is simply super human. But, of course, it's a lesson we learn again and again. People are complicated. Even a hero can do things that are less than heroic (and sometimes even criminal).
Of course, we don't know the details of Ralston's alleged crime. Vita Shannon, the woman who lives at the home where Ralston was collared, was also arrested and charged with the same crimes.
As unfortunate as this is, it's also true that many of the "heroes" we choose from pop culture are often not people who are without flaws. Ralston rescued himself from a tight spot and saved his own life. His message of self-preservation and bravery still applies even if his actions later in life are less than heroic.
Expecting people to be all one thing or another is expecting too much, period. As for Ralston, it sounds like he is married and has a 2-year-old son so I hope that whatever this arrest means, he and his family get the help they need. When a child is involved, it's always that much more tragic.
Does this news disappoint you?
Image via Denver Police