UPDATE: See below
YouTube is not for the timid. It's a cacophony of crap, most of which consists of (a) shaky cell phone footage of stadium concerts shot from nosebleed territory, (b) 12-year-old vloggers yelling inarticulately into their webcams about how their parents just don't understand, and (c) videos of cats sleeping.
But every so often, once in a blue moon, something interesting happens out yonder in the Wild, Weird West. This week, it was two things.
The first comes from a young man who spends roughly a minute and a half talking about his battles with depression and alcoholism, while his face remains blurred and his voice is distorted.
Then, something remarkable happens: as you'll see above, the image and the sound eventually clear, and the man speaks directly to the camera: "My name is Matthew Cordle and on June 22, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani. This video will act as my confession."
Detroit News reports that Canzani was killed in Columbus, Ohio when his Jeep collided with Cordle's vehicle, which was traveling the wrong way down the interstate. Cordle was taken to a hospital and treated, but he had not previously been charged in the killing. According to Franklin County Prosecutor, that will soon change.
The video was posted by Because I Said I Would, which describes itself as "a social movement dedicated to bettering humanity through the power of a promise". That fits with Cordle's message, which centers around encouraging motorists not to drink and drive.
Cordle's move is a brave one. Cynics might see it as a way of encouraging leniency from the courts, but he didn't need to post a video to YouTube for that. We commend him for the apparent honesty of his confession and the sincerity of his plea to other drivers.
At the other end of the scale, we have YouTube user "AfroDuckProduction". According to the New York Daily News, the man behind the channel is Christopher Tang, who, on August 28, posted a video clip of himself making a full circuit of Manhattan in 24 minutes in his 2006 BMW Z4. (The footage was sped up to reduce the clip's length to just over six minutes.)
The difference between Tang and Cordle is that Tang didn't intend for his clip to serve as a confession.
He thought no one would bother tracking him down and arresting him for speeding around one of America's most densely populated urban areas, a distance of roughly 26 miles that includes surface streets and quite a few stoplights.
He was wrong. Last night, the NYPD arrested Tang for reckless endangerment, reckless driving, speed violation, and traffic device violation. And they took his BMW, too.
Oh well, at least he'll always be able to look back on the video and remember the good ol' days. If you're curious, you can watch Tang's clip below.
.UPDATE: On October 23, Cordle was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison. Also, his driver's license was permanently suspended, and he was ordered to pay court costs and a fine of $1,075.