Doing the right thing isn't easy, but Chris McCorkle has a heart to make it happen
Chris McCorkle is what you might call an "everyday hero" and his act of selflessness was recognized on May 31 by King County with a 2018 Citizenship Award by King County, Washington in a ceremony at the King County Courthouse, Seattle, Washington, for his effort to intercede in a hate crime.
His father, Greg McCorkle who is a photographer and editorial contributor to Westside Seattle wrote the following about his son. Chris offers his own account of the incident below.
A father offers his thoughts about his son
We all would like to think that in a pinch we would "Do the right thing".
We read about these individuals frequently in stories online and local publications. They perform acts of courage and sacrifice. Human nature shows us that when a possible threatening event happens we go into Fight or Flight mode. Most of us will choose Flight. It's a self-preservation thing. Nothing to be ashamed of. It's hard wired into our psyche.
Then there's the few that go to the other side. Fight mode. They're in our neighborhood’s every day wearing uniforms. Police and Firefighters run towards danger so the rest of us can swiftly go in the opposite direction. “Not my job”, “Has nothing to do with me”, “I need to get home”. So, when we hear of a civilian running towards danger in order to go to the aid of another individual it makes news and rightfully so. Invariably they say after "I wasn't thinking. I just knew I needed to help".
In early December of 2017 Christopher Jason McCorkle was with a friend enjoying a night out at a local Ballard establishment. The friend wanted to go outside for a cigarette. Chris doesn’t smoke but came out to keep his friend company. While outside they heard a commotion up the street. Chris, being a naturally curious person, walked up to investigate whereupon he saw two individuals walking towards him. As Chris approached them he overheard them proudly exclaiming how they accosted a gay man. Chris has no place in his heart for hatred towards anyone because of their skin color, religion, or sexual preference. In an attempt to detain the individuals for the police to arrive a scuffle ensued and as a result Chris received a broken left elbow. He’s a guitar player in a local band so you can imagine what that means. The police did arrive but not in time to arrest the two individuals in question. SPD interviewed the victim, his friends, and Chris, who by this time was in the emergency room. As it happens, two of the friends of the victim knew the assailants and were able to give SPD their names and addresses. They were arrested within 48 hours of the event and ended up spending Christmas and New Years in jail on a large bail awaiting arraignment.
Chris was obviously unable to work with a broken elbow and was let go by his employer. His friends rallied with a GoFundMe page and did raise enough money, along with assistance from Victim Services for he and his girlfriend to just get by.I asked him why he did this, and his response was… “I don’t know. I wasn’t thinking. I just knew that I needed to help”.
Thank goodness there are citizens out there willing to help when help is needed.
I love my son, as a man and a human being.
The assailants John Vasser and Andrew Emerick pleaded guilty to Felony Assault and Malicious Harassment and were convicted and sentenced to 7 months and 6 months respectively. They were also ordered to pay restitution to the victims. Their convictions for hate crimes and felony assault will follow them for the rest of their lives.
Chris explains what happened
“It started on December 9th. I was having a drink with a friend at Golden City in Ballard. I stepped out to keep my friend company while he had a cigarette.
So we hear some commotion up the street. If you know Ballard at that time of night it’s pretty quiet and we can hear a commotion about a block and a half up. We’re like holy crap let’s see what’s up. As we were walking in that direction we quickly realized that two guys are running from what they had just done which now we are realizing was a fight.
And they’re also yelling “Hey that was rad, we just beat the Sh^t out of those two faggots, awesome!”. They were like these high fiving white dudes. Total a##holes. I knew immediately what was going on so I positioned myself to be defensive if I needed to.
Which was up on a ledge so I’m on a corner that’s about a foot high, and I to ask them anyway what happened and to be sure that I’m correct about what I heard. And sure enough they’re like “Hey yeah we just beat up these two faggots up the street” and basically in the middle of telling me this, which all happened in 10 seconds. I wouldn’t let them finish talking and just tried to take them down, like you guys aren’t going anywhere.
Somehow we rotated falling to the ground and I ended up underneath one of them and when we hit the ground I broke my elbow because both of our weights landed on my elbow.
I didn’t know that yet, but, one guy gets up, the kid that I tried to tackle or take down he gets up. The other kid has turned around and comes back to us.
They both began kicking me and trying to beat me up. At that point someone who must have been nearby began chasing them. I got up and thought I gotta go.
I started taking my jacket off and realized that my left arm won’t come out of the sleeve. That’s when I knew my arm was broken. That’s when I thought I guess I’m done.
We went back to where the fight was happening and that’s where I ran into a group of six people just hanging out, I think they just had a birthday party or something, bar hopping. The police finally showed up. A few hours later I ended up going to the hospital. And that’s pretty much how the night went.
We all need to help each other
Well written. And with a HAPPY ending.