Reflections of The Hierophant: Our Fallen (Random) Hero...

A tragedy born of a tragic mistake... Find out my feelings on the 1-Year Anniversary of the death of Ryan "Random Hero" Dunn...

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By TheHierophant - 6/20/2012

      So, today marks the 1 year anniversary of Ryan “Random Hero” Dunn’s death. A lot of you might be thinking to yourselves, “Why is The Hierophant writing an editorial for a comic book website about something that is clearly NOT comic book related?” Well, my sweethearts, let me tell you. My basis for writing this is simple, “Random Hero” was the moniker given to Ryan Dunn by the others in the CKY Crew, which (as illustrated above) clearly makes him a superhero…



…No?


…Not buying it?


… Ok…


… Let’s go with this:



      I enjoy writing, and the death of Ryan Dunn is something that actually had an impact on me. So, for the next couple paragraphs, I will be explaining why the death of this particular “Jackass” impacted me, as well as my feelings on the controversy that surrounded his death…

      The summer before entering high school, my uncle had turned me on to this show called
“Jackass,” a show that featured a group of apparent randoms performing silly and dangerous pranks/stunts. Something that sounds terrible on paper, but hooked me instantly. I became so attached to this show that these “randoms” quickly became as familiar to me as my family (with the exception being Chris Pontius, who remained “Party Boy” due to my inability to properly pronounce his surname until later in life).

      Making friends has never been my greatest strength, and going into my Freshman year, I had managed to retain only 2 friends. But, my love for
“Jackass” was shared by a group of classmates from the Sophomore class. I remember finding out that this little band of misfits had taken to performing stupid stunts, and recording them under the name “Dumbass.” Quickly, this group became my best friends in high school. Without these people, I would’ve been lost in my darkest hours. I know most of you will dismiss “CKY,” “Jackass,” or “Viva La Bam” as stupid-entertainment, but to my friends and myself, they were a way for us to bond. So, the cast of said shows became more than just a bunch of randoms doing stupid stunts, they became like friends to us. I think that came down to the fact that the CKY/Jackass Crew were just regular guys who you could relate to easily. People you could see yourself hanging out with.

      It might sound silly to you, but when I got the text from my sister that Ryan Dunn had died in a car crash, I was taken aback. I was immensely saddened by it. Not the same type of sad most people got when Heath Ledger died, or an other celebrity. Not the kind where your sad because it’s popular. It didn’t feel like “just another celebrity” died, it felt like I lost a close friend. Which, again, might sound silly, but it’s true.

      After the news broke of his death, I knew it was only a matter of time before his name was dragged through the mud by vultures. Well, other than the ever-psychotic Westboro Baptist Church, no name-dragging took place… until the cause of his crash came to light.

      It came to be known that he had spent the night drinking with Zachery Hartwell, and after they finished, they got into Dunn’s Porsche 911 GT3 to head home for the night. Hitting a reported speed of 132-140 mph, Dunn’s car veered off and hit a tree at full-speed, killing Dunn and his passenger, Zachery Hartwell, on impact. It was after all of this that I started hearing/reading remarks from people, calling Dunn a murderer and going as far as saying he deserved it.

      Now, was it a dumbass move to drink and drive? Absolutely. Is Ryan Dunn to blame for his death, and Zachery Hartwell’s? Sadly, yes. But, all of the blame can’t be placed onto Dunn. Zachery Hartwell was a big boy. He knew, as well as Dunn, that they were both drinking and would need to get home eventually. To say Dunn was a murderer is completely ignorant. It was a tragic mistake made by two people. But, regardless of the cause we have to remember something: Every death is tragic to someone. The deaths of Ryan Dunn and Zachery Hartwell is no exception to that rule.

      Ryan Dunn touched the lives of millions of people all around the world. He was a funny person, willing to do anything to get a laugh. He was known by his friends for being willing to do anything for a friend (which is the root of his nickname, “Random Hero). I refuse to let this mistake (albeit a tragic one) muddy this man’s legacy of laughter.



PS. I would like to request that if you have anything negative to say about Ryan Dunn, Zachery Hartwell, or anything I’ve written, either word it respectfully or don’t write anything at all. If you write a tasteless and disrespectful comment, I will delete it…
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8 Comments
mawilli4 - 6/20/2012, 6:09 PM
I honestly felt the same way, man. RIP Dunn. He was by far my favorite. I loved the show where he helped people re-prank their friends.
95 - 6/20/2012, 6:16 PM
I'm with @teabag on this.
Tainted87 - 6/20/2012, 7:46 PM
So he was a jackass to the end, huh?
TheHierophant - 6/20/2012, 10:47 PM
@mawilli4: The show you're thinking of is called "Homewrecker," and it was a good show that was overshadowed by "Viva La Bam."

@teabag: You see, it's not that I looked up to him, but that I respect what he did to bring laughter into millions of lives, including my own. And I absolutely do understand the risk he presented to other drivers. I'm thankful that nobody else was hurt. I'll never condone drunk driving. What he did was a terrible, and tragic mistake.
I guess the point I'm trying to make with this editorial is that, while he does deserve the majority of the blame, the full weight of blame can't rest solely upon his shoulders. Zach Hartwell made, what proved to be, just as tragic a mistake as Ryan Dunn. Also, as I said above, I refuse to let the 30+ years of laughter he brought to people be ignored over one, tragically fatal mistake.

@3D: Read above comment... ;)

@Tainted87: That joke wasn't funny when Roger Ebert typed it out either...

@Everyone: I apologize for the annoying italic type. I'm going to remedy that now...
Tainted87 - 6/20/2012, 11:21 PM
Honestly, I never watched Jackass, never wanted to, and had I not read this article, I would never have known who Ryan Dunn was to make that comment.

So regardless, I honestly can't say I care who he was to you - his death was the result of a very stupid mistake. In my line of work, I encounter quite a few men and women who have open cans of beer in their car and have fresh minty breath to try and disguise it. Or I'll come across a car full of potheads who are smoking so much I could get contact high - this is daily. I will not mourn these people - they know the risks and they take them anyway, endangering so many lives along the way. This man was no different.

Suppose he crashed into a family with kids? Would it still be a tragic mistake?
ThatOneDude - 6/21/2012, 1:33 AM
Gotta love Dunn... RIP
TheHierophant - 6/21/2012, 1:52 AM
@Tainted87:It absolutely would be a tragic mistake, only more so. I'm not attempting to defend his stupidity in the matter, just the fact that it was a mistake made by 2 men. The fact is that he didn't, luckily, bring physical harm to anyone else but his passenger and himself. If he had crashed into a family, it would make this matter far worse. But, as I said, luckily this wasn't the case.
I wrote this editorial because it was the anniversary of the death of someone who had a positive impact on my life. I wrote this fully understanding that most, if not everyone, on ComicBookMovie.com wouldn't understand how someone like Ryan Dunn could have such an impact on my life.
I wrote this because, as sad as it may sound, ComicBookMovie.com is a very large part of my life, as are the majority of the users of this site. My intent was to only share with everyone willing to read my feelings on something that really does mean something.
I can definitely understand where you're coming from. I worked at a Walmart as a TLE Tech/Supervisor. I ran into idiots a kin to the types you do, for 5 years. The only reason I defend Ryan Dunn's legacy is because I've seen too many call him a murderer, and it honestly bothers me.
That said, I really do appreciate you voicing your disapproval in a completely respectful way. Too many times have I commented on articles with my feelings, only to be met with "He's a murderer," "You're a loser," or, my personal favorite, "You f@ggot!"
iMVuze - 6/23/2012, 3:58 AM
What I don't get is how this has anything to do with comics or comicbook movies etc. I mean the website is comicbookmovie.com and not postwhateverthehellyouwant.com. But to each his own I guess.

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