Overheard at CNN.com: An American hero
Freedom Rider James Zwerg was attacked by an Alabama mob in 1961.
May 16th, 2011
06:12 PM ET

Overheard at CNN.com: An American hero

Comment of the Day:

"Forget the sports figures, the movie stars, the politicians, all the marquee names - THIS is a hero. This man put his life, his family bonds - his entire soul - on the line for those who were deemed less worthy than himself. Mr. Zwerg, the simple words 'thank you' are not enough."– ingyandbert

Shocking photo created a hero, but not to his family

Freedom Rider James Zwerg was savagely beaten when he stepped off the bus first at an Alabama bus station in 1961. The photo of his battered face became an unforgettable image of the civil rights movement. Honored by others for his bravery, he remained emotionally wounded by his parents' rejection of him.

CNN.com readers sent messages of admiration and appreciation for his and other Freedom Riders' courage.

themikey said, "To Mr. Zwerg and the Freedom Riders: Thank you for this powerful story of strength, courage, love, and sacrifice! You shine like a beacon of light across a marked landscape. I feel your life leaving footprints across my heart and soul."

DrBGood said, "Goose bumps." Ladylou7 said, "Not a dry eye in the house. God bless him for his courage and faith."

Enoughnolie said, "Wow-what a story! This man is a walking testimony of people fighting for what is right even when the majority thinks it is wrong. He should be given a Presidential and/or national award!" JohnSharp said, "I just love stories of real heroes: Not some goofball playing a boy's game as an adult but men and women who through great sacrifice do what is morally right. To Mr. Zwerg, I just want to say 'Thank You.' You make me proud to be an American."

NothappywCNN said, "Now THIS is a well written story: finally, something worth reading. Good job, John Blake."

NothappywCNN added: "I think this is the first article on soundoff that has almost 100 percent of the readers (trolls included) agreeing."

mv74mvp said, "Talk about a wake-up call. As an African American I really hope our youth one day appreciate what sacrifices this man and countless others made for everyone. Like any good piece of writing this makes me seriously question, 'What have I done to make the world a better place?' "

PapaMaster told how his life was affected by the Freedom Riders. "My father (who was white) was a Greyhound bus driver in the south during this period. He hated the Freedom Riders because he believed that they were responsible for the violence, which he feared. Years later, after Greyhound began hiring African-Americans as drivers, Dad got to know several of them and his attitude changed. He learned to judge people on their character. Before he died, he understood the importance of what the Freedom Riders did. I salute these brave people because they helped my father and me see eye to eye."

IMF chief due in court on sexual assault charges

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been charged with sexually assaulting a hotel maid in New York City. After the alleged assault, he left the hotel and was arrested on a Paris-bound airplane awaiting takeoff.

CNN.com readers were split over whether they believed the man or the maid. Some thought the story questionable. JustTruth1 said "Not the actions of what anybody would expect from the head of the International Monetary Fund. Sounds like a complete set up when you look at the time line and the facts."

Farangthai said, "Right, a 62-year-old French presidential candidate running after a maid in New York, just before an election campaign he is supposed to win; sounds strange indeed. No, these people don't go after maids; they do not need to." Jalexander2 said, "I look forward to the investigation shedding more light on what happened. I am skeptical of the allegations. Was this a political hit by Sarkozy or others fearful of Strauss-Kahn as a possible contestor for the French presidency?"

vienrose said, "I'm usually the first angry woman on the bandwagon shouting for justice on stories like this, but something about this story stinks. You have to wonder if this guy was set up by some very intelligent people. If he's guilty, may the rutting boar go to the big house for a long, long time."

Others thought the story was plausible and were delighted that Strauss-Kahn’s status did not stop the wheels of U.S. justice from turning.

laddergoat said, "Apparently, raping the economies of developing countries ain't enough for the IMF." Guest said, "From a first-class seat on Air France and a $3,000 a night room in Manhattan to the city jail–justice is once again served!" JamesBonBon said, "The most powerful man in the world against the anonymous maid. Well done to NYPD for not letting him get away."

As to whether someone like Strauss-Kahn would "go after a maid," BRUGGE had this perspective. "These slimers go after undocumented hotel workers all over the world because they know they won't talk."

Farangthai remarked, "You're really strange in the US: you say nobody is guilty until proven guilty, but you jump into conclusions without knowing anything, based on your personal experience, your prejudices, whatever. And if sex is involved, all bets are off; it gets even weirder: Strange indeed for us Europeans."

OUCH! My cat keeps biting

Many cat owners wonder why their usually loving kitty will sometimes bite the hand that cuddles. Certified dog trainer Kristen Collins says that repetitive stroking can be unpleasant for a cat, like static electricity shock. She suggests looking for early warning signs of kitty displeasure.

Many CNN.com readers agreed with JoyScaping, who said, “This is the dumbest article. Why is someone who knows nothing about cats consulting a dog trainer to explain cat behavior?"

Then readers suggested cures of their own. Guest said, "Try interacting with cats in a friendly, playful way. When they bite, stick their own paw/foot/tail in their own mouth. They will soon get the idea that biting hurts and stop doing it. Cats are not stupid. I have trained about 30 cats with this method."

Techsupp0rt said, "Making the high-pitched 'mew!' hurt kitten sound will usually make an adult cat stop biting just long enough to look confused." standingwave said, "When I get a new cat and want to make sure it doesn't get into the habit of biting I wait till it takes a nip, then I make a loud 'OOOWWWW' sound. It freaks the cat out, and it never bites again." bwmurphy4486 said, "My cat does not bite me. She did when she was a kitten, but I would "hiss" at her like a mother cat and sometimes "bat" or "cuff" her with a curved palm."

MontyStegall said, "Put your hand over its face to stop it from biting you. Then lightly bite it on the paw or ear so it will know biting hurts. The puppy I had never bit me again after that." But thebig9, who formerly worked in a veterinary office, said, “You do realize that this is a story about cats? I can promise you that biting a cat’s ear after it bites you is an awesome way to end up with some very nice facial scarring."

And to Istrt, who said, "Grab them from the back of their necks (like mama cats do) and tell them off. Works wonders. Telling from personal experience." notation said, “It's also physically harmful for a cat. You can cause nerve damage by grabbing the back of a cat's neck if you aren't careful."

soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Barbara

    I think he is a hero what a nice thing to do what bravery, he stood up for humanity,equality and the rights of any person I applaude him, his parents raise him well he was a kind person who believed in justice. If they were unable to see that. Then they are blind to see that he was the outcome of their own upbringing. People like him make a differencein this nasty corrupted world. We must remember that only the Almighty will be the JuDgE of us all!!

    May 18, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Maverick Brit.Ian

    A True Hero Fighting for True Justice I'm sure there will be a great reward for him in Heaven.
    Strange that none of your Presidents have a story to tell like this man. Same the World over.

    Some one should promote THIS MAN FOR PRESIDENT.

    To Quote the Late Larry Norman "Do you wanna be President ? " , Ans "Not me !" Congratualtions Mr President"
    Never happens that way does it ?

    May 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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