Cory Booker Dishes on Fire Rescue, ‘Real Heroes’ in Reddit AMA

Cory Booker, the dashing young superhero mayor of Newark, is no stranger to social media.

In addition to being perhaps the most proficient young lawmaker in the realm of Twitter, Booker has translated his own experience using social media to great effect — he’s one of several notables starting up a collaborative social media news effort called #waywire.

Cory Booker has used social media in the past to directly dispatch help to stranded Newark residents, and he often fields queries over Twitter from constituents. But what really shoved Booker onto the national stage was his daring rescue of a Newark resident when he happened upon a raging inferno and he rushed into a situation that was, by all accounts, very dangerous.

Yesterday, Booker submitted to a sometimes-risky social media initiative — doing a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) in which users of the site are invited to ask posters literally anything. The move has in the past backfired on some famous AMA participants — Woody Harrelson managed to bungle his almost immediately, and the then-bulletproof, pre-scandal Anthony Weiner lost popularity points for dismissing a marijuana question on the site that is in part known for the active “trees” subreddit.

Among questions posed to Cory Booker during his Sunday AMA were, of course, one or two about his superhero antics. One redditor asked Booker what he was thinking when he raced into a life-threatening situation, and he replied:

“Please Lord get me and my neighbor out of here alive. Other brilliant things that probably flashed through my big bald head: ‘Fire – hot’; ‘can’t believe I’m so out of shape climbing a flight of stairs’; And ‘I wish I was faster.'”

But Booker is nothing if not modest, and while many lawmakers wouldn’t cross the street to help a constituent in need, the Mayor of Newark says that his hero status is disproportionate considering the fact that many men and women risk their lives for their countrymen every day.

Booker deflected:

“I grew up as a kid addicted to comics… as far as my status …it is flattering but overblown. Right now there are guys taking bullets for our country – heroes. There are teachers in the toughest environments with the most challenging kids, getting the lowest pay, making the biggest difference – heroes. There are guys fighting wild fires for a government salary risking their lives to save the homes of their neighbors – heroes. And to live in Newark, and see folks in my community who don’t run into burning buildings but as volunteers, every day, serve, serve, serve, help our kids, support their neighbors, challenge crime before the police can even arrive, and so much more. The are the real heroes.”

Why AMAs matter: Check out this insanely substantive question to @CoryBooker about the drug war, the answer he gave.…

— Yahel Carmon (@yahelc) July 16, 2012

He continues:

“Please know, true heroism can not be judged in a single act, it is best seen by those persistent, stubborn, determined souls who day after day, away from cameras, press, or twitter, live their lives extending a remarkable level of rebellious love, relentless service, and defiant kindness. This is what I see in Newark. Far better than Batman, Spiderman or Superman, as an adult, these are the folks I want to grow up and be like.”

Cory Booker’s entire Reddit AMA can be read by clicking this link.