Getting shot at does not make you a hero

Do you know why we have different words for “victims” and “heroes”?

It’s because they don’t mean the same.

I’m thinking about Boston. Now, let me be clear. My heart goes out to the victims, who have suffered because of this tragedy.

But when a victim becomes a hero, is when in the face of a threat or an attack you respond. A woman who is raped and points out her attacker was a victim and becomes a hero. People attacked by an enemy are victims until they decide to strike back, then they become heroes.

But what’s happening now? Twenty kids stand around while a girl gets raped. Kids are told to stand by when bullying is going on; go get someone else. They’re told in our town that if you’re punched, you don’t get to hit back until the third punch. They’re taught that owning a gun is the equivalent of smoking a cigarette, which is the equivalent of voting republican, which is the equivalent of wanting to kill the planet and drop bombs on little children.

Then we have Boston, a mostly disarmed city apparently, where a little bombing . . . you know what I mean . . . and then a manhunt for a handful of people sends the whole city into ‘time out’. If a handful of people can stop your normal day just by being on the run, then ‘Boston strong’ must be what real men call weakness.

And Boston strength is spreading. Cincinnati is telling runners in its marathon to leave the backpacks at home and come with minimal gear?


I’m can guess the rationale; they’re a security risk.

Well you know if we all walked around naked with our hands cuffed, and had cameras in our bedrooms, we would have a lot less security risks wouldn’t we? Of course, since the good, noble, wise government can’t be everywhere, and we’re all naked and handcuffed, the evil still happens and when it does we are . . . well, naked and handcuffed.

In the Marine Corps, you are told over and over that you perform in combat the way you train in peace. If so, the public must be being trained to stand by and wait for someone else to do something. Hide in a room and hope evil doesn’t find you. Don’t stop the bully, hope someone else does. Wait. That is what’s happening.

How about instead of telling people to not have packs so it will be easier to protect us poor defenseless sheep. How about we grab your backpacks, fill them with medical supplies, maybe a knife or a small handgun, and actually take responsibility for the world around us?

Instead of reinforcing the “let someone else handle it” mentality, how about we say, I’ll be like the passangers on the Pennsylvania flight who took their terrorists down before they could hit their target?

That’s the difference between a hero and a victim.

I’m not saying get in the cops’ way. If I see them conducting a manhunt, I’ll stay out of the way. But if I see a cop needs help, I’ll be there for him. And the cop can guarantee the bad guy isn’t coming into my house. My house is not a threat to the cop, but to the bad guy.

And I speak from experience. I’ve had a time or two when I faced a physical confrontation. Sure, I was a Marine at the time, but in none of those was I in uniform or even armed. What I had was an inner conviction that whatever needs to be done is something I am called to do. I am the hero of the moment, all I have to do is live it. It’s not that hard. More often than not, just the posture of resistance and a little quick thinking was all that was needed to make an aggressor back down. Aggression feeds off weakness, you challenge a bully odds are he’ll back down. If not today, then tomorrow, eventually he’ll learn the price is too high.

Often times, heroism is simply being a good parent instead of a popular parent. A faithful husband when its rough. An honest employee. All of these small things are heroic because they come of the same heart. But that same heart if it is still alive, cannot remain silent forever when there is evil calling for its response. You will be as you train. Maybe that’s why we seem to have few good parents anymore, and few real heroes.

Get off your ass and be the hero instead of looking for someone else to be it.

This entry was posted in Everyday Trenchs, faith and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.