"Heroic" choices

Ok, most people would probably, say, run in front of a bus to save their child or their spouse… so that isn’t what we’re talking about here.

Would you run in front of a bus to save a stranger (child or adult)? Homeless person? Dog?

Would you do it if you KNEW you would be permanently disabled? (say, legs chopped off)

Would you do it if you KNEW you would die?

Now here is another question: SHOULD you do it if you KNOW you’ll die? Now I realize that in the real world, you don’t KNOW these things, but we’re talking hypothetical, hindsight, etc. Let’s say you die to save the life of a child. Was it the right thing to do? What about if you die to save an elderly person? Keep in mind that your own family will mourn you. Now what about if you are a parent. Say my own situation… you have a four year old at home. Would you be right in saving someone’s life if it meant giving up your own and leaving your child without you? You would be a hero to the other person’s family, what about to your own?



O p a l C a t
www.opalcat.com

Cemetery’s are full of heroes, is it really worth it? Well, as I see it, in your situation OpalCat, it would not make sense to give your own life and leave young child of your own behind. Any life is precious, especially that of a child.

On a personal note, I would give my life for the life of a child. As to reasons why, it woould take too long for me to tell the tale.


Unforgiven

(btw, the first part of the post was not a buildup to the last part, it was a series of questions, and I’m curious what people’s answers are to all of them. Kind of a “how far would you go” kind of thing).



O p a l C a t
www.opalcat.com

Since there’s no mention of dying or permanent injury here, yup.

I’d like to be able to say yes, but…huh-uh.

Not bloody likely.

I don’t think so. Call me selfish, but my own loved ones are far more important to me than strangers, and I’d rather not have my loved ones mourning me just so a stranger and his family can call me a hero.

Now, if I was supposed to be like Bruce Willis in Armageddon or something and die to save the world…sure thing.

“ChrisCTP-…the sweetheart of the SDMB…” --Diane
Chris’ Homepage: Domestic Bliss

Chris: My feelings are about in step with yours on all counts :slight_smile:



O p a l C a t
www.opalcat.com

My thoughts are yes,I would,no matter what happened to me;I have to live with myself. My second thought is;if I died,then my son would suffer forever.It’s a quandry,all right,but if it Really happened,instinct would take over. Besides,you’d probably get sued for not helping.

I’ve got to go with Chris on this one too. Those are tough calls to make, but my own family has to come first. I’d eat broken glass to save their lives if I had to.

Like Chris, though, if it was a Bruce Willis/Armageddon situation, yeah, I’d probably do that too, because I’d know that my own family would be okay in the end.

No wife, no kids. I’d like to think that yes I would do anything to save another. Hopefully I’ll never know for sure.

“It’s better to be dead and cool than alive and uncool”–Harley Davidson (Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man)

I don’t think people who do that sort of thing give it a heck of a lot of thought at the time. Situations that call for heroic acts usually don’t give you much opportunity for reflection. I used to work for a guy who got a Bronze Star in Viet Nam for running a hundred yards across an open field under intense mortar fire to drag two young troops out of a bad spot.

He just laughed it off and said if he’d had to think about it he would have run the other way. I suspect there was a little more to it than that. :slight_smile:


JB
Lex Non Favet Delictorum Votis

Problem is, you never “know” that you’ll die or the worst will happen. That’s (IMO) what’s make actions heroic. You can know the *possiblity" of outcomes, but no one can know the actuality.

I think heroes are the ones who know the possibilities, but still decide on the action. It isn’t just “came on an accident” situations: no time to carefully weigh odds. History (i.e. real life) is full of examples of people who knowingly put themselves in the way of danger, w/ too much time to think and worry, and still w/ “4 a.m. courage” did heroic things.

IMO, there’s no clean answer for this and it’s likely a cumulative result of small, day to day choices and beliefs. That’s why it’s “heroic”. In am emergency is no time to start weighing values and odds and beliefs. I believe heroes are people who, as an outcome of their everyday lives, somehow made the choice that to NOT act would be the ultimate defeat.

Still waiting my test,
Veb

Well, (and I know this is annoying to proposers of hypothetical questions) since no one ever does know for sure that they’ll be killed, I don’t really see the point of putting the question that way. People may have a pretty good idea of the chance they’re taking, but you never know.I think of an Australian case I read of years ago where a fireman stayed under a burning fuel truck with a little girl. He was certain they’d both be killed, but he’d promised not to leave her – and both of them survived.

I think about it, and try to picture myself being useful in a dangerous situation. I hope I’d step forward if any fellow human needed me – and I hope I’m never tested.

Catrandom

TVeblen, you are kinda missing the point. I’m talking about, for example, hindsight. If you did it, say, and were looking back, and could change the past to not do it, etc. That kind of thing. Obviously you can’t know ahead of time, but that isn’t relevant to the question at hand, which is if you DID know… etc.



O p a l C a t
www.opalcat.com

Coldfire to the rescue… or not.
Would you run in front of a bus to save a stranger (child or adult)?

Yeah, if I would estimate my chances of making it out unharmed as realistic, sure, in a heartbeat.
Homeless person?

Absolutely, no difference with the question above.
Dog?

Most likely not. Not taking any chances for anything that’s below me on the evolutionary ladder :slight_smile: Might be different if it were MY dog, though.
Would you do it if you KNEW you would be permanently disabled? (say, legs chopped off)

Well, possibly for a family member or otherwise loved one. For the rest of the world ? Sorry, you loose.
Would you do it if you KNEW you would die?

Not very likely. Not even for loved ones. I mean, that would be putting the value of my life below theirs. It’s valued the same, if all is well.
Now here is another question: SHOULD you do it if you KNOW you’ll die?

No. The human instinct is geared to survival, and ethics can’t touch that area of the brain - thank god :wink:
Let’s say you die to save the life of a child. Was it the right thing to do? What about if you die to save an elderly person?

No difference, although it would be kinda sad if the old geezer I saved from the bus died a week later of old age or something.
Say my own situation… you have a four year old at home. Would you be right in saving someone’s life if it meant giving up your own and leaving your child without you? You would be a hero to the other person’s family, what about to your own?

I guess your own family is paramount, no matter how heroic it would have been. So yes, having kids that depend on you makes it harder to be a hero and live (or not live…) with the consequences.
That’s it for now. Sorry about all the questions re-quoted, but I’ve just saved you guys the trouble of scrolling all the way back up again :wink:

Coldfire


“You know how complex women are”

  • Neil Peart, Rush (1993)

I’ll step in with my first Monday morning post to say that I pretty much have to agree with Chris on her answers. Going into a situation where the outcome is equivalent to suicide is a no-brainer, at least as far as rescuing strangers goes. You’d be leaving friends/family for someone who should, theoretically, mean less to you than they do. And at the risk of spontaneously combusting, I’ll quote one of my friends-“Suicide is the ultimate ‘Fuck you’ card to your friends and family.”


And the problem with small furry animals
in corners is that, just occasionally,
one of them’s a mongoose.
Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad

OpalCat:
whoops! right you are…with my customary half brained attention, I misread your question. Apologies! I didn’t mean to hijack the topic or even derail it.

Your question was clear; I misread it. Brain fart!

Veb

Thanks Coldfire! That is exactly the kind of answer I was hoping for… with reasons for stuff…



O p a l C a t
www.opalcat.com

I think there’s a difference between reacting to a situation and deciding how to act in a situation. I recall reacting to various situations I found myself in, or my comrades doing so, and afterwards, after the adrenalin rush was over, the shakes, nausea, loss of control of ones body functions, and folks wondering “What the HELL was I thinking when I did that?”.

Then there’s the sleeplessness and nightmares too.

On the lighter side: I just dug up my copy of UP FRONT. There’s a drawing of Willie and Joe behind some remains of a house. Willie’s on his belly crawling and there are bullets hitting what’s left of the wall. Willie says to Joe “I made it. I owe ya another fifty bucks.”


Ranger Jeff
*The Idol of American Youth *
Riders In The Sky

Obviously, Jeff, and we’re talking about one and not the other in this thread.



O p a l C a t
www.opalcat.com

Along the same lines as a .sig I’ve seen on here, when I die the rest of the universe goes with me, so as long as I have time to think about it, I’m never going to make a choice where I’ll inevitably die unless I die either way. I have no problem losing extremities in the course of saving a life though (hell, we’re getting close to being able to just grow em back).
I’m instinctually stupid though, and have no fear about jumping into bad situations to help someone out… at least until after I’ve done it.



The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.