Heros? Says who?

(Not sure where to post this, but I’ll start here…)

What makes a hero? According to the media, it’s all of the following:
[ul][li]Cleaning the heads on a destroyer and being killed by a terrorist;[/li][li]twiddling your thumbs at the U.S. Capitol answering the same dumb questions from tourists and getting shot dead by a fruitcake; and,[/li][li]in Baltimore, being a cop on duty, sitting in your car at an intersection with your partner, and getting plowed into by a drunk driver.[/ul]Why is it that the media insists on calling these people heros? I would classify them as victims. Certainly, these circumstances are all tragic. Certainly, these individuals have made sacrifices and accepted risks that most (many??) of the rest of us have not. Certainly, this is not to imply that some or perhaps all of these individuals may have actually been heros if given the opportunity.[/li]
But, to my mind, simply dying in the line of duty before your time doesn’t make you a hero. Heros courageously save kindergarteners from mad gunmen, pilot jets away from maternity wards, throw themselves on grenades to save their buddies, etc. Doesn’t calling these victims heros diminish those who actually are heros?

(Not to mention undermining the value of the English language–although there’s plenty of examples of that, and that’s a topic for a completely different thread…)

Yes, I think we all agree, but newspeople like to exagerate to make the news look bigger.

I have gotten so sick of the news on TV that I switch the sound off. One day I am going to record the damn thing and put it on the net with some comments.

First they start with a music more suited to a medieval epic which foretells grave and terrible things. Then they start reading the news with profound intonations and somber faces even though they are telling you the most trivial stuff. Everything is made to sound so artificial and stilted. I’m sick of it.

where’s the GQ?

Thought of putting this in the Pit, but I didn’t feel outraged enough about it. Don’t spend much time in MPSIMS, and it seems too heavy for that.

I guess the question is, why must we warp the language and make these people into something they’re not?

Another overused word is “historical”. Yes, they devalue the words by abusing them.

It’s not a perfect match for any of our fora, but Great Debates looks like it’s the closest. I’ll toss it over there for you.

Catch, Gaudere and DavidB!

I’d like to add that the cop who got shot in the Capitol building (errr, I think there were two) fired back and shot the gunman, thereby protecting all the other tourists / congressmen that were there. So they were heroes, I think. I can understand your feelings about the other ones, though.

I would say a soldier is not a hero for dying for his country, he is a hero for making the enemy soldier die for his country.

I think anyone who takes on a job with a “built-in” risk (a cop on the beat, a soldier, sailor, etc.) is a hero.

It is always a possibility that they will be hurt or killed on the job. It comes with the territory. No, a cop or soldier who gets plowed down by a drunk driver, or shot by a nut are not “heroes” on the same level as the person who rescues the schoolbus full of children. But, I think they are “heroes” anyway. Maybe that’s just me.

We had a discussion on this board last winter about this same sort of thing. Some football player got killed in a car accident (he was speeding on a very icy freeway, not wearing a seatbelt.) He was called a “hero” by the adoring football fans in his town. Now, maybe he was sort of a “hero” for some of the nice things he did in his life, but he died in a totally wasteful manner. I found the label “hero” a bit much in his case.

I have to agre with yosemite here. True, some of these “everyday heroes” are more heroic than others, but unless they do something patently Un-heroic, they are also all heroes to me.

Cab drivers have very risky jobs.

prostitutes have jobs with built-in risks. are they heroes?? i’d think most are tragic. it is not the assumtion of risk that makes a hero. i think it is using courage to overcome, or attemp to overcome, immenent danger on behalf of someone else.

Yes, I guess in a way, cabbies are heroes too! (I’d be too scared to be one!)

Cops and military people take jobs that are basically about protecting US, either here or abroad, and they sometimes die while doing their duty. The whole point of their job is “To Protect and to Serve”, or “keep the peace”, or what have you. That makes them an “everyday hero” to in my opinion. Sure, some cops sit behind a desk, some soldiers are stuck in the kitchen, and never see any action, but they still are being part of “serving” us.

Risk is always part of the job and is a gradual thing. Miners, press reporters, convinience store clerks, all face a certain degree of risk to their lives. If just by taking th job they are heroes I think the word has already been devalued and we need a bigger word for what hero used to mean. Maybe “superhero”?

Hell, my job has some risk. I don’t consider myself a hero.

The whole purpose and function of a police or military person taking such a job is to protect us, the collective “us”. Such a person chooses such a job, a job that is designed to “protect and to serve”, knowing that it involves a risk (sometimes a great risk.) They risk themselves to protect US. I think for that they earn the title of “hero”, at least a little bit. Especially if they DIE while doing the job of “protecting us”. (Even if death happens during an unglamorous part of the job, like sitting in a car.)

I think the distinction is taking the risk to protect “us”.

I think we are oversimplifying here. A local police spokeswoman died of cancer and they’re also making big eulogies. I cannot see how wearing a uniform amkes it any different. A miner risks his life so I can be warm and have electricity to power my computer. A news reporter risks his life so I can see that photo of the intifada or whatever. I guess I need a certain degree of protection but I also need other things and people put as much if not more risk into giving me the other things I need.

A cop who spends the day giving traffic tickets is a hero? I don’t think so.

To me a hero is someone who voluntarily sacrifices to an extreme degree his own well-being for the well being of others.

Doesn’t this belong to IMHO?

Plus, being a cop is one of the less risky proffesions. Construction work is more dangerous. Someone is choosing a career that has a higer risk than some careers, but is less risky than others. Frankly, a cop being shot by a criminal does not a hero make. If he was shot because he was stupid, if he was shot because he happened to be in the wrong place. Now, if the cop took a bullet to save someone elses life, or while specificly protecting someone,died, then maybe you could apply hero.

Were the journalists killed by the Americans bombing the media in Yugoslavia heros? What about the Chinese embassy workers.

Thank you General Patton.


So do people who work at 7-11 and in some places pizza delivery men. Hell, at least cops and soldiers get guns. All the clerk and delivery guy get is a sign saying “Does not have more than 20$ on person or in register.”.

When I joined the ARMY I had no clue what it was about. Yes I was doing something dangerous but i think the fact that i did so without knowing it kind of lessens my “hero” status.

Some occupations give you more opportunity to be a real hero, along with more chance to become a victim but the job itself does not make you a “hero” unless you perform the heroic part of the job.

A Fireman is a “hero” the first time he does the stereotypical part of his job. So is a cop, and to some people so is a soldier (depends on who you ask and what the task is. Hell a lot of my job was cleaning wires and teaching people how to jam radios. I did my job, but that didn’t make me a hero. Maybe if I was a medic or something along those lines.) to some extent.

Frankly making heroes out of soldiers is risky business. A soldiers job is twofold these days. One is to defend our nation, the other is to defend our nations interests. A cop who saves a life is pretty much universally heroic but is a soldier? He is pretty heroic if he defends our shores but it dosent come up often. Mostly these days soldiers go kill people who don’t directly threaten our safety (just in case this pisses you off, bear in mind I did the job with pride for a number of years. This is just realism here.). I’m pretty sure most soldiers are less than heroic to those on the recieving end of the ass whupping.

I think it all boils down to a hero as being someone who defends something rather than someone who attacks something. Someone who saves lives before taking them is heroic.

Of course thats just my take on it and I am considrered to be a moron by every woman I have ever dated. :slight_smile:

I dont consider myself a hero, and I’ve taken it upon myself to be a firefighter and a paramedic. Yes, my job can be quite dangerous, but it is what I am trained for, and it is what I have chosen to do. What is heroic about doing my job?

Now, if some Joe off the street were to run into a burning building to save someone, that would be a heroic act. Joe isin’t trained on how to do that safely

On a slightly different idea, if Joe lives, hes a hero. If Joe dies, some would say that he was a complete idiot for doing what he did. Why does success have an effect on being called a hero or not?

You don’t get a vote. If you do your job you are a hero when you put yourself at risk (trained to do so or not) because you elected to do this. Anyone who is able to become a firefighter medic is certainly capable of earning his or her pocket change in any number of other professions. The fact that you choose to do this shows you have the mindset that makes capable or heroism, after that it only takes circumstance to ratify the intent. If you thought you were a hero then you would just be obnoxious. The fact that you are modest just shows you have good charachter traits. Hell, aren’t all the really cool heroes modest about it?
Some schmuck who jumps into a burning building when there are trained persons there to deal with ther situation is not automatically a hero weather he/she lives or dies. But someone who sees a burning house and hears screams and just can’t stand idly by when no one is there to help is a hero no matter what even if he fails. Untrained people are capable of heroic acts (I’m thinking of that student who tackled Kip Kinkel in his school caffeteria), they are just less likely to succeed.

I think there are legitimate sports heroes, but you have to make sure you call them “Sports Heroes”. I would not put Joe Dimaggio on the same level as Roger Young (Heinlein fans probably won’t have to look that one up. The rest of you do yourself a favor as Mr.Young is a good example of heroism `en morte.) but Joltin’ Joe is certainly a hero to any baseball fan for his accomplishments in the sport.

My dad is my hero for getting his life togeather and being clean for 20 years, and my mom is my hero for being a single mom and learnin’ me some manners and putting up with my ass for all those years. Neither of them are heroes for * what they are* but rather for what they did.