8 Feb 2010

What is a hero?

Dictionary.com defines a hero as:

  1. a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.
  2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal: He was a local hero when he saved the drowning child.

Notice the title of this post… I didn’t ask who is a hero; I asked what is a hero…

I raised this question because of the trend, especially in media, to describe any Tom, Dick and Harrilal as a hero, when in reality there is no outstanding characteristic or deed to so name a person.

Case in point is where a senior cop describes a police constable as a hero. Closer examination reveal acts of cowardice actually.

Said police duncey, in the face of gunfire, legged it out of there… self preservation being a heady motive for survival. Granted, the gunfire was described as being ‘blazing’ which I interpret to mean rather on the heavy side. So, I agree that said duncey was showing perhaps some cunning (or wisdom?) by legging it out of there… but in reality the motive for running and showing his arse to the enemy is irrelevant when the end result is the same – he ‘dus’ it as we say in Trini parlance.

Therefore, I for one, cannot understand what in this scenario makes duncey a ‘hero’. Am I missing something here?

Had he stayed and fought it out, I would perhaps concede he showed heroism. He might have been dead, but he’d be a dead hero. All he is now is a live coward.

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