2014-01-22

Heroism

Google News makes me aware of this story, coming out of New York.
Tyler woke up six of his relatives, and they all made it outside. The boy then ran back to the room where his 57-year-old grandfather, Lewis Beach, was sleeping. Beach used a wheelchair and crutches after having a leg amputated because of health problems, the fire chief said. 
Firefighters found Tyler's body a few feet from Beach's, Ebmeyer said. The body of the boy's 54-year-old uncle, Steven Smith, was found in another part of the trailer, which didn't appear to have a working smoke detector, he said.
We never really know in advance how we will approach being in the thick of things. We all solemnly declare that if someone we love were ever in danger, we would nobly come to the rescue. Few of us ever have to face the horror of putting our declarations to the test. Of those who do, a sadly small number of us actually do wind up being heroes.

But when a six-year-old boy proves he has the grit, shows he has what it takes to lay down his life to save his family, I can't help but be awed by the human condition and the inherent strength lurking below the surface of ordinary people, waiting for a chance to come out and do its good.

Philip Zimbardo argues that we should raise our children to be prepared to be heroes, so that if they are ever put to the test, they will rise to the occasion, even when the crowd is working against them. He and Tyler Doohan give me hope for humanity.

Doohan, as far as I'm concerned, died a man, not a boy.