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View Full Version : What constitutes a "hero"?



mossrose
01-26-2015, 06:48 PM
Don't know where else to put this.

I am interested in what the members of Tweb consider the makeup of a hero. Don't want debate.

Thanks.

Christianbookworm
01-26-2015, 07:13 PM
Someone that does the right thing no matter what. Even if it hurts or kills them. Even if everyone else thinks they are uncool for doing the right thing instead of the safe or selfish choice.

Cerealman
01-26-2015, 07:22 PM
Don't know where else to put this.

I am interested in what the members of Tweb consider the makeup of a hero. Don't want debate.

Thanks.
Me.

mossrose
01-26-2015, 07:31 PM
I am not interested in spam in this thread.

Cerealman
01-26-2015, 07:38 PM
To me if a hero is human then I don't expect him to be perfect.
I expect him to make mistakes whether on accident or on purpose.
I guess I'm describing a morally ambiguous hero honestly.

Cow Poke
01-26-2015, 07:58 PM
I am not interested in spam in this thread.

I'm wondering if you're getting at the fact that we bandy about the word "hero" all to easily. Calling people "heroes" for doing things that any reasonable person would have done.

Lemme take a crack at this, and maybe we can come to some kind of consensus or understanding.

A hero is somebody who does something unselfish, at (great?) peril to themselves, to save or protect the life or property of somebody else, overcoming their own fears and concerns.

mossrose
01-26-2015, 08:11 PM
I'm wondering if you're getting at the fact that we bandy about the word "hero" all to easily. Calling people "heroes" for doing things that any reasonable person would have done.

That's exactly what I am getting at.


Lemme take a crack at this, and maybe we can come to some kind of consensus or understanding.

A hero is somebody who does something unselfish, at (great?) peril to themselves, to save or protect the life or property of somebody else, overcoming their own fears and concerns.

Okay. I actually don't have a problem with this, or with what Cbw said, or Cerealman.

I am asking because, like you, CP, I think the term is overly used, so that even sports figures are "heroes", Hollywood has it's own "heroes", etc.

And wondering why we have come to this state.

KingsGambit
01-26-2015, 08:18 PM
I agree with CBW's definition. I personally prefer to say that individual actions are heroic than to say that somebody is a hero.

Carrikature
01-26-2015, 09:16 PM
And wondering why we have come to this state.

Let's call it meaning transference. A hero is someone people generally look up to because they're awesome for the reasons CP mentioned. Someone may decide that some other guy or gal is also awesome, though perhaps for somewhat different reasons. No matter, it still counts as someone to look up to because they're awesome, which is close enough for most people. Then we get to looking up to people that we think are awesome for whatever reason and who cares if anyone else thinks those people are also awesome. It's not so close to the original conception, but it's not so far from the second conception which is still close enough for most people. In two short steps we've moved from hero as someone who's awesome because they did certain things to hero as someone we look up to. From there we move pretty easily into a hero as someone who has done something we think it'd be neat to do too. Both of these last two cases are ridiculously broad and can encompass pretty much anyone we want. The original meaning hasn't been lost so much as simply watered down.

Cow Poke
01-27-2015, 04:16 AM
Let's call it meaning transference. A hero is someone people generally look up to because they're awesome for the reasons CP mentioned. Someone may decide that some other guy or gal is also awesome, though perhaps for somewhat different reasons. No matter, it still counts as someone to look up to because they're awesome, which is close enough for most people. Then we get to looking up to people that we think are awesome for whatever reason and who cares if anyone else thinks those people are also awesome. It's not so close to the original conception, but it's not so far from the second conception which is still close enough for most people. In two short steps we've moved from hero as someone who's awesome because they did certain things to hero as someone we look up to. From there we move pretty easily into a hero as someone who has done something we think it'd be neat to do too. Both of these last two cases are ridiculously broad and can encompass pretty much anyone we want. The original meaning hasn't been lost so much as simply watered down.

Kinda makes me think of the valor thieves -- people who wear (or claim) war decorations they were not legitimately awarded.

rogue06
01-27-2015, 04:55 AM
I'm wondering if you're getting at the fact that we bandy about the word "hero" all to easily. Calling people "heroes" for doing things that any reasonable person would have done.
Absolutely. Over the last several decades we have turned entertainers (whether in sports, music or acting) into heroes. That says much about our society and it isn't good.

I should add that this doesn't mean that an entertainer cannot do something heroic but rather merely starring in a couple good films or TV series or having a great year playing a game does not count.

Bill the Cat
01-27-2015, 06:05 AM
I liked the premise of Disney's Hercules that a hero wasn't a hero because he slayed the hydra or drove off the minotaur, but because he sacrificed himself for others for no other reason than it was the right thing to do. That's why I only have one hero. Guess who that is? :smile:

Christianbookworm
01-27-2015, 06:08 AM
Jesus? Maybe that's why English teachers/ annoying literature people like to claim that fictional good guy protagonists are Christ Figures? Because Jesus is the only one who was always heroic and never did anything wrong.

37818
01-27-2015, 06:14 AM
The ultimate hero: God's Christ. Our Savior Jesus of Nazareth.

Christianbookworm
01-27-2015, 06:17 AM
Of course! That's why He's the one fictional characters keep getting compared to! That gets annoying though. Because said fictional characters aren't divine!

Zymologist
01-27-2015, 07:11 AM
Good question. I would think self-sacrifice might have a lot to do with it.

Christianbookworm
01-27-2015, 07:14 AM
Good question. I would think self-sacrifice might have a lot to do with it.

"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13 Well, Jesus sure did that!

Cow Poke
01-27-2015, 07:16 AM
"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13 Well, Jesus sure did that!

Actually, Jesus "one uppped" what He said --- he also died for His enemies.

Christianbookworm
01-27-2015, 07:23 AM
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans.

mossrose
01-27-2015, 07:25 AM
Ok, so we all seem to be on the same page here.

Now, to add a bit to the question in the op.

Would you consider every police officer, fireman, military member a hero?

Cow Poke
01-27-2015, 07:33 AM
Ok, so we all seem to be on the same page here.

Now, to add a bit to the question in the op.

Would you consider every police officer, fireman, military member a hero?

Not every member, no. If he/she goes above and beyond what is expected -- and, since that's pretty hard, since he's PAID to risk his life to "protect and to serve", the bar is much higher.

I remember a fellow officer (in a neighboring department) getting shot out in the open by a sniper, and as he lay bleeding, another officer ran out there to drag his body back behind the concrete base of a statue, getting shot at as he ran. He, in my book, is a hero.

That's why citations for valor or bravery use the phrase "above and beyond the call of duty" or such.

mossrose
01-27-2015, 08:23 AM
Not every member, no. If he/she goes above and beyond what is expected -- and, since that's pretty hard, since he's PAID to risk his life to "protect and to serve", the bar is much higher.

I remember a fellow officer (in a neighboring department) getting shot out in the open by a sniper, and as he lay bleeding, another officer ran out there to drag his body back behind the concrete base of a statue, getting shot at as he ran. He, in my book, is a hero.

That's why citations for valor or bravery use the phrase "above and beyond the call of duty" or such.

Agreed.

What about the officer who was shot? Would you consider him a hero?

Cow Poke
01-27-2015, 08:24 AM
Agreed.

What about the officer who was shot? Would you consider him a hero?

Which officer?

mossrose
01-27-2015, 08:26 AM
Which officer?

The one the other one risked his life to save.

Cow Poke
01-27-2015, 09:13 AM
The one the other one risked his life to save.

Ah, gotcha.

The first officer was just doing his job, and quite honestly, not quite so well. The radio dispatch advised of a sniper - he shouldn't have been out in the open in the first place. It could be argued he put the other guy's life in jeopardy by getting shot like that, and requiring a rescue.

Carrikature
01-27-2015, 09:20 AM
Jesus? Maybe that's why English teachers/ annoying literature people like to claim that fictional good guy protagonists are Christ Figures? Because Jesus is the only one who was always heroic and never did anything wrong.

Going to guess that some combination of a) the protagonists in question actually do function as 'Christ Figures', b) they tend to only teach those stories that use the 'Christ Figure' concept, c) they don't know what 'Christ Figure' actually means, and d) they don't know/understand other forms that protagonists can take.

I've read a lot of fiction. Very few protagonists that I've encountered would count as a Christ Figure.



Ok, so we all seem to be on the same page here.

Now, to add a bit to the question in the op.

Would you consider every police officer, fireman, military member a hero?

Definitely not. Most firemen probably qualify. A significant portion of police and military definitely don't. In fact, I'd argue that public perception of these roles as heroes goes a long way to ruining its usage.

Cow Poke
01-27-2015, 09:23 AM
Definitely not. Most firemen probably qualify.

I'm curious why you would think this.

Cow Poke
01-27-2015, 09:26 AM
I am interested in what the members of Tweb consider the makeup of a hero.

Definitely not THIS. (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?5322-Bowe-Bergdahl-to-be-charged-with-desertion&p=150196&viewfull=1#post150196)

Cow Poke
01-27-2015, 09:42 AM
I think, in the case of fire fighters, police officers and the military, they each have their own standards for what constitutes heroism. They are generally well thought out and not based on emotion.

It might be a good idea to defer to each of those organizations as to the standards they set. :shrug:

For example, not EVERY police officer gets a citation for service "above and beyond".

But, then again, we live in a "everybody gets a trophy" society.

Sparko
01-27-2015, 09:46 AM
You are unique. Just like everybody else.

mossrose
01-27-2015, 09:55 AM
Here's why I am asking this question.

Maybe 10 days ago, or so, 2 Mounties made a routine traffic stop for a vehicle with a light out or something. The driver shot both officers, one in the head, and then later in the day killed himself.

The one officer was treated and sent home, the other was in a coma for several days and his family decided to take him off life support. He died shortly thereafter.

His funeral was yesterday, and I watched a bit of it, as it was televised. The whole time he was in hospital, the word "hero" was bandied about, and the banner across the bottom of the screen during the funeral was "honouring a hero".

Now, I am saddened by his death, but in my eyes, he did nothing heroic. The most heroic thing that happened was that his wife donated his organs and tissues to 35 people, but that was not him, it was his wife's decision.

I am frustrated by this naming of "hero" to this man. I am thankful for the choice he made to "protect and serve", as I appreciate all police officers. But this, to me, is a sign that something is wrong in our culture.

The other officer who was shot, who took the same risks as Constable Wynn did every single day, has barely been mentioned in the news at all, and certainly he is not being referred to as a "hero" for the risk he took right by Wynn's side.

Am I in error to feel this way?

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/thousands-mourn-fallen-rcmp-constable-david-wynn/article22646418/

Oh. A year or so ago one of the city police dogs was killed in some sort of police action. The dog is also hailed as a "hero", and there have been calls for the person who killed the dog to get a life sentence.

I just don't get it. But I guess the dog is a different question for another thread.

Cow Poke
01-27-2015, 10:00 AM
Here's why I am asking this question.

Maybe 10 days ago, or so, 2 Mounties made a routine traffic stop for a vehicle with a light out or something. The driver shot both officers, one in the head, and then later in the day killed himself.

The one officer was treated and sent home, the other was in a coma for several days and his family decided to take him off life support. He died shortly thereafter.

His funeral was yesterday, and I watched a bit of it, as it was televised. The whole time he was in hospital, the word "hero" was bandied about, and the banner across the bottom of the screen during the funeral was "honouring a hero".

Now, I am saddened by his death, but in my eyes, he did nothing heroic. The most heroic thing that happened was that his wife donated his organs and tissues to 35 people, but that was not him, it was his wife's decision.

I am frustrated by this naming of "hero" to this man. I am thankful for the choice he made to "protect and serve", as I appreciate all police officers. But this, to me, is a sign that something is wrong in our culture.

The other officer who was shot, who took the same risks as Constable Wynn did every single day, has barely been mentioned in the news at all, and certainly he is not being referred to as a "hero" for the risk he took right by Wynn's side.

Am I in error to feel this way?

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/thousands-mourn-fallen-rcmp-constable-david-wynn/article22646418/

Oh. A year or so ago one of the city police dogs was killed in some sort of police action. The dog is also hailed as a "hero", and there have been calls for the person who killed the dog to get a life sentence.

I just don't get it. But I guess the dog is a different question for another thread.

I think I tipped my hand in my previous post -- a lot of this is based on emotion, and maybe even guilt. Without media pressure, this officer probably would not receive any more commendation than "shot in the line of duty" which is, understandably, quite sad.

It brings to mind, however, the officers who were gunned down in their radio car in NYC -- what heroic act did they perform?

The problem here is that once a public servant is declared a "hero" by the media, anybody who questions that can be seen as unpatriotic, or an ingrate, or whatever. :shrug:

mossrose
01-27-2015, 10:02 AM
I think I tipped my hand in my previous post -- a lot of this is based on emotion, and maybe even guilt. Without media pressure, this officer probably would not receive any more commendation than "shot in the line of duty" which is, understandably, quite sad.

It brings to mind, however, the officers who were gunned down in their radio car in NYC -- what heroic act did they perform?

The problem here is that once a public servant is declared a "hero" by the media, anybody who questions that can be seen as unpatriotic, or an ingrate, or whatever. :shrug:

Yup.

Christianbookworm
01-27-2015, 10:04 AM
Getting shot while doing your job just makes you a victim. Not a hero. Unless you were heroically saving someone else from getting killed.

mossrose
01-27-2015, 10:06 AM
Getting shot while doind your job just makes you a victim. Not a hero. Unless you were heroically saving someone else from getting killed.

Which neither Mountie was doing.

Carrikature
01-27-2015, 10:14 AM
I'm curious why you would think this.

A few reasons, I suppose. I'm from areas where most of the firemen are volunteer. There are still the inevitable politics, but at least there's a common commitment to help protect/aid their community. From where I sit, the roles that firemen play in the community also point to a higher likelihood of commitment to help protect/aid. These are people that are effectively active defenders of the public. I did say 'most', though, because I've no way of knowing that it extends to all of them. Still, I expect that the types of people firefighting attracts are more likely to be hero caliber. I'm willing to be corrected on that.

Ostensibly police and military have some commitment to protect/aid, but what I see far more often of those two (from those I've known/encountered, not just tv) is quite the opposite. Sure, there's a level of protection involved with fighting crime, but I don't see that as the driving force behind most police. For all that they're supposed to 'protect and serve', the cops I've known by and large pose their own threats, be it through reckless driving or blatant violations of the laws they're sworn to uphold. Military is its own can of worms, with people like my cousin effectively being forced into it because the alternative is jail (or worse), or people who don't have the skills to succeed elsewhere. The actual roles that are available in the military don't necessarily include a sacrificial aspect, either. The slew of mechanics and administrative personnel aren't in that position, and many of them are only serving because it's an 'easy' way to get college paid for, not to mention free housing, clothing, and discounts practically anywhere you go.

Carrikature
01-27-2015, 10:14 AM
The problem here is that once a public servant is declared a "hero" by the media, anybody who questions that can be seen as unpatriotic, or an ingrate, or whatever. :shrug:

Which is pretty much where I come in, since I've no problem getting labeled as such. :shrug:

Sparko
01-27-2015, 10:18 AM
I think people use "hero" when referring to police, soldiers, and firefighters to mean someone who has dedicated themselves to putting their own lives at risk every day in order to protect the public. For some pretty lousy pay. It may be their "job" but you won't see me risking my life day after day to help others for not much more than I could make flipping hamburgers. So while they might die not doing something particularly heroic like a traffic stop, they are putting themselves at risk every day just because of their chosen profession.

Cow Poke
01-27-2015, 10:22 AM
A few reasons, I suppose. I'm from areas where most of the firemen are volunteer. There are still the inevitable politics, but at least there's a common commitment to help protect/aid their community. From where I sit, the roles that firemen play in the community also point to a higher likelihood of commitment to help protect/aid. These are people that are effectively active defenders of the public. I did say 'most', though, because I've no way of knowing that it extends to all of them. Still, I expect that the types of people firefighting attracts are more likely to be hero caliber. I'm willing to be corrected on that.

I understand your reasoning - thanks. Lemme give this a mull.


Ostensibly police and military have some commitment to protect/aid, but what I see far more often of those two (from those I've known/encountered, not just tv) is quite the opposite. Sure, there's a level of protection involved with fighting crime, but I don't see that as the driving force behind most police. For all that they're supposed to 'protect and serve', the cops I've known by and large pose their own threats, be it through reckless driving or blatant violations of the laws they're sworn to uphold. Military is its own can of worms, with people like my cousin effectively being forced into it because the alternative is jail (or worse), or people who don't have the skills to succeed elsewhere. The actual roles that are available in the military don't necessarily include a sacrificial aspect, either. The slew of mechanics and administrative personnel aren't in that position, and many of them are only serving because it's an 'easy' way to get college paid for, not to mention free housing, clothing, and discounts practically anywhere you go.

OK, I think I understand. The fire fighter is less in a position to abuse his role, so by the nature of the job, it's less likely to draw candidates who would do so.

Unfortunately, I've known SOME communities where the volunteer fire fighters position is more of a "boy's club", giving guys an excuse to get away from their wives for "training" and "practice", when all they do is drink beer and watch porn. Just like "bad cops", however, I don't think the role of fire fighter is defined by the bad apples in volunteer fire departments. In fact, we have some EXCELLENT and professional volunteer fire departments around us.

(To those who may not know - many "volunteer fire departments" actually have a handful of full-time command staff, but rely on volunteers for the bulk of the grunt work)

DesertBerean
01-27-2015, 10:34 AM
A good long while ago, we had a death in the workplace. The victim was electrocuted by equipment that carry tens of thousands of volts. As we are a small workforce, he was known by most of us, so his death was a great shock throughout the community. Our CO even directed a day of mourning, paid for the hearse that brought the bereaved family to the memorial service, and wore dress blues (this CO was not well liked, but we respected him that day).

He called us all heroes for our dedication to duty and our work on combat vehicles to keep our Marines safe, and paid respect to the fallen employee. I dunno...but we all were more aware of the potential dangers we were handling every day.

Emotionally, I'd say the Marines...and every other service member .... are the heros. Realistically, I agree with mossy.

Carrikature
01-27-2015, 10:41 AM
I understand your reasoning - thanks. Lemme give this a mull.

Take your time. :smile:



OK, I think I understand. The fire fighter is less in a position to abuse his role, so by the nature of the job, it's less likely to draw candidates who would do so.

I was less concerned with the potential to abuse the role than with the reasoning behind accepting the role in the first place. Police officers can seek to 'protect and serve', but they may just want to put bad guys away, or carry guns, or whatever nonsense justifications they may have. I've known some that just did it because it's what their dad did. The military members I've known may not even have that much, or they may simply think it's a good way to shoot bad guys (regardless of what reality may be). I had an ex-Marine roommate who hated his time in Afghanistan and couldn't get out early enough, but he used every opportunity to milk his service (even to the point of keeping his dress cap in the rear window because it would get him out of tickets).

I see your point, though, and it's not an angle I had considered. I might say it's both, then: a limited potential to abuse a position and a limited scope of responsibility means the sorts of people that will be attracted to that role are more likely to be doing it for what I'd consider good reasons. If nothing else, it seems to me that the guys who are ready and willing to enter a burning building to save a life are pretty close to hero status already, even if they do have other faults.

Carrikature
01-27-2015, 10:42 AM
I think people use "hero" when referring to police, soldiers, and firefighters to mean someone who has dedicated themselves to putting their own lives at risk every day in order to protect the public. For some pretty lousy pay. It may be their "job" but you won't see me risking my life day after day to help others for not much more than I could make flipping hamburgers. So while they might die not doing something particularly heroic like a traffic stop, they are putting themselves at risk every day just because of their chosen profession.

I agree, but I question whether or not the bolded is actually as true as most seem to think. I'd say it's not.

Cow Poke
01-27-2015, 10:55 AM
I think people use "hero" when referring to police, soldiers, and firefighters to mean someone who has dedicated themselves to putting their own lives at risk every day in order to protect the public. For some pretty lousy pay. It may be their "job" but you won't see me risking my life day after day to help others for not much more than I could make flipping hamburgers. So while they might die not doing something particularly heroic like a traffic stop, they are putting themselves at risk every day just because of their chosen profession.

I understand, but then it seems we need "levels" of "hero".... and I'm just thinking out loud, so to speak. For whatever reason, the folks who sign up for the military, or police or fire know what they're getting into, for the most part, and accept the terms for the pay.

Then there are those who really go "above and beyond".

(I still have a bad taste in my mouth for the woman soldier from Fort Hood who enlisted in the Army, then when Desert Storm came along, pitched a walleyed hissy because they were making her "go to war", when that's "not what I signed up for".)

Sparko
01-27-2015, 11:03 AM
I understand, but then it seems we need "levels" of "hero".... and I'm just thinking out loud, so to speak. For whatever reason, the folks who sign up for the military, or police or fire know what they're getting into, for the most part, and accept the terms for the pay.

Then there are those who really go "above and beyond".

(I still have a bad taste in my mouth for the woman soldier from Fort Hood who enlisted in the Army, then when Desert Storm came along, pitched a walleyed hissy because they were making her "go to war", when that's "not what I signed up for".)

There will always be people like that, and posers and fakers. I am talking about people who genuinely do the job and take the risk because they want to help people.

Christianbookworm
04-12-2018, 08:27 PM
:bump:

Has everything been said? Are there any more points to be made on this poor thread?

Cow Poke
04-13-2018, 12:26 PM
Ok, so we all seem to be on the same page here.

Then, quite obviously, some of us don't quite understand the situation. :smug:

rogue06
04-13-2018, 12:32 PM
A hero is someone who does the right thing not only when it is a difficult choice but when doing so is at great cost and/or risk.

Christianbookworm
04-13-2018, 03:29 PM
No greater love than to lay one's life down for one's friends.