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Should I Be a Hero?

January 29, 2015 4 Minutes

Be a Hero?

When should a man risk his own life for that of another?

With recent dramatic events around the globe, and  for the sake of this article we will reference the Martin Place Siege in Sydney, many men were left thinking some various hypothetical questions. For myself, they were,

“What would I have done, had I been in there for so long”

“Would I have rushed him and tried to disarm him?”

“Would I try and run if given the opportunity?”

“Do I owe it to the others, being a man, to try and fight the terrorist given it’s one on one, if given a chance to grab his weapon? Or do I owe it to my family to escape unharmed, and not risk my life for those of others whom I do not know?”

These are all interesting questions, and of course, they are asked in the safety and comfort of retrospect. One cannot begin to fathom what it would have been like in the hell of those events that occurred, in the Sydney Siege. But it is healthy and natural to ponder, should I ever be in a situation similar, what would I do, and what would be the right thing or most sensible thing to do, to ensure my safety and the safety of others. 


I began asking these questions and thought about the code that we at Gallantoro profess and desire to instill on our children and others around us. We push Courage and Bravery, but when is it courageous and when is it just plain unwise?


Courage | Be Brave
For when you are called upon, rise up and prepare for battle. Whether you are combating your own inner demons or standing up for what you believe,
display your courage proudly in the face of adversity.

Inherently, men have  a feeling of duty to protect others, especially women and children, from harm. Most of this comes down to social perceptions and expectations of men, however physiologically we are usually better equipped in terms of physical strength to handle a perpetrator. But in this day and age, is it noble to risk your own life for that of others, or is it selfish for your own ego only?

Well, it depends on the circumstances, there is no black and white. Today, if a man, using the Sydney Siege as an example, had an opportunity to escape, then he owes it to his family to do so. That is the right thing to do. Taking a bullet whilst trying to save others is courageous, but not fair on your loved ones.  But then it depends on the opportunity. If, after 12 hours of being in the siege with no end in sight, and you are in a position where you are confident you can disarm the terrorist, perhaps if you are trained in fighting, then do you take the chance and put yourself at risk to protect yourself and others? I think, yes. 

In situations such as these, doing nothing can be dangerous in it's own right. The power is given to the criminal, other criminals know people will not resist, and so on.  At least planning for action should the solid opportunity arise, is a relatively safe bet. You take a solid chance if you get it, but don't if it's too risky. A man with a gun generally plans on using it, so do we just wait for him to do it and hope he doesn't, or hope the police are successful in wearing him down? Should a man (or woman), capable of overpowering the perpetrator, in this case an overweight and slow witted Man Monis, have somewhat of a feeling of duty to take control of the situation.

Some may say that that is the job of the police, which I absolutely agree on, but after so many hours or when police intervention seems unlikely, and in this example with the increased edginess of the terrorist, is it too much of a risk to sit and wait to be shot?

A far less serious incident happened to me many years ago, in a movie theatre. An obnoxious man (punk rather) was talking and walking back and forth in front of people trying to watch a movie, while he looked for a seat. No one uttered a word, and when I told him to sit down (not in so many words), he became violent and aggressive. No one stood up to my defence, and no one wanted to be a 'hero'.
I want to be a hero. I think most men, deep down, want to be heroes. I mean, why wouldn't you? The feeling of helping innocent people while defeating a foe, there are surely few greater feelings than that. So why don’t more men stand up to injustice when it occurs to fellow people? Is it not in our DNA anymore?

Would the world be a better place if men were more ready to rise to face an aggressor who is harming others, without consideration for their own well being?

I think, yes.



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