Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Hats off to the kid who helped police find his kidnapped friend. He could have not been paying attention to what was going on. He could have thought what he saw wasn't worth mentioning. He could have not gotten involved for any number of reasons. But he stepped up and told the police what he saw and that information helped lead to the safe return of his friend.
But he's not a hero. He didn't risk life and limb. He didn't risk anything. The worst thing that could have happened to him was.... nothing.
Right after 9/11, there was some talk about how it was important for us to stop referring to ordinary events in life as being akin to that of a war. No more referring to games as being 'wars' and 'battles'. No more referring to opponents as the 'enemy'. I liked the thought: when we use 'war' to describe everything, it loses its meaning.
And the same for 'hero'. Heroes are people who risk their lives to do something right for someone else. Heroes are the soldiers who risk their lives fighting for this country. Heroes are the police and firemen who risk their lives to help keep us safe.
Teenagers who call the police? Good citizens, yes. Definitely worthy of thanks from a grateful community. Definitely the kinds of kids we wish there were more of. But heroes? Not even close.