Thursday, January 3, 2008

We could use another Hero

>One of my favorite shows has ended its season it would appear, "Heroes".

I like the show on many different levels. One level is that of the choice these people have of either becoming a "hero" or a villain.

People make the same choices every day. Some choose to do good things, and some choose to go a different way. Then there are those who consider their job to be Heroic, and therefore do not need to play the part.

>I remember sitting in my living room on the morning of 9/11. The guy on the TV was interviewing a fireman who had just been driven back by the fall of tower number one. The fireman said he was going back into tower number two, the interviewer asked if he was worried if that was going to collapse too, the fireman said yes, but that's my job and I need to do it. Just an ordinary guy choosing to do an heroic act. He had the suit, he had the badge, he didn't need to do anything but direct traffic or pull hoses, but he chose to go back in knowing that the tower may collapse and he may be killed. It did.

>My latest occupation is as a bus driver. One day as I was bringing home the children on the bus, we happened upon a small group of police cars. Naturally I slowed down, not just out of curiosity, but this is considered a hazard that bus drivers need to slow down and watch out for. Several of the children on the bus PANICked. Diving to the floor screaming, "Get us home NOW".... These were 1st graders.

At what point in these children's lives did a police officer change from a hero to a villain. At 7 years old, I doubt that these children were the arch enemies of the men in blue, but somewhere along the lines these children were taught that cops were bad guys, not the people to run to when you were in trouble.

>I remembered back a few years to a live radio show that I was listening to. A police officer had been killed in the line of duty, and police officers from around the state were going to the funeral. Someone called into the station asking that the officer's slow down. The country road they were heading down had a 55 mph speed limit and while normal traffic was 60-65 many of these officers seemed to be doing 80. The announcer gave the 3rd degree to this caller saying, "these people risk their lives every day, we need to cut them some slack. If they want to go 80 to this officer's funeral, they should be able to do so"

I just about came unglued!

The officer who died trying to protect people, trying to enforce the law, died as a hero, was being honored by fellow officers flagrantly disobeying the law and putting the general public at risk!

>A few weeks ago, a report came out about Jackson MS police, and how many times the officers have been arrested for crimes from DUI to assault. The numbers were alarming. I would think that even one arrest would be alarming of course but some of these had 17 arrests, most pleaded out or thrown out of court.

>I remember back 15 years ago in a college class on education psych where the instructor was explaining to his students, many who would be future educators, that as a teacher you were held to a higher standard. Many school systems would not hire a teacher who smoked for instance, as it created a negative image for the students. Teachers could not be seen drinking in public, or be visiting the strip clubs.

There was a day when police where held to a higher standard as well. They were not above the law, but set the standard of the law they swore to enforce. A police officer was the person you looked to, to settle disputes, to help in legal matters, to actually drive the speed limit..... even when nobody else did! Police officers held this standard when in uniform, and when not in uniform. If there was an officer that lived down the street, you knew that your street was safe, and would never expect the officer to be hosting wild parties or selling drugs from his back porch because that just was not done.

>Somewhere in the last 30 years this was lost. There are heroes still, people willing to put themselves away from the ordinary for the common good. We find them in church, in politics, in the military, fire departments, and the police. Unfortunately though we don't find them enough, especially in the police department, to quell the fears of a group of 7 yr old children. Too many are of the belief that its the clothes that make the man, when it is the man that defines the clothes.

(addendum: Last night on "Deal or no Deal" they had on the show, a Port Authority Officer that had been saved from the WTC after it had collapsed . He won a bunch of money which is always nice to see, but during the show they introduced the person who led the team that saved this guy's life. Everyone got up and clapped, and this guy looked genuinely annoyed at the amount of attention he was getting. I tried to picture this guy as the fireman from the interview but don't remember the face well enough, but this guy did not rescue someone from the WTC to go on Deal or No Deal, he did not do it to get into the papers, or the movies, he did it because it needed to be done, and he was the one that needed to do it. He did not wake up and decide to be a hero that day..... or maybe he did, maybe just maybe he decided that everyday when he woke up he would live his life according to the uniform that he wore, and make people proud to do what he does, because that's the kind of person who gets genuinely annoyed at the attention given to a person who shares the title of all others like him..... Hero)

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