I read this article on Substack this morning titled, “The Shame of Uvalde and the Sacrifice of Memorial Day“, penned by David French, and it hit the nail on the head with regard to heroes and heroic acts. We would all like to think we would have charged head on into gun fire to protect the kids at the school in Uvalde. But, would we? If our kids were in the building… maybe. Like many of the parents outside who fought past cops to get to the school to evacuate their children. But, there’s a reason we’re not all cops and soldiers.
Over the last several decades and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic we started making heroes out of everyone. The threat of COVID-19 was elevated from a narrow threat where specific groups of people were at risk to a general threat to the existence of man. This made your average everyday person “heroic” for just going to work and doing their jobs. I’m not criticizing these people for being given the label “hero”. I’m criticizing the government, the media, and the public for buying into the notion that a person going to work and performing their jobs is a heroic act. It’s not.
French’s article talks about what separates heroes from people doing their jobs. It’s the real virtue of courage.
At the root of a failure of courage is often a failure of love. C.S. Lewis wrote that courage is “not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” Jesus said, “No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends.” What we witnessed from the police in Uvalde was the triumph of self-love over love of others, including of the young kids bleeding in that room.
At the testing point, the officers were confronted with a question, “Whom do you love?”
“I love me,” they responded, and they stood down.
That declaration, “I love me,” is endemic in our nation, and it’s not just endemic when lives are on the line.The Shame of Uvalde and the Sacrifice of Memorial Day – Common Sense
You know what’s heroic? A person running into a burning building to save lives. A witness to a crash pulling someone out of a car because it’s on fire or on railroad crossing with a train barreling down the tracks. A person running into a situation where someone is shooting at people to save lives. A soldier running head on into enemy fire, jumping on a grenade, or standing his ground to repel an attack to save wounded soldiers.
We need to place the blame for the Uvale shooting where it belongs. What happened at the school is not the fault of the responding officers. It’s not the fault of the AR-15 used to kill. The fault lies with the shooter and the American culture that created him.
The culture that creates heroes of everyone also makes everyone victims. When everyone is a victim no one is a victim. The victim mentality is the flipside of the hero mentality. You’re not a victim if someone “bullies” you. You’re not a victim if someone disagrees with you. Someone’s silence because they don’t agree with your protest is not violence perpetrated upon you. Victims who perceive themselves as repeated victims of a system that holds them down lash out. They have their backs to the wall with no way out. When we have younger generations that don’t consider themselves adults until the age of 30 it’s easy to see the mental immaturity of an 18 year old that believes the world slighted him and he is worthless. When a person believes their life is worthless how can they be made to believe other lives are not the same?
The victim/hero culture in the United States needs to end. Understand that there is nothing wrong with being your everyday average person. 99.9% of people will never be truly heroic or truly a victim. That’s okay. You’re not that special. And you don’t need to be in order to live a long and fulfilling life. Get a grip. Stop the madness. Accepting the label of victim or hero diminishes those that are.
On Memorial Day, as Americans, we are supposed to remember the soldiers that died protecting and defending the U.S. Constitution, the Republic of the United States of America, and the American way of life. Without them we wouldn’t have the luxury of losing our way. Let’s use the liberty they protected to improve ourselves rather than drown in narcissism.