Posted by: endithinks | March 30, 2010

On Heroes

I’ve always had a soft spot for the hero.  I’ve always been drawn to the hero who is real, down to earth, brave and gritty.  My favorite book of all time is “The Legend of Huma,” a fantasy set in the Dragonlance universe.  It is a story about a knight of low rank who has a good heart, but gets caught in a conspiracy of intrigue, murder, gods, magic and betrayal.  Huma keeps pressing on depending on his own moral code and heart to guide him.  He feels guilty when he chooses his own morality instead of the stringent code the knighthood prescribes.  He has courage to trust himself.

I’m nothing like Huma.  Yesterday as I was walking home I saw two people screaming at each other.  One was a man in his fifties, probably one hundred and thirty pounds and shaking a soaked cardboard sign at his compatriot.  The other person was a young girl maybe 20 years old and she was drenched from head to toe and crying/screaming at the man while also shaking and brandishing her own cardboard sign.

They were fighting over territory and their words were curses and daggers as they continued to ridicule and mock each other as they stalked up and down sixth street.  They walked away only to follow the other screaming obscenities and curses while finding time to beg for help.

I followed them trying to keep incognito in case it got violent.  I couldn’t stand that the man might try to violently hurt her or her hurt him.  They were both in poor health, cold, and obviously hurting.  Most of the people on the street hurried to the other side of the street.  I even saw a mother grab her two young boys, who were watching with concern, around the shoulders and hush them across the cross walk when it was red.

Eventually the two fighting people parted ways and the scene calmed down.  In the twenty minutes of yelling there was no police presence, no interaction, no intervention.  The people who saw them coming ran away and no one looked twice at the two people who could have been their father, or daughter.

When did it become acceptable in the richest country in the world to let others die in front of our eyes?  It is a shame that we bend our heads and hurry across the street and ignore the fate of people who could easily be us in a few lost paychecks or a string of poor decisions.

When did heroism die?

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