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"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
Sir Winston Churchill

4.18.2007

Is the Left Wing Media Too Cowardly to Embrace Heroes?

Based on the reaction to the Virginia Tech massacre, they may be:

Heffer’s question could also be asked, I think, about the Virginia Tech students who fled as the Korean gunman, Cho Seung Hui, went on his homicidal rampage on their campus Monday — or who, like Jamal Albarghouti, instead of fleeing, took out their cell phones to record the sights and sounds of the massacre. “This is what this YouTube-Facebook-instant messaging generation does,” reported the Washington Post of Albarghouti’s exploit as if it were a matter for pride: “Witness. Record. Share.” And, as the Post might have added, not fight back. It appears to have occurred to no one to do that. Or even to wonder whether or not it might have been desirable to do that. “You are one brave guy Jamal,” wrote someone on his Facebook site after his video had run on CNN.com. But the idea that any greater bravery than his might have been possible — the kind of bravery that could have saved lives by taking down the gunman earlier in his murderous career — is one that seems not to have been picked up on the LCDs of the YouTube-Facebook-instant-messaging generation.

One clear hero of the day seems to have been someone from quite another generation, a 76-year-old Romanian-Jewish immigrant and Holocaust survivor named Liviu Librescu who taught engineering science and mathematics at the university and who barricaded the door of his classroom with his body long enough to allow a number of his students to escape out the windows. When the shooter eventually burst into the room, he shot Librescu and the two students who had not yet managed to get out. “My father blocked the doorway with his body and asked the students to flee,” said the hero’s son, Joe Librescu, from Israel where he lives. “Students started opening windows and jumping out.” Someone posted on the God Bless Virginia Tech blog that was set up as an early student response to the shootings: “What a wonderful man, a survivor, and a hero. He will be missed!”

That detail, by the way, comes from a story in the Times of London headed, “Virginia Tech professor hailed as a hero.” Back in the U.S.A., however, there was not nearly so much hailing going on as you (or the Times) might think. Both the Washington Post and the New York Times on Tuesday mentioned Professor Librescu’s act of courage and self-sacrifice in passing, but neither made a point of distinguishing him from the other victims who were apparently killed without resisting. Perhaps like Paul Greengrass’s film, United 93, the American media is rather embarrassed by heroism and thinks it insulting to the other victims of such atrocities to single out the heroes for special attention. Instead of showing any interest in Librescu’s brave act, the American media were concentrating to the point of obsession on the feelings of the victims and the psychology of the killer. “Evil, that's what some call it,” wrote Neely Tucker in the Style section of the Post, handsomely acknowledging millennia of religious tradition before going on to note that psychology would prefer to use terms like “depressed, angry and humiliated” to describe the perpetrator of mass murder. How much more interesting are the feelings even of a monster than the deeds of a hero!


Thus wall-to-wall coverage of the lunatic murderer; none to spare for the few heroes in this tragic tale.

Mark Steyn is right on point as always:

I have always believed America is different. Certainly on September 11th we understood. The only good news of the day came from the passengers who didn’t meekly follow the obsolescent 1970s hijack procedures but who used their wits and acted as free-born individuals. And a few months later as Richard Reid bent down and tried to light his shoe in that critical split-second even the French guys leapt up and pounded the bejasus out of him.

We do our children a disservice to raise them to entrust all to officialdom’s security blanket. Geraldo-like “protection” is a delusion: when something goes awry — whether on a September morning flight out of Logan or on a peaceful college campus — the state won’t be there to protect you. You’ll be the fellow on the scene who has to make the decision. As my distinguished compatriot Kathy Shaidle says:

When we say “we don’t know what we’d do under the same circumstances”, we make cowardice the default position.

I’d prefer to say that the default position is a terrible enervating passivity. Murderous misfit loners are mercifully rare. But this awful corrosive passivity is far more pervasive, and, unlike the psycho killer, is an existential threat to a functioning society.


I know exactly what I would have done, and I don't think I'm alone in that regard. You cannot allow people to be slaughtered to save your own skin. Isn't that the object lesson of the 20th century?

Have we completely driven male honor out of American DNA with all this Oprah nonsense?

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