He Ran Back

superhero opening shirtI’ve been upset over what happened in Las Vegas last Sunday. I’ve read up on the shooter and have seen countless reports of the terrible event. Along with the sadness, the one thing that strikes me is how many stories highlight an unknown person who, after escaping, he or she ran back to help others. These people are heroes.

The media spent a lot of energy on learning every aspect of the Las Vegas shooter: Who was he? Why would somebody kill fifty-nine people and be responsible for wounding over five hundred more?

There is a logical reason for our interest—we’re trying to understand it to prevent it from happening again. But what if there’s another aspect to the situation and instead of using it for preemptive measures, we try to emulate it? I’m talking about the heroes.

I read account after account of heroics done by seemingly ordinary people. These people plucked up the wounded and plugged up bullet holes with the shirts off their own backs. They used their own broken bodies to shield someone unknown from the bullets raining down.

Some helped many, creating human chains to get people out of danger, even while harboring multiple bullet wounds themselves. Some helped only one other, holding a hand so that the stranger would not die alone. These people fought for the ones too frightened, too hurt, too overwhelmed to fight for themselves, because that’s what heroes do.

We all know the shooter’s name, now. We’ve seen his face and know his background. We are aware of the names of the fatally wounded and have seen their faces as well. They’re what make this event such a tragedy. And the heroes?

They are faceless. Most of the time we don’t know their names, nor do the people whose lives they saved. Most of the time we have no idea what happened to them afterward. However, it’s because of them that this world is redeemable. Because of them, there’s hope.

I don’t know if people knew they were heroes at the first blast of shots last Sunday, but I do know they heard something other than what surrounded them. It makes me wonder if I would. Would I choose safety over saving? Would I be willing to face danger to protect someone unknown? I don’t know. It’s easy to get caught up in the fear that evil is lurking around us, but don’t underestimate all the heroes in the crowd.

 

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