What is a Hero?

I ask this because I’ve come across a large number of people on our side who seem to wish that Kyle Rittenhouse would go silent. Go away, that is. That it is in some way distasteful that he should be happy and having a good time and that people should be honoring him. I believe this attitude is borne of two things:

  1. Personal cowardice.
  2. Not knowing what a hero is.

We are many decades into the anti-hero in popular culture, aren’t we? The person who isn’t all that great but who manages to do something good along the way, as it were. I don’t think this was foisted upon us by popular culture, or at least not entirely. I think a lot of people wanted it – wanted, that is, a world in which “hero” became something other than what it had been before.

We can see this in what we call heroic – a nurse working the Covid ward: hero. A soldier who endured an IED attack in Iraq: hero. With full intent to offend modern sensibilities, I’ll just come right out and say it: they aren’t heroes.

A hero is someone who goes above and beyond that which is expected. A nurse is supposed to treat patients. In so doing the nurse isn’t a hero: the nurse is just doing the job. So, too, with the soldier: it is expected that soldiers will go on patrol and we also expect that some patrols will be attacked and some soldiers will be killed and wounded while on patrol. There isn’t anything heroic about it: it is just the job of the infantry. It would be heroic if a non-soldier suddenly jumped into the Humvee and went on the patrol because we don’t expect a civilian to patrol…we expect the soldier. When you do what is expected of you, you have done just that.

The Medal of Honor, crucially, is awarded to servicemembers who go above and beyond the call of duty. Their duty is to fight; we expect them to be in battle and bravely fight the enemy until victory or death. We award the medal when, in the course of doing what is expected, they go on and do something unexpected. A good way to consider it is that the medal of honor is for doing something that no sane person would ever order a servicemember to do. An order that simply can’t be given: an order which doesn’t merely carry the risk of death, but has built into it almost certain death. Like this:

For valorous and gallant conduct above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of a Scout Sniper Platoon attached to the Second Marines, Second Marine Division, in action against Japanese-held Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands, November 20 and 21, 1943. The first to disembark from the jeep lighter, First lieutenant Hawkins unhesitatingly moved forward under heavy enemy fire at the end of the Betio pier, neutralizing emplacements in coverage of troops assaulting the main breach positions. Fearlessly leading his men on to join the forces fighting desperately to gain a beachhead, he repeatedly risked his life throughout the day and night to direct and lead attacks on pill boxes and installations with grenades and demolition. At dawn on the following day, First Lieutenant Hawkins returned to the dangerous mission of clearing the limited beachhead of Japanese resistance, personally initiating an assault on a hostile fortified by five enemy machine guns and, crawling forward in the face of withering fire, boldly fired point-blank into the loopholes and completed the destruction with grenades. Refusing to withdraw after being seriously wounded in the chest during this skirmish, First Lieutenant Hawkins steadfastly carried the fight to the enemy, destroying three more pill boxes before he was caught in a burst of Japanese shell fire and mortally wounded. His relentless fighting spirit in the face of formidable opposition and his exceptionally daring tactics were an inspiration to his comrades during the most crucial phase of the battle and reflect the highest credit upon the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Lt Hawkins was expected to land first. He was expected to take on the very dangerous task of attacking enemy defense positions to allow the rest of the Marines to get ashore. While he was doing that, he wasn’t doing anything but his job – but when he was wounded, his task was over. He was supposed to evacuate to the rear. Had he done so, nobody would have had the slightest complaint to make about the bravery of Lt Hawkins. But, he didn’t. We can’t know exactly what went in through his mind, but I’ve read enough history on this sort of thing to suspect that Lt Hawkins felt he couldn’t leave – for the love of his comrades, he was going to keep on fighting, knowing that as long as he was in the line of fire, someone else wasn’t. That was above and beyond the call of duty. That is why a grateful nation awarded him the Medal of Honor.

This is not to say that Rittenhouse’s actions were in the same league as Lt Hawkins’. But as a 17 year old civilian it was not in any was expected that he should stand against communist thugs in the act of looting and burning a town. We expect the police and the National Guard to do that. Absent them, we expect mature adults to do that. As the police and Guard were absent and there didn’t seem to be a mature adult willing to go out there, Kyle did. And he stood up to the thugs and won. He went above and beyond any call of duty he had as a citizen. And, so, he’s a hero – and he deserves his fame and the honor of his fellow citizens.

And now some are complaining about it and I suspect it is because, at the back of their minds, they know they wouldn’t have gone out there. Kyle isn’t the sort of hero they want because he is a challenge they can’t meet. They want anti-heroes, because actual heroes are too difficult to emulate. The people complaining about Kyle are, in fact, cowards. But they have been well trained in being cowards, so we can excuse them a little bit.

That said, it is time for us to start getting back into the hero business: to honor and hold up as examples not people who just did their job or who triumphed over adversity, but people who didn’t have to do a good thing but, at the risk of their own lives, went ahead and did it anyway. That is a hero. That is what we must put front and center into the public mind – to instruct us on being a hero. To make us, collectively, want to be as brave as a hero. It is only thus that we can even have heroes.

If you wonder why our nation has gone down the tubes while those who we expect to save it stood aside, there is the reason: as a society, we didn’t put a premium on being a hero. We put the premium on being the victim. Kyle wasn’t a victim: he is a warrior. He stood up. He did what had to be done at the moment without a thought for his own safety. The same people condemning Kyle for his actions would laud him to the skies for enduring cancer. But merely enduring isn’t heroic – it is taking the action that no one can demand of you. That is the heroic thing – and if we want people to stand up against the bullies who are destroying our nation, then we’re going to have to honor heroes.

19 thoughts on “What is a Hero?

  1. Cluster December 16, 2021 / 4:21 pm

    We could use more heroes for sure, but we also need a lot more miracles. In the movie Bruce Almighty, Morgan Freeman plays God and at the end of the movie he is instructing Bruce on life and says “everyone keeps looking up and expecting miracles when all they have to do is look down and be a miracle”. “The woman who works two jobs and still raises her children, that’s a miracle” – and he is so right. I always marvel at the hard working young African American men I see who choose work and study over societal and peer pressures, because I know the world they live in that’s not easy – and that’s a miracle. Getting up everyday and positively contributing to your family and your community – that’s a miracle.

    If we all worked on being miracles, the world would be magic.

  2. Amazona December 16, 2021 / 8:38 pm

    Dr. Steven Templeton: How Media Frenzy and COVID Panic Made America Obsessively Risk Averse and Germophobic

    America has a “safety culture problem,” says immunologist Steven Templeton. “We want to mitigate risk to the point where there’s no risk, complete risk aversion.”

    The pandemic response—from harsh lockdowns to school closures—has been characterized by a “self-destructive” over-reaction, says Dr. Templeton, an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

    And the rise of safety culture and mass germophobia in America could have devastating consequences down the line—just like the overuse of antibiotics, Dr. Templeton argues.

    Yes. What he said. We used to be a strong nation of strong people. I am thinking this is mostly just true out in the Heartland these days.

    I love the series “Yellowstone” because it reflects so much of the Wyoming and Colorado I know and love. One of the actors (“Jimmy”) was interviewed and he said his life had become one of contrasts, as half of it was in NYC and then he goes out West where people actually DO stuff. He was in awe of the basic strength and competence he saw as a normal way of life out here. I like seeing the casual competence seen in so many of the characters, and think that as the coasts disintegrate into whining and victimhood the future of the nation might very well rest on the shoulders of those of us closest to pioneer days and ways.

    • Amazona December 17, 2021 / 3:18 pm

      I might be on a roll here. I mentioned that it kind of looked like Jared Polis, governor of Colorado, might be looking at a run for the presidency, and a couple of hours later Dana Perino mentioned the same thing on Tucker’s show. (She might pay more attention than most to Colorado, as she is from Parker, just south of Denver.)

      Then yesterday I posted the comment, above, about competency and a couple of hours later Tucker did a whole segment on the erosion of respect for the dignity of work.

      Stay tuned for my toll-free number…………

    • Cluster December 17, 2021 / 10:10 am

      Update: as you all know I watch a lot of MSNBC so you don’t have to and you would not believe the FEAR they are peddling this morning over OMICRON !!!!

      Thee people are mentally retarded

      • Amazona December 17, 2021 / 2:41 pm

        Of course they are. They are seeing panic exhaustion as the Atlantic article described, seeing their base of the meekly obedient and compliant shrinking to just the coasts and a few Leftist enclaves where people don’t think for themselves, and as this happens their hold on power is more tenuous. The Casper Tribune just had a big headline: COVID-19 fears dash hopes for the holiday season — again. Sourced, naturally, from the AP and CNN.

        When Covid Panic subsides, what will they have left to keep their base all stirred up and freaked out? Trump running will help, but there is also Trump Fatigue. The squawking of the Squad is getting tiresome and it’s getting harder and harder for any of them to get much attention. Omar’s shrill “Teasing me is exactly the same thing as attacking all Muslims in the whole world” schtick never got much traction. The new effort to sic Schiff onto Republicans fell apart when he promptly got caught faking “evidence” and poor can’t-win-for-losing Liz Cheney just got raked over the coals for trying to make texts condemning the January 6 riots look like support of the January 6 riots.

        Their little backroom crew is frantically trying to gin up distractions and diversions, as many of their East Coast base are facing winter with outrageously high fuel costs, everyone is looking at a stressed Christmas, food and gas costs are really hitting the middle and lower economic classes with no improvement in sight, and it’s scarier and scarier to let Joe get in front of a microphone. “Dr” Jill is as big a disaster as he is, and Kamala is worse than useless—whenever either one of them goes out in public she does nothing but illustrate cluelessness and incompetence. Every effort to appoint someone from the list of the approved checkmarks is met with another embarrassment, as things like anti-American speeches and Communist ties are brought up. Nancy is finally falling apart, Chuck U seems to be lying low, the new Schiff Show is a bust, and basically the wheels are coming off the whole shaky Leftist wagon.

        Their only hope is to scare the heck out of Americans so they lock themselves up again, until a new diversion can be created, or expanded, while they hope for a miracle to save them from themselves.

  3. Cluster December 17, 2021 / 9:31 am

    Victor David Hanson nails it … again

    After the Russian collusion hoax, two impeachments, the Hunter Biden laptop stories, the staged melodramas of the Kavanaugh hearings, the Jussie Smollett con, the Covington kids smear, and the Rittenhouse trial race frenzy, the people are not just worn out by leftist hysterias, but they also weary of how the Left gains power and administers it.


  4. Cluster December 18, 2021 / 9:21 am

    Great news this morning:

    Radio City’s Rockettes CANCEL all remaining shows, dozens of restaurants close and Broadway is paralyzed as NYC becomes America’s Omicron epicenter:

    Infect and isolate New Yorkers and let’s put abortion clinics in every neighborhood and let’s finally just get rid of NY, and then tell them it was climate change. LA is next.

  5. Cluster December 18, 2021 / 9:47 am

    Just a reminder that when those piece of shit, scumbag Democrats talk about “no one being above the law”, I present the following:

    Ex-FBI lawyer convicted of forgery in probe of Trump ties to Russia reinstated by D.C. Bar and can once again practice law

    Again, let’s put abortion clinics in every Democrat neighborhood, and release as many criminals as possible into those neighborhoods as well in an effort to eliminate the problem.

  6. Retired Spook December 18, 2021 / 11:47 am

    Talk about a prescient quote:

  7. Retired Spook December 18, 2021 / 11:52 am

  8. Retired Spook December 18, 2021 / 11:55 am

    OK, since you aksed, one more.

  9. Retired Spook December 18, 2021 / 12:06 pm

    Why stop a good thing.

    • Cluster December 18, 2021 / 1:01 pm


  10. Retired Spook December 18, 2021 / 12:10 pm

    What can I say; I found a marvelous collection of memes.

  11. Retired Spook December 18, 2021 / 12:17 pm

    OK, last one, I promise.

    • Cluster December 18, 2021 / 1:04 pm

      “Walk it off” was all the medical advice we ever got in football lol. I got knocked out one play catching the ball over the middle and got hammered by a very big linebacker. When I gained consciousness, coach was asking me how many fingers I saw, and then to go the sideline and “walk it off” – I miss those days

      • Retired Spook December 18, 2021 / 1:42 pm

        reminds me of the famous quote from the post-apocalyptic novel “Those Who Remain” by G. Michael Hopf.

        “Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times.”\

    • Amazona December 20, 2021 / 4:52 pm

      Our version was “rub some dirt on it and walk it off”. I never really understood the “rub some dirt on it’ part but I like the way it sounds so that’s what I say.

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