Three episodes from recent European history:

  • In 2007, the nationally known Swedish politician Anna Lindh was gunned down in a Stockholm shopping mall by a gunman who then fled the scene.  The place was busy.  Several people observed the crime.  But it didn’t occur to anybody to tackle the killer, and nobody rushed to stop him.
  • The next year, on Queen’s Day in Amsterdam, a male model taking part in an outdoor fashion show just off of Rembrandt Square was pulled down from the catwalk and beaten severely by ten Muslim “youths.”  Only one person – a friend of the model – tried to help him.  The show’s organizer told me later that there had been a lot of people present – “and I mean a lot!”  But none of them did anything.
  • Some time after the slaughter last July of dozens of campers on an island near Oslo, accusations began to fly.  The head of the youth group camping on the island, it emerged, had been the first to find a boat and make it to shore – leaving behind the kids in his charge, many of them much younger than himself.  One witness noted that only a few campers had made an active effort to help others – and they were all foreigners.

Several years ago I wrote this about the Lindh killing: “People just stood there, waiting for somebody else to do something. Somebody whose job it was.  Hayek was right: the capacity for resistance – the capacity of even conceiving of resistance – is bred out of people in social democracies.” Of course, that’s a generalization.  Not everybody in Western Europe is a coward.  Besides, who can say how any of us would act in such situations, when everything is happening fast and when it may seem unclear exactly what is the best thing to do?

Still, I couldn’t help thinking of those, and other, historic instances of human passivity when the details of the movie-theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, began to come out.  I am referring to the remarkable fact that not one, not two, but three of the people who died from gunfire that night were young men who lost their lives protecting their girlfriends from the spray of bullets.

Think of it.  In one part of the theater, Jon Blunk, 25, a security guard who’d served on the U.S.S. Nimitz and wanted to become a Navy SEAL, pushed his girlfriend, Jansen Young, to the floor and under her seat, then covered her with his own body and held her tight.   Elsewhere in the same theater, during the same terrifying moments, Alex Teves, 24, who’d just finished earning a master’s degree in clinical psychology, was pushing his girlfriend, Amanda Lindgren, to the floor and shielding her with his body.  Still elsewhere in the theater Matt McQuinn, 27, a clerk at Target, was doing the same thing for his girlfriend Samantha Yowler.

All three of these young men died; all three of these young women lived.

Continue reading Heroes in Aurora.


When all hearts are opened,
And all the secrets known,
When guile and lies are banished,
And subterfuge is gone.

When God rolls up the curtain,
And hidden truths appear,
When the ghastly light of Judgement Day,
Brings past and present near…

Then shall we know what once we knew,
Before wealth dimmed our sight,
That of all sins, the blackest is
The pride which will not fight.

The meek and pious have a place,
And necessary are,
But valor pales their puny rays,
As does the sun a star.

What race of men since time began,
Has ever yet remained,
Who trusted not it’s own right hand,
Or from brave deeds refrained?

Yet spite the fact for ages known,
And by all lands displayed,
We still have those who prate of peace,
And say that war is dead.

Yes vandals rise who seek to snatch
The laurels from the brave,
And dare defame heroic dead,
Now filling hero graves.

They speak of those who love,
Like Christ’s, exceeds the lust of life
And murderers slain to no avail,
A useless sacrifice.

With infamy without a name,
They mock our fighting youth,
And dare decry great hearts who die,
Battling for right and truth.

Woe to the land which, heeding them,
Lets avarice gain the day,
And trusting gold it’s right to hold,
Lets manly might decay.

Let us, while willing yet for peace,
Still keep our valor high,
So when our time of battle comes,
We shall not fear to die.

Make love of life and ease be less,
Make love of country more.
So shall our patriotism be
More than an empty roar.

For death is nothing, comfort less,
Valor is all in all;
Base nations who depart from it,
Shall sure and justly fall.

General George S. Patton, Jr

First: The Mission

Always: the People

Last: Yourself

These valorous gentlemen died doing the highest duty of a man, protecting the weak.

The first duty of the strong is to protect the weak.

The protection of the innocent is always the mission.

Mission accomplished, gentlemen.

My heartfelt sympathies to your families.


About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

4 Responses to Heroes

  1. JessicaHof says:

    A well-deserved tribute.


    • Indeed, they deserve far more.


  2. Great post!


    • Thanks, so was yours.


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