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Since ancient times heroic deeds by heroes and heroines have always been a part of our lives. Stories of warriors who gave their lives up for their people or their loved ones have made it to the box office as movies based on the lives of such persons. Heroism is not a profession but it is some form of extended generosity.
The term hero arose from ancient Greek mythology and folklore. The term used to refer to some form of a demi-god, apparently the progeny of a deity and a mortal. Later on, the term hero and heroine were coined to refer to male and female characters that have shown or show the will of self-sacrifice and display courage in the face of adversity, danger or from a position of weakness.
Etymologically the term hero is believed to be cognate with goddess Hera the guardian or defender of marriage. As human societies evolved over the years so has the legal framework that is meant to protect them. With increasing civilization, the laws have become increasingly restrictive that acts of heroism may and sometimes do result in prosecutable offenses.
Indeed some acts of heroism have been criminalized as one man in the United Kingdom has found out. In deed, a 42-year-old fireman is at the centre of an international investigation being conducted by Tayside fire and rescue, for allegedly breaching safety rules after he attempted to rescue a drowning woman in the Tay River in Perth.
Tam brown was surprised after coming out of the water having been there for over eight minutes. When brown resurfaced we has surprised when he was told by his employer that he had acted unprofessionally by risking his life.
The young woman’s family and friends hailed tam brown a hero but on the other side of the score card the employer claimed that brown regardless of the fact that he had 15 years experience as a fire man he had broken the fire brigades ‘standing orders’ on safety procedures.
Such incidences of heroism are becoming more and more common in different parts of the globe. These acts of extraordinary bravery and or heroism are increasingly being legally treated as acts of cowardice if indeed they are a way of not making a person a hero but instead a criminal
Being or acting, as a hero is a good thing. It is a way of serving the society, which has molded us over the centuries. With these new laws that are coming up day after day criminalizing acts of heroic standards will definitely reduce our urge to help. It is however; hard to understand why such laws are passed. Maybe it is for our own protection but it will soon, if not later be hard to explain to a victim’s family that their loved ones could have been saved from death. However, the only thing that denied them the chance is a law or a standing order that the family does not know even where it was signed.
- Carlyle, Thomas. On Heroes, Hero Worship and the Heroic in History, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985.
- Jeremy, Clarkson. Cowardice is the new bravery, The Times March, 2007