There were three very different events in the past 2 months that provide heart lifting examples of why and how we have to help each other and rely on the individual rather than waiting for the government.
The first is the underpants bomber and the attempted destruction of a Northwest Airlines flight to Detroit. In this case the government was in charge of protecting us from the threat. Passengers were screened and lists were checked. A typo in the State Department prevented the government from just doing its job. The government's effort to protect us failed. On the flight the individual hero came through. A passenger, a rugby player from the Netherlands, tackled the bomber and stopped him from completing his homicidal tasks. The hero, dubbed the "Flying Dutchman", reacted to protect himself and his fellow passengers. Individual action and individual accountability came through in the face of bureaucratic failure.
The second was the plane crash into the IRS building in Austin. Here there was no governmental failure. No one expects the government to prevent such an incident. We all expect the fire department to answer the call and to arrive on the scene as soon as possible. However there is by necessity a time between the receipt of the call and arrival on the scene. In steps the individual hero. A guy who installs windows was driving by in his truck with ladders on the truck's rack. He stopped, unloaded a ladder and proceeded to a portion of the 2nd floor of the building where people were trapped. He assisted 5 people in escaping the burning building with great personal risk and no legal responsibility. A person acting to assist fellow people in harms' way. A true hero.
And yesterday there was a third. A shooting at a school in Littleton, Colorado. Again no government failure here. And no expectation of police intervention until long after the shooting started. A teacher, at great personal risk, charged the homicidal maniac and pinned him to the ground. Another man then assisted in disarming the gunman and securing him for the police. The teacher charged a gunman who was firing a rifle at his students. He is a bona fide hero of epic proportion. He is an individual who took action, at risk of great personal harm, to protect others.
These guys are all remarkable people. Maybe the most remarkable part of it is that they were otherwise so unremarkable. They were just ordinary men who performed remarkable feats when confronted with extraordinary circumstances. They were individuals aiding other individuals because it needed to be done. Its hard to contrast their heroic acts to the actions of the three government contracted security guards at the Seattle bus station who watched a 15 year old girl attacked by a gang. Their response "it wasn't our job" to break up the fight. Where's the humanity and heroism when they're just doin' their job?
The lesson is "Thank GOD for heroes". Thanks for the individuals who believe they are responsible to help their fellow man at an individual level. And thank God that we all don't rely on the government where they're just doing their jobs.