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We used to have heros

January 9th, 2007

Wesley Autrey jumped in front of an oncoming subway train in New York. To help someone else who had fallen in. Both were uninjured after the train passed over them –with a few centimeters to spare. Amid all the awards and checks from famous people and big companies, amid the rush to be photographed with the hero, the hero reminded everyone of a simple sentiment, oft forgotten: “You see somebody in distress, you help out.” [reuters.com]

As refreshing as it is to see a everyman as a hero it is just as disgusting to watch the feeding frenzy. To see Donald Trump, Mayor Bloomberg, The Walt Disney Co, and others line up for the photo op, rushing to share the spotlight for a few moments to get some good press. If Wesley Autrey is a shinning example of humanity, deserving of praise, then all the others crowding into the photos are the greedy heart of capitalism that deserves to be shunned. I don’t begrudge Autrey the money they give him, but I despise their reasons for giving. But Capitalism works on greed and maybe others will be more likely to help an unfortunate soul now that they think they might get paid for it. Heroes don’t ask for payment but maybe Nietzsche was right?

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