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Crime.Justice & America - Letters from the Publisher - Heroes

"Better education means better justice. Better education means a higher standard for government to insure proper prosecution and incarceration. Better education means reduced recidivism, and in turn, less financial burden on society".



A few weeks ago, I was standing in line at the local Post Office, and witnessed an example of our changing perspective of heroes. A mother and her 12-year old daughter were in front of me in line, and the daughter kept whispering to her mom. After a few minutes, I heard the mother say “go ahead.” The little girl walked up to the counter where a 50+ year old member of our military was buying some stamps. Dressed in brown military fatigues, with short gray hair, it was obvious by his military posture that he had served in our country’s military for a long time. The little girl tugged on his sleeve, he turned to her, bent down to hear her speak, and after a few moments a big smile slowly spread over his face. She smiled back and returned to her mother. When I reached the counter, the mother and her daughter were still at the counter next to me. I asked the little girl what she said to the soldier. In her answer, lies a return to our past. Both as a people, and as a nation. She said “I thanked him for risking his life to protect our country, and me and my family.”

Norman Rockwell created a famous magazine cover of an old diner with a police officer sitting next to a young boy. It may have depicted an era that never truly existed, but even so, there was a time when our heroes were policeman, sheriffs, marshals, firefighters, etc. These were the kinds of people who risk their lives to help and protect other people. They also are the kinds of people who volunteer for these jobs. Young boys spent their childhood playing those roles. Yet, somewhere in the recent past, we began to honor and worship the sports star, television, and movie star. Gifted athletes, yes. Talented performers and entertainers, I agree. But please explain the reason why our society would bestow Hero status on an athlete that physically assaults his coach, or on a camera crew taping the post-game interviews. Our society routinely conveys special treatment inside the judicial system for these status-laden people. Whether it is drugs, violence, or even capital offenses, as proved by the most watched trial of the 90’s, this group has enjoyed special treatments as our heroes when the only real attribute is a singular talent. However, as we have seen recently since the beginning of Iraqi Freedom, our society has finally begun to dismiss the actions of this group in anything outside that singular talent.

Since 9/11, and rightfully so, our nation has shown a great resurgence toward Hero status in that special group of men and women that protect our country, you and I, and our families. Each and every day, law enforcement, firefighters, and our military risk their lives, and sometimes give the ultimate sacrifice, so that we can continue to live free, without fear of subjugation from within or abroad. As far as I know, if a basketball player misses a game winning shot, or a baseball player commits a game losing error, or if a movie star’s last role bombs at the box office, or a young county music star runs off at the mouth in ignorance, they do not risk losing their life. Most times, they don’t even risk losing their paycheck. But if that former group of people who lay it all on the line make a mistake, or take a wrong turn, they just don’t risk a bad review, or poor statistics. Rather, that wrong turn could very well cost them their lives, as our nation recently saw in the opening days of Iraqi Freedom. Everyday, this group…no, this group of everyday heroes, often does their job without want of any gratitude.

Personally, I hope there are enough 12-year old girls who will tug on the sleeve of every one of those heroes and say thanks. Because too many times, the rest of us forget.

This entry was posted in Letters from the Publisher.
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