Author’s Log: Of Champions and Heroes

Boondock I’ve spent the last week thinking about what happened in Boston, as I’m sure we all have. The question most on everyone’s mind, as far as I can tell, is “Why?” (right after the “Who?”, of course).

That’s not my question. My question is “What gives them the right?”

I don’t get depressed about these things. I don’t fear for the human race. Maybe I’m weird that way.

I get angry. Really, really angry. And when I hear about the people who fearlessly run toward danger to help those in need, I cheer. Like the medical professionals who just got done running 26 miles throwing off their exhaustion to respond to the emergency, I cheer. I heard a story about a guy who scaled a fence and dove into a sea of injured to help, and I did a dance. YES! That’s what I’m talking about!

It’s this capacity to risk everything in order to help is what inspires me to write. Because the ability to transcend such an event and do right without thinking excites me. Compassion, bravery, unity…it sounds sappy, but I love it.

This whole thing also got me to thinking about the difference between champions and heroes, because both are running themes in the stories I write. Up to now, I’d been using the terms synonomously. But the events in Boston got me thinking.

A champion, I decided, was someone who faces danger to help innocent people because it’s their job, or their destiny, or both. Law enforcement, medical professionals, the armed forces, etc. Law enforcement and firemen during 9/11 are prime examples of this. There are other mitigating factors, of course–they made a conscious choice to go into these dangerious fields.

A hero, on the other hand, are those who face danger and do the right thing simply because it is the right thing. Joe Citizen, scaling a tall fence to dive head-first into a pool of injured bodies to see what can be done. The father who walks or pushes his disabled son 26 freakin’ miles in his wheelchair because the son has ambition to participate in the marathon. A hero is especially the gentlemen who lost both his legs in the blast–and still led authorities to the perpetrators.

Both are pretty stupendous in my book.

So do I despair for the human race? No. I have hope for it–deep and abiding hope, because it can be pretty amazing sometimes. Especially at those times when hope is needed.

As for the parties behind the explosions–well, yeah. There be a whole lotta bad guys in this world. But you know what? Like Patton Oswalt put so well, there are an awful lot more good guys. Because humanity, as a whole, is a whole lotta awesome–all this sort of thing does is unite disparate forces together against the perpetrators.

Take note, bad guys: These actions do NOT make you awesome, or powerful, or legends anywhere other than your own deluded minds. No, it makes you weak, and cowardly, and in a mess of trouble. So get the fuck off our planet, and take your quivering, despicable darkness with you. Because there is no possible reason or excuse that gives you the right.

And the rest of us are coming with the light that will ultimately destroy you.

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