Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Words Of A Hero

Lieutenant Brian Murphy was the first officer on the scene at the mass shooting at the Sikh temple last August.

Murphy was shot several times as he tried to help the first two victims he came across.

He has written his thoughts on his experience of that horrible day.  It is well worth the read, but be warned it does have a graphic quality to it.

To me, the key part was not the actual events but what came afterwords as he reflected on his feelings and the way others treated him:
I get card after card after card saying, "You're my hero." So I think about that word.

There was a guy in my neighborhood growing up, George. He joined the FBI. That's what I wanted to do when I was a kid — work for the FBI. So back then, I thought, He's my hero. Because he did something that I wanted to do. Then Tom Seaver became my hero. He pitched the Mets to the World Series in '69. That was awesome. Those were my heroes as a kid, because as a kid you don't have a great concept of what being a hero really is. And it's gotten watered down a lot since. Now you can become a hero on YouTube. I look at all the cards and think, If I'd only caught one round, would I still be a hero to those people? Maybe not. Am I a hero because there are so many bullets in me that if you shook me up and down I'd rattle like a piggy bank?

That's not a hero. That's luck. There's a difference.

The people who were inside the temple that day have the right to see it differently. The ones who ran into the pantry when he was coming after them. They can say, and only they can say, "You saved me by being there. You're my hero." They can say it because he was gonna kill them, and when he saw me, he left them alone.

I was just doing my job.

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