Lori Falce: Our heroes shouldn’t be human shields
I don’t want my son to be a hero.
I don’t want to have someone come to me and tell me how brave he was as he stood up to someone with a weapon and a grudge and a message for the world.
I don’t care if he grows up to be a convenience store cashier or a union plumber or a paleontologist. I just want him to grow up to be something. Anything. Alive.
I don’t want my mother to be a saint.
I don’t want someone to tell me that she stood between someone else and death and absorbed that blow.
I want her to see her great-grandchildren and die in her sleep and not realize she left us until St. Peter opens the gate.
I don’t want my sister to be what stands between her science class and a bullet or a knife or a bomb.
In less than two weeks, from California to North Carolina to Colorado, we have seen three shootings that ended in just one death apiece, attributed to the actions of tragic heroes. An account manager for a sports gear company took a bullet meant for her rabbi. A college student lunged at a gunman. A boy days from graduation tackled a shooter.
They were all heroes. And every one of them should still be alive.
It isn’t that I want my son to be a coward. I don’t. But it is a terrible kind of thought to have, a ghastly game of “Would You Rather.”
If my kid had the selfless spirit of Kendrick Castillo or Riley Howell, I would be immensely proud. I know that my mother would do anything to protect one of her patients, just like Lori Gilbert-Kaye did for her rabbi. God help the person who threatens one of my sister’s students.
I just want a world where my mother’s heroism can be the care she shows as a nurse. My sister already sacrifices enough as a teacher. She doesn’t need to give up her life. My son is a child and should be the protected, not the protector.
Our world needs all the heroes we can get. We need them in our hospitals and our schools. We need them helping the poor and discovering cures and brokering peace and changing the world. They can’t do that if they are dead.
That’s why the solution to violence can’t be human shields. It has to be human discourse. We have to agree there is a problem and commit to finding a way to fix it that doesn’t involve cannon fodder.
And the person who figures that out will be my hero.
Lori Falce is a Tribune-Review community engagement editor. You can contact Lori at [email protected].