Do Real Life Heroes Exist?


Maayan Shilon, Journalist

The question of what traits make up a hero, a person who is defined as someone with admired courage, is as simple as it can get. However, what traits actually make a real life hero and not just in cartoons? In movies heroes or even superheroes are sometimes portrayed as just a normal person until some bad force shows up that they have to take down. People end up usually favoring the hero since they just saved their lives and defeated the opposing side. However not everyone always likes that hero and has their own perspective on the hero. 

An example of  a “hero” being seen from two different perspectives is Christopher Columbus, who was a Italian explorer and navigator. When Christopher Columbus first stepped foot on a place called Hispaniola he encountered a group of Indonegious people who welcomed him and offered him good trades. In return Christopher Columbus noticed how they were not armed and decided to enslave these people that welcomed him with open arms. However in history books they still decide to show him as a hero who discovered America even though he wasn’t the first to discover this new land as it had already had inhabitants. All that he really did was his journey brought a new view to exploration. Some people see him as a hero who discovered America and others view him as the person who took credit for already discovered land and enslaved innocent people. 

Another huge real life example recently is the police. A police officer’s job is to maintain the law. A lot of people see them as people who are there to protect them and enforce law to help the community. Recently thoughts about some police, not all, a new view was seen on them. Some people now see the police as people who are enforcing wrong things and using abusive systems to deal with situations. For example how in Nevada an officer shot and injured an innocent 15 year old kid who was thought of robbing a convenience store with the only proof that he was holding something in his hand which wasn’t even hurtful to anyone. Incidents like this can also cause people to have a negative perspective on the police. 

Even in cartoons and movies there isn’t a true hero. If the situation of a superhero with supernatural powers attracts a villain to a city, it could cause destruction and chaos to the city. Which could easily be blamed on not just the villain but also the so-called hero. 

A simple question can be used to represent this. If there was a train that had 20 passengers and was about to hit a brick wall, they could save them but to save them they would have to turn the lever to the train tracks but it would hit 5 of their close family/friends. If the person decided to save the 20 people they would be heartless due to the fact they let their close family/friends die. However if they picked to crash the 20 people they would be considered a monster for letting a majority of people die. 

The way society pictures people, there is no perfect hero, no traits that can make up a hero due to the main fact of how society pictures people. In every different perspective there could be different flaws pointed out like with Christopher Columbus and how history books picture him.