Who is the Hero?


I am going to present a scenario, you decide who, if anyone, is the hero. There is an on-duty police officer shopping in a convenience store when two robbers, Robber 1 (R1) and Robber 2 (R2), (they don’t know the police officer is inside) enter the store. R1 stays at the front door to keep watch while R2 walks up to the counter, pulls a gun on the unarmed cashier and demands all the money in the cash register.

The cashier refuses, and R2 grows impatient, raises his voice and says, “If you don’t hand over the money I will shoot you in the head!” At this point, the police officer pulls his gun and fires a shot at R2 and hits him in the arm, R2 drops to the ground. The police officer, with his gun drawn, starts toward R2. R1 sees this and fires a shot at the police officer. Gunfire is exchanged by all three men and when it is all over, the police officer gets the worst of it. He is rushed o the hospital, but there is nothing anyone can do. Sadly, he passes away.

Would you consider R1 to be a hero for potentially saving the life of his friend? Some of you might think so, but others are probably thinking, “No, these 2 robbers intruded on someone else’s property. The officer was merely acting in defense of the cashier, just like any other capable citizen would have done.” Could this story be analogous to any other situation?

What if, instead of a store, the battleground was a foreign country? Instead of robbers we have invading armies and the cashier is a private citizen of the foreign land? We’ll say the store owner, who wasn’t present at the time, could be the president of this foreign land. Does who the characters work for change your opinion?

I’ll change the scenario a little bit. Let’s say the store owner of the store next door once attacked the robbers’ friends and he happens to be the same religion as original store owner? Should we now praise the robber and call him a hero? What if the store owner mistreats some of his employees, would robbing him be ethical or morally acceptable? What if someone said the store owner had weapons of mass destruction, would it be praise worthy to get rich off invading his store and killing those defending the store whether he actually had these weapons or not?