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What exactly is a hero?

  1. Apr 15, 2009 #1

    mgb_phys

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    A helicopter carrying workers back from an oil rig crashes - apparently the dead passengers are heros - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/north_east/7997950.stm

    Yes it's sad and ironic that the off shore industry has such a good safety record that almost all the fatalities for the last 20years have been from helicopter crashes (frankly if God had meant helicopters to fly he would have given them wings) but how exactly does that make them heroes?

    Are the passengers of the turbo-prop crash in Buffalo heroes? They were going to work in just the same way.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 15, 2009 #2
    Well, if they hadn't been in the helicopter someone else would have died. So in a way they boldly sacrificed their lives for the sake of others.
     
  4. Apr 15, 2009 #3
    I guess they were compensated for that by high wages?

    I thought about it some time ago...

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=252183

    So definitely, these aren't heroes.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  5. Apr 15, 2009 #4
    I believe in times of condolence, the word hero, often is used in such a manor. I wouldn't quibble over its use at such a time.
     
  6. Apr 15, 2009 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    Perhaps a broader definition of hero is invoked here: People who do hard, dangerous work, everyday, in order to support their families.
     
  7. Apr 15, 2009 #6
    That would make almost everyone on earth a hero.

    I guess the stereotypical hero should be someone putting ones own life at risk to save another.
     
  8. Apr 15, 2009 #7

    mgb_phys

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    I think in this case I think it was a bit of cynical electioneering between the PM and the Scottish nationalists.
    Like how dead union members are heroes to right wing politicians AFTER a mining accident
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2009
  9. Apr 15, 2009 #8

    DaveC426913

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    If you read the quote in context, it makes more sense:

    "...it serves to remind us of those who are the heroes of this industry ... have paid the ultimate price for the richness harvested below the seabed."

    i.e. they are heroes in their industry because they have the most dangerous and least-enviable (safety-wise) jobs of anyone. The industry wouldn't exist if brave men didn't risk their lives doing the actual drilling.


    In my opinion it becomes a non-issue, not worthy of being sensationalized by propogating the meme out of context.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2009
  10. Apr 15, 2009 #9
    a hero is one who is willing to sacrifice even his life for the sake of many...but i prefer heroes who live after doing the job ought to be done.:wink:
     
  11. Apr 15, 2009 #10
    The vast majority of people, when confronted with an extreme situation, freeze in fear, or contemplation, or whatever happens to be relevant to the situation. A minority of people are able to keep their head cool and react appropriately. They are heroes. It pretty much can not be predicted how one will react until actually in situation.

    One important word is "appropriately". I assume that it obvious one will sacrifice his life if it can save many. If you are selfish to begin with, it is not very interesting to ask whether you will act as a hero when needed.

    Those people would not qualify as heroes, but I don't really care about them honestly.
     
  12. Apr 15, 2009 #11

    russ_watters

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    I jumped out of an airplane once for fun. Jumping out of an airplane is far more inherrently dangerous than flying in a helicopter to an oil rig. So I'm a hero, right?
     
  13. Apr 15, 2009 #12

    berkeman

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    There's a new definition and picture in the dictionary for Hero...
     

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  14. Apr 15, 2009 #13
    So, these are also heroes then?

    http://www.globalenvision.org/files/trashpickers.jpg [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  15. Apr 15, 2009 #14
    They died working to obtain america's life blood...i'm sure any SUV owner would tell you these men are heros...i happen to live in an area populated by oil field workers, and let me tell you, most of them are crack heads with few fingers and few teeth
     
  16. Apr 15, 2009 #15

    DaveC426913

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    You sort of ignored the rest of the comment.

    Is an industry depending on you jumping out of that plane?
     
  17. Apr 15, 2009 #16

    DaveC426913

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    This is relevant how?
     
  18. Apr 15, 2009 #17
    they were oil rig workers, i don't see how it makes them heros that they died in a helicopter crash...death in itself is not a heroic act, neither is working on an oil rig
     
  19. Apr 15, 2009 #18

    russ_watters

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    I took the half that waht didn't. You said:
    ....which says both that they are heroes for doing their jobs (and as waht pointed out, so does almost everyone else on earth...), and that they are heroes because what they do is dangerous: and so is skydiving.
    Yes! The skydiving industry.

    Anyway, neither criteria alone allows you to consider an activity "heroic", then perhaps it is the combination of the two: doing your job and the fact that the job is dangerous. But why is it more heroic to get paid to do something dangerous than it is to it for free (or even to pay)?

    Is a fighter pilot who never sees combat a hero?
    Yes, so why when you combine the two does that make them heroes?
     
  20. Apr 15, 2009 #19

    russ_watters

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    Today, a designer in my office had to go into a manhole to survey some underground steam piping. That is dangerous - people die from asphyxiation in manholes. But the successful completion of project depends on him doing it.

    Hero?
     
  21. Apr 16, 2009 #20
    A hero is someone who performs actions,which are for the good, whilst fighting their own personal fears.It is heroic for a severe agoraphobic to venture out to the shops.
     
  22. Apr 16, 2009 #21
    Interesting perspective. Something similar was suggested by a professor to a group of professionals: “If a small child was standing in the street about to be hit by an oncoming truck, would anyone in the group take the risk of saving the child with the possibility of he or she being hit?" The census from the group: Those with children or a child of their own would not take the risk and those without children or a child would.
     
  23. Apr 16, 2009 #22
    Ed Freeman, True Hero

    You're an 18 or 19 year old kid. You're critically wounded, and dying in the jungle in the Ia Drang Valley, 11-14-1965. LZ Xray, Vietnam.

    Your infantry unit is outnumbered 8 - 1, and the enemy fire is so intense,from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own Infantry Commander has ordered the MediVac helicopters to stop coming in.

    You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you're not getting out. Your family is 1/2 way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you'll never see them again. As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.

    Then, over the machine gun noise, you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter, and you look up to see an un-armed Huey, but it doesn't seem real, because no Medi-Vac markings are on it.

    Ed Freeman is coming for you. He's not Medi-Vac, so it's not his job, but he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire, after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come.

    He's coming anyway. And he drops it in, and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 2 or 3 of you on board. Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire, to the Doctors and Nurses.

    And, he kept coming back...13 more times...and took about 30 of you and your buddies out, who would never have gotten out.

    Medal of Honor recipient Ed Freemandied last month at the age of 80 in Boise, ID

    May God rest his soul.
     
  24. Apr 16, 2009 #23
    seriously, can't we just invent robots to do this stuff...they take unenviable jobs because they have unenviable lives, usually with criminal backgrounds or drug problems...lots of them didn't graduate high school...i guess if you can call having a job instead of claiming wellfare heroic, then sure, they are heros....there will always be someone to do any job...i just don't feel like pumping oil makes someone a hero...but then again i live a fairly green existance
     
  25. Apr 16, 2009 #24
    Oh dear Altruist.These are not the sort of comments one would expect of an altruist.
     
  26. Apr 16, 2009 #25

    mgb_phys

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    Not in the North Sea they don't - one drug test and you are 'not wanted back'
    A lot of the technology is being automated, and the next generation of deep wells in the Atlantic will be drilled entirley on the sea floor. Ironically this means a lot more high skilled people on the rigs to keep all this technology working. Production platforms are a lot more civilised than exploration rigs.
    I work for a company that makes equipment for drilling rigs, there is still a lot of rough work on a drilling platform just because crews are (at the moment) cheaper than building reliable enough automatic offshore systems. Land drilling rigs are becoming almost fully automated.

    The odd thing in such a risky environment is that the safety standards are so high that the risk of accident at work is vastly lower than say a construction site or a farm. You spend a day at a site in endless safety briefings about which kind of rechargeable battery is allowed because of some tiny theoretical risk - and then everybody drives off at 100mph on icy roads in huge pickup trucks. As long as they crash off-site it doesn't count.
     
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