What exactly is a hero?

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  • #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.
 

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  • #2
misgfool
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.
 
  • #3
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So in a way they boldly sacrificed their lives for the sake of others.

I guess they were compensated for that by high wages?

I thought about it some time ago...

Mine are (brave ordinary people who changed the world):

Tank Man


Nelson Mandela
Gandhi

Dorothy Counts (I don't know much about her)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7DUu...eature=related

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

So definitely, these aren't heroes.
 
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  • #4
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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.
 
  • #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.
 
  • #6
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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.

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.
 
  • #7
mgb_phys
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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.
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
 
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  • #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.
 
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  • #9
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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:
 
  • #10
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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.
 
  • #11
russ_watters
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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.
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?
 
  • #12
berkeman
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There's a new definition and picture in the dictionary for Hero...
 

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  • #13
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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.

So, these are also heroes then?

http://www.globalenvision.org/files/trashpickers.jpg [Broken]
 
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  • #14
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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
 
  • #15
DaveC426913
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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?
You sort of ignored the rest of the comment.

Is an industry depending on you jumping out of that plane?
 
  • #16
DaveC426913
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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
This is relevant how?
 
  • #17
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This is relevant how?

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
 
  • #18
russ_watters
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You sort of ignored the rest of the comment.
I took the half that waht didn't. You said:
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.
....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.
Is an industry depending on you jumping out of that plane?
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?
Altruist said:
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
Yes, so why when you combine the two does that make them heroes?
 
  • #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?
 
  • #20
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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.
 
  • #21
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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:

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.
 
  • #22
seycyrus
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.
 
  • #23
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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
 
  • #24
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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

Oh dear Altruist.These are not the sort of comments one would expect of an altruist.
 
  • #25
mgb_phys
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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...
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.
 
  • #26
DaveC426913
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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
"...most of them are crack heads with few fingers and few teeth..."

And this elucidates the issue how?
 
  • #27
DaveC426913
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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?
A much better example.



My point is that they're claiming that their industry sees them as heroes within their industry. Those who depend on them don't have to answer to anyone as to who they consider heroic.

So, if uh ... manhole spelunkers are heroes, that's up to the uh ... steam industry to decide for themselves.


I'm not saying they're heroes, I'm just framing the story in perspective, which makes it much less sensational.
 
  • #28
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From Stevie Wonder's "Front Line":

"who's more a man
Than a man with a reason that's worth dyin' for"

__________


Perhaps heroes are those who achieve and redefine society's greatest ideals of sacrifice.
 
  • #29
Evo
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I guess the stereotypical hero should be someone putting ones own life at risk to save another.
That would be my definition, except I would extend it to say "the stereotypical hero should be someone putting ones own life at risk to save another life". Animals have to be counted too. I've seen many articles where a fire fighter has risked their life to save an animal.

Someone that risks their safety just to get paid is not a hero in my book. You have to be willing to make a selfless decision that saves another life.

In another category, I would call someone that saves "things" as being a hero. Would someone risking their life to save an important ancient book be a hero or a fool? What would someone risking their life to save a child's favorite teddy bear be considered?
 
  • #30
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That would be my definition, except I would extend it to say "the stereotypical hero should be someone putting ones own life at risk to save another life". Animals have to be counted too. I've seen many articles where a fire fighter has risked their life to save an animal.

Someone that risks their safety just to get paid is not a hero in my book. You have to be willing to make a selfless decision that saves another life.


It doesn't include people like Nelson Mandela or Gandhi.

I think heroes are people whose contributions cannot be compensated with the available resources, and who are unique/irreplaceable for what they do. If we use this definition, then firefighters work don't cost as much as people like Nelson Mandela's work.
 
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  • #31
Evo
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It doesn't include people like Nelson Mandela or Gandhi.

I think heroes are people whose contributions cannot be compensated with the available resources, and who are unique/irreplaceable for what they do. If we use this definition, then firefighters work don't cost as much as people like Nelson Mandela's work.
I don't see them as a definition of "hero". What they did was not "heroic" (in my definition).

What they did might be for the good of others, it might have entailed great personal "sacrifice" of personal conveniences, but it was not "heroic", not in my interpretation. A heroic instance would be deciding to be put to death instead of telling where a political fugitive was hidden. Fasting, negotiating, even willing to go to jail, is not on the same level, although it is to be admired, IMO.

It really comes down to your own personal definition, doesn't it? Doing a great deed that entails personal sacrifice, I could see how some would say it's heroic. It's just not the first thing that comes to my mind.
 
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  • #32
turbo
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"Hero" is a word that is tossed around too lightly these days. I know a hero. A friend of mine was a Navy Doctor in Viet Nam. When the fighting was hot around Khe Sanh, Eddie Feldman would insist on grabbing an M-16 and hitching a ride on one of the medivac helicopters, because he felt that "first aid" might not be enough to keep wounded Marines alive long enough to be evacuated to his field hospital. During one such firefight, he noticed one wounded Marine being given a wide berth by the other troops. The guy had a live mortar round embedded in his abdomen. Eddie removed that mortar round with his bare hands at the risk of his own life, and had the round moved away for detonation so he could treat the fallen soldier. The Marine lived, thanks to Eddie's bravery and subsequent treatment at the field hospital. Eddie was awarded a Silver Star, which was faint praise, indeed. Where's his Medal of Honor? That Marine would have died on the battlefield without my friend's help. Nobody wanted to touch him, much less load him onto a helicopter with other wounded to be evacuated to the hospital - too many lives at risk with a live mortar round embedded in him.

When I hear somebody being called a hero because they got killed just doing their job (no matter how essential or mundane) it makes me think of Eddie, and people like him who knowingly and willingly put their lives on the line to save others. IMO, those are essential elements of heroism.
 
  • #33
russ_watters
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A much better example.
That was a question, not a statement. I suppose, then that you would answer yes?
My point is that they're claiming that their industry sees them as heroes within their industry. Those who depend on them don't have to answer to anyone as to who they consider heroic.
I know, Dave. The statement carries no real consequences to the person who says it, but that doesn't automatically mean it is a proper usage of the word. You seem to be missing the point of the thread - the point is to judge whether that usage is correct or not.
So, if uh ... manhole spelunkers are heroes, that's up to the uh ... steam industry to decide for themselves.
Really? Wow, does the same apply to other words? Should we ask convicted cop killer Mumia Abu Jamal if he is a "murderer" or not and release or execute him based on his response?

I'm pedantic logical and therefore it annoys me when people misuse words. Sometimes a word can be misused purposely as the literary device of exaggeration, and if I've told you once I've told you a thousand times, that's fine....but it isn't fine in all cases. This particular word has a special importance to me because I was in the military and more than a lot of other words, it annoys me when people throw it around so haphazardly. To put a finer point on it, it is an insult to Ed Freemandied and Richard Phillips to call these people heroes.
 
  • #34
russ_watters
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It doesn't include people like Nelson Mandela or Gandhi.
Perhaps it does: did they risk their lives for a cause that helped save the lives of others? Certainly, it isn't as direct and immediate a circumstance as jumping on a grenade, but to me the criteria is still met.
 
  • #35
russ_watters
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Eddie was awarded a Silver Star, which was faint praise, indeed. Where's his Medal of Honor?
Though a medal of honor is viewed publicly as being somehow different, it is a faint line indeed between a sliver star and a medal of honor. The primary difference is that a medal of honor usually involves actual injury instead of just the risk of injury and/or the length of time exposed to the risk. Also, while he certainly assumed a high risk while he was doing it, perhaps in the postmortem, it was decided the risk wasn't as high as he thought it was.
 

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