What Makes a Hero?

Topics: Hero, Oprah Winfrey, Stanford prison experiment Pages: 3 (1209 words) Published: November 20, 2011
What is a Hero?
What is a hero? What makes him or her different from everyone else? In Phillip Zimbardo’s article “What Makes a Hero?” he states that heroes surround us. One in five or 20 percent of people qualify as heroes. Seventy-two percent of people report helping another person in a dangerous emergency. Sixteen percent report whistle blowing on an injustice. Six percent report sacrificing for a non-relative or stranger and fifteen percent report defying an unjust authority (1). Although, I do feel like all people are heroes in certain circumstances I think some specific attributes exist that aid in making a hero. I feel like heroes must contain selflessness with a concern for other‘s needs, volition or the ability to confront a choice, and to perform without expectation of personal gain.

The definition of selflessness is the quality of concern for the welfare of others over your own welfare (“Selflessness“). Selflessness is a very important attribute that a hero must have. Without a concern for others a hero will never exist. Jeff May is an example of a hero who very much demonstrated selflessness on a school day on March 21, 2005. As May was finishing up his homework with just a few minutes of class left his classmate, Jeff Weise, entered the classroom and began shooting at the students. As Weise stopped to reload May took this opportunity to tackle him in an attempt to stop the shooter. After wrestling around, Weise shot May in the face several times. May had to be airlifted to a hospital over a hundred miles away and faced years of physical, speech, and occupational therapy. Still, lying in his hospital bed two months after the shooting, May says if he had to relive that day, he would once again abandon the shelter of the overturned table and try to stop the shooter. Why? “To make sure so many people don’t die,” he says (Rosengren). Obviously, selflessness is a very important attribute that a hero must have.

Next, another attribute that I think...
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