"Civil courage...depends on a God who demands responsible action in a bold venture of faith, and who promises forgiveness and consolation to the man who becomes a sinner in that venture." --Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"Aurora heroes: Three who gave their lives"

In my previous post on the Century 16 Shooting, I addressed the following comment about the victims, "When the Joker attacked them, Batman wasn’t there to save them." Further reflection has caused me to see the shameful error in that statement. Although Batman never arrived to vanquish evil and protect innocent life, there were men in that theater who gave their lives for those they loved. 

The following is an excerpt from a piece William Bennett wrote honoring the lives of three men whose acts of valor saved the lives of their girlfriends. 

Great evil often brings out the best in good men, men like Todd Beamer on Flight 93, Medal of Honor recipient Michael Murphy in Afghanistan and now the Aurora three -- the three young men, each in different parts of theater nine, who gave their lives to protect their girlfriends.
Twenty-five-year-old Jon Blunk was sitting next to his girlfriend, Jansen Young, at the midnight premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises" when the gunman (who shall remain nameless) opened fire in the dark theater. Blunk instinctively pushed his girlfriend to the ground and threw his body on top of hers. Blunk, a security guard, served five years in the Navy and was in the process of re-enlisting in hopes of becoming a Navy SEAL, family and friends said. He was killed in the gunfire; his girlfriend survived.
Twenty-four-year-old Alex Teves dived on top of his girlfriend, Amanda Lindgren, when the gunfire erupted. Covering her body, he took the bullets so they did not harm her. She survived the massacre; he did not.
Matt McQuinn, 27 years old, threw his body in front of his girlfriend, Samantha Yowler, as the shooting continued. Yowler survived with a gunshot wound to the knee; McQuinn's body absorbed the fatal shots.
These men were three of the 12 innocent people killed early that morning. Their incredible sacrifice leaves us asking: Why? Why would a young man with his entire life ahead of him risk everything for a woman he has no legal, financial or marital obligations to?
As Hanna Rosin so eloquently pointed out in a recent article, calling it chivalry would be a tremendous understatement. By all appearances, these men believed that a man has a responsibility to protect a woman, even to the point of death. They believed that there are things in life worth dying for and the innocent woman sitting next to them was one.
They believed, to put it simply, in a code of honor. They put the lives of the women before their own, an old fashioned notion to be sure, but certainly an honorable one (if you have any doubt, ask the survivors). Their instincts were to protect, not run away.
The heroes of Century 16 shared a code of honor that superheros have held since the first comic strip ever to be published. This stands as my tribute to the Aurora heroes, written by a man with far more eloquence and experience than I.

For the full article, click here.

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