Who was that Masked Man?

Isn’t Batman great?  Wouldn’t it be cool to be like him?  Or, how about video games, wouldn’t it be great to have super powers, and use them to thwart crime?  We’ve all thought about it.  Heroes are something that we are trained from childhood to admire.  But the truth is that there are very few true heroes in the world.

Heroic is a superlative that is applied to all sorts of situation but in most cases it is just hyperbolae.  I have heard people refer to persons who give to charity as heroes or those who donate their time as heroes.  Honestly, there is nothing heroic about these actions.  They are definitely laudable and admirable, but not heroic.  The simple truth is that most people are never faced with a situation in which they can truly choose to be heroic.

Some people definitely are placed in situations where they have the opportunity to be heroic.  These are people who, when given the opportunity, rise to the occasion.  The perfect example of this is the World Trade Center disaster.  In this situation, lots of people took the opportunity to become heroes, and put themselves in harm’s way in the hope of saving other people.

Policemen, firemen, and paramedics are more likely to find themselves in situations where they can truly act heroically.  Soldiers, during a time of war, have even greater and more frequent opportunities to become heroes.  But, even these people have to be prepared when the opportunity to become a true hero arises.

These avenues are open for the person who has the desire to become a hero, but still there is no guarantee that a situation will arise where heroic actions are required.  This brings me to 20-year-old Tadeusz Tertkiewicz and 19-year-old Jesse Trojaniak.  These guys wanted to be heroes so they dressed up as ninjas (Really.  Wouldn’t a cape have been more appropriate?), armed themselves with knives, throwing stars, swords, nunchucks and a bow and arrows, put on some extra body armor, and went out looking for some drug dealers.

Luckily for the world, these two were apprehended by police before they could cause the mayhem that their plan (and I use this word loosely) would have inevitably have inspired.  They were charged with ‘weapons possession’ which is about the best thing that could have happened to them.  Almost every other possibility would have led to worse results.

Obviously these two are not very good a thinking logically or planning ahead.  What did they think was going to happen when they jumped out and challenged the drug dealers?  Mostly likely the drug dealers would have met their martial arts weapons with superior weapons of their own such as nine millimeter automatic pistols that fire 13 shots as fast as a person can pull the trigger.  Even if the drug dealers had surrendered immediately, the police would have these two with ‘assault with a deadly weapon(s).’  This is much worse than a mere weapons possession charge. 

Most likely the only way for them to have been effective against the drug dealers would have been for them to have a preemptive assault on their quarry.  In this case, these are only two successful possibilities, and both are bad: 1) that they simply beat the drug dealers into submission with their nunchucks, and 2) that they shoot them full of arrows before they can draw their guns.  The charges for these two crimes would have been ‘assault with a deadly weapon’ or ‘first degree premeditated murder,’ depending on the outcome of the assault.  In the end, my money would have been on the drug dealers, and their self-defense argument would have held up in any court.

I hope that if I ever have the opportunity to be a real hero that I take it.  I think I would try to save the drowning person, and would probably enter a house that was on fire if I knew there was someone in there.  But I realize in that in the case of non-violent crimes, it is the job of the police to deal with these.  And, to all kids out there: Keep your hero fantasies to the computer until you are ready to put out the effort and put your butt on the line as a peace officer, firemen, paramedic or soldier.

I Don’t Get It

It may be that I was born into a Christian home where I was taught to have some sort of positive life outlook (that, of course, was before I planted and nurtured my little garden of cynicism), but I just do not get the whole culture of revenge without the thought of right or wrong or even the cost to the person who is attempting to get revenge on the other person.  My mother used to say, “You would cut off your nose to spite your face.”  The sad truth is that many people do just that. 

The most frightening thing is that we live in a world full of these people.  Some of them limit their self-destructive, vengeful attitudes to a nice case of hypertension and a heart attack, but others are like young Eder Rojas.

Eder was, up until recently, a flight attendant for Compass Airlines.  He was unhappy about the route that he had been assigned, so he decided to do something about it.  He, of course, spurned the normal avenues that he might have pursued to achieve his goal of a new route.  He could have formally requested a transfer and then filed a grievance with his union if it was not granted.  He could have put in the time it took to actually get the seniority needed to allow him to choose his route.  He could have tried to be such an asset to his company that they would have changed his route out of gratitude.  He could have even found a new airline or perhaps even a new field to work in that would have better worked with his desires.  None of these normal options were good enough for Eder.  No, this brainchild’s solution was to enter the lavatory during flight and set it on fire.  Genius.

I would like to have a few minutes alone with this idiot and a bat.  I would ask him questions, and then hit him with the bat.  The questions I think need to be answered, and the bat, well, that would just make me feel better.

The first question I would ask would be, “Did you for one minute take into consideration the lives of all of the innocent people on board the plane (which was everyone but him) before you lit the match?”  Releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide in the confined environment of any airplane can have disastrous consequences.  The air in a plane is not vented.  It is re-circulated through the cabin.  This would only cause the oxygen to be used up by the fire while the CO2 would become more concentrated.  You would think that there would be some mention of the danger of fire onboard an airplane during the training of a flight attendant.


The next question I would ask would be, “What were you trying to accomplish?  So, you were mad that you did not get your way when you were assigned your route.  Your solution to this is to set a fire and possibly kill yourself and a planeload of people?”  Assuming that he thought the plane would make it through OK, what would he have gotten out of the deal.  Is there any way in hell that his route gets changed?  Even if the plane were grounded, wouldn’t the airline just plug another plane into that route, and wouldn’t that airline still need a flight attendant on the plane?


The final question would be, “Didn’t you consider the risk/reward at all when planning this action?”  Of course not, this 19 year old, petulant little child got his panties in a wad and tried to ‘get back’ at those he was mad at (I still do not know how this would accomplish that goal).  The risk, beyond death and murder, was the sentence of twenty years in federal prison (no parole) that he now faces for his actions, and the craziest part is, there was no conceivable reward for his actions.  I once heard a FBI agent say that bank robbery was the stupidest crime you could commit, because of the risk/reward.  Most bank robbers get away with less than $2000.  There is a high probability that you will be caught, and the decades of federal time for bank robbery make it a high risk, low reward, crime.  But, at least there is $2000 worth of reward coming to the successful bank robber.  In Eder’s (I refuse to call him by his last name, as that might be taken as a sign that I think he is mature enough to address as a man) case there was no possible positive reward for him.  He is just a complete fool, and the 20 years of man-love of which he will be the recipient are simply just desserts.  On the other hand, he is a flight attendant.