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Don’t Mess With Courage

December 21, 2009

I just finished watching Inglorious Basterds, actually I’m still watching the extended and alternate scenes, so it’s not quite over, but it got me thinking about the people we encounter in our lives who have the courage to stand up for what’s right. Have you seen the movie? The scene where the French dairy farmer gives up the Jewish family that is hiding under his floorboards is really heartbreaking. Usually a scene like that will leave me feeling disgust for the person who betrayed another for his own well-being, but in this scene you only felt sympathy for the man. He clearly had no other choice. 

No, I take that back, he did have a choice (we always have a choice), but in this instance the possible outcomes were quite clear, and he did what he could to save his family when it became clear he couldn’t save the family who had been hiding in his home for over a year. 

On a daily basis, the situations we face are not as drastic as those of the Third Reich (at least not in the life I live in Canada), but there are definitely moments in all of our lives when there’s an opportunity for you to stand up and help protect someone else, often at your own peril. The examples might not be obvious or you might not even notice them,  but they are there. That is certain. Whether it’s someone showing their disapproval for a racist joke or literally putting themselves in harm’s way to stop physical violence against someone else, it happens and it happens often enough that it gives some sense of faith concerning the fate of mankind. 

Recently, one of my friend’s was telling me about his night at our local pub where all hell broke loose, windows were broken and punches were thrown. Without getting into all the details, a patron of the bar intervened in a couples dispute. His intentions were noble, if not a little misplaced, and he and the male counterpart of the original dispute got into a fight. A rather violent one, from what I heard. The damsel in distress’ husband got thrown through a glass plate window. Ok, so he didn’t go through the window, but simply shattered it when his body made full contact with the surface. The intent was clear, damage was meant to be done. 

Now, the white knight’s brother, a mean looking man, decided to jump in even though his brother clearly had the upper hand in this skirmish. At which moment, onlookers who wanted to avoid the imminent massacre tried to restrain the man from helping his brother beat the living daylight out of someone. I know, usually people don’t intervene in this type of thing, but the man was HUGE and it’s our local pub, which means that everyone knows everyone else and although the white knight had good intentions, everyone knew that the quarrel he jumped in to stop was not a case of domestic abuse, but rather a drunken argument. 

The part where the story gets interesting, is that the sister-in-law of the man being dragged all over the curb stepped in front of the MASS of muscle known as the brother trying to get in on the fight. Several other men were holding this man back, and she (tiny thing that she is) stepped in front of him, using her body as a barricade, and told him that that was her sister’s husband and that he would have to go through her to get to him. 

The huge man, had almost lost all sense of reasoning at this moment. He saw red, and wanted to help his brother no matter the cost. The men trying to restrain him saw this in his eyes and it certainly didn’t escape my friend that he might have to step in to protect her for the exact same reason that the huge man’s brother had started this fight in the first place. Whoa, did you all follow that? It’s a tricky one, I know. 

What’s kind of funny (but not) is that it was in part very courageous of the sister-in-law to step-in. Hell she stood up to a drunken man four times her size, who was out for blood. That needs to be applauded, but part of the reason why she was able to do so is because she was a girl four times smaller than him. Any guy who would have step-in would have been punched square in the face and if you are a girl in the same situation you do what needs to be done, but somewhere you are instilled with the idea that no man in his right man is going to hit you. It’s a gamble, and good for her for being willing to take it, but it just makes me wonder about the social ideas we are instilled with when it comes to this kind of situation. 

What are you thoughts, or do you have any examples of people stepping in to help someone else?

P.S. Everything turned out all right. 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Wayne permalink
    December 21, 2009 9:35 pm

    I’ve spent many years doing volunteer work, mostly with needy and homeless people. The instances I’ve seen have been small, and seemed inconsequential taken singly, but I am alwasy amazed and awed by tthe rare person who stands up to their crowd of friends when they are verbaly harrasing or making derogatory comments about someone less fortunate than themselves. I myself have a bit of a trip wire when it comes to anything I perceive as bullying.

  2. Lene permalink
    December 25, 2009 11:04 am

    she is courageous all right. But a bit senseless because some men don’t care if it’s a girl or not. I’ve couple of friends (girls) who got it in the stomach or in the face by drunken bastards because they were trying to help out another friend or calm down the situation.
    Have you seen this show on MTV where the girls gets violently punched in the face by a guy (I never watched the show but it was all over youtube). People were messaging that she was a skunk, she deserved it, she should have known better than getting into an argument with a drunk guy blablabla … it amazes me to see how much people actually think that a girl standing up for herself against a drunk guy should excepct to be punched in the face!
    it’s so wrong!

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