Friday, July 15, 2011


I am amazed at the wide disparity that exists between the everyday obscenities that can hide in the human heart and the remarkable act of selflessness that surfaces sometimes.  I'm thinking of the true American hero who was interviewed by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show this week, Sergeant First Class Leroy A. Petry.  Sgt. Petry was wounded in Afghanistan when he helped lead an assault on a compound in Paktry.  After being shot through both legs, he continued to lead his inexperienced men to safety and lost his right hand when he picked up an armed "pineapple" grenade and threw it away from his men, only to have it explode just as he released it.  This action, while costing him his hand, did serve to save his men by directing the force of the explosion away from them.  After tying on his own tourniquet, Sgt. Petry continued to fight until relieved.

Then I compare that level of behavior to that of, say, the idiots who see you trying to merge your car into traffic and speed up to prevent you from doing so.  Or who cut in front of you at the checkout line.  Or who engage in any number of idiotic, unnecessary and uncharitable behaviors on any given day.  Not to mention the greater, grosser evils of murder and abuse and other criminal activity.

We are capable of greatness.  It's why I love science fiction, particularly things like Star Trek or Green Lantern, things which automatically assume that there is hope for human beings, that we have a future where we finally set aside our differences in the pursuit of greatness.  Selfless acts like those of Sgt. Petry give me hope for us as a species.

Then, of course, I go to the grocery store and see a fight over fresh corn.

It does give one pause.

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