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Hero or Fool? What's the Line Between the Two?

A Webster Groves man held burglars at gunpoint. A Manchester officer stormed a blazing car. When is it heroic, and when is it plain silly?

A man in at gunpoint — a move city .

"The best course is to immediately report suspected criminal activity to the police, safely observe and then report any information," police told Patch after the incident.

One reader called the man a hero for standing up and taking action. Others told Patch he was needless risking his life.

What's the line between being a fool and being a "hero"? The news this month is sprinkled with "hero" stories from around the St. Louis area.

for risking their lives in a attempt to save an elderly woman from a fire in June.

A — a drama caught on the dashboard camera of the officer's patrol car.

In O'Fallon, a . Though the officer didn't risk his life, mom certainly considered him a hero and the city honored him in a public meeting this month.

Where would you draw the line between a hero and someone who is taking unnecessary risks? Is there something about directly saving a life, versus thwarting a crime? Is there a situation where a thwarted crime might seem heroic? Do you know someone who has been in a similar situation, someone you have described as a hero? Tell us the story!

Ray Antonacci August 31, 2012 at 01:29 PM
The line between Hero and fool is the same line between life and death. As a retired FF/EMT-P, we are trained to protect ourselves, wait for your partner and and always have a plan. But month after month the firefighter trade magazines honor the men and women who enter houses fully ablaze without backup, without their partner and without a hoseline. They are heroes because they saved someone's life. However if they would have followed protocol a life may have been lost. No one can plan to be a hero. It just happens. When A life is at stake many will risk their own life but if it is only property, let it go.
Sheri Gassaway August 31, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Thanks for commenting Ray! Love the last line!
Fred Oompahloompah August 31, 2012 at 03:11 PM
We had a reported incident in our neighborhood where a couple observed a man shinning a flash light in the window of their home. They called the St. Peters police but went out side their home to confront the man in their driveway before "back up" arrived! That seemed foolish to me not heroic even though no ones life was in danger except possibly their own by their foolish action! They were lucky that he moved on with out a confrontation or worse gunning them down! No mention was made by the police that what this couple did was dangerous and foolish. You can not fix stupid!
Rahib September 05, 2012 at 09:10 PM
A life is more valuable than any "stuff." Don't get shot protecting your T.V.

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