W10, #10: THE BYSTANDER CHOICE

Who: All periods

Set-Up: Many would agree that Samneric is the most interesting character (or characters) on the island because they seem to resemble the typical human choice:  fit into the crowd so you don’t get hurt for trying to be a hero/leader.

Challenge:

  • Take a look at Matt Langdon’s “Hero Workshop” blog where he wrote an interesting story (link to his “Please Don’t Be A Bystander” entry) about an 85 year old man in England who single-handedly stopped 2 sledgehammer-wielding thieves from breaking into a store.
  • Write a reaction to the man’s own quoted explanation of why he got involved, as well as why you think he made a choice that nobody else on that sidewalk did.

Length: 7+ sentences

P.S. for Periods 1, 2, & 3 only:

Mr. Long was proud to see that that Matt wrote a greatt reaction to having a Skype video chat with you guys last week.  I think you’ll appreciate it, too.

Feel free to also leave a comment on his blog (although this is not for credit; do it if you’re simply appreciative of how impressed he was by you and your follow-up blog comments).

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52 responses to “W10, #10: THE BYSTANDER CHOICE

  1. My first reaction was to say: “yes you are a hero.” True he may not have literally saved a life, but by stopping that thief he helped him by keeping him from doing something he would regret later on in his life. He helped that man. He saved him from too much regret and possibly time in prison. He was willing to do what others wouldn’t; he was willing to chance his life to stop these robbers. That is what makes him a hero. I think he made that choice just for the reason he said he did. It was instinct.

    This man very much reminds me of the character Jack Ryan in Patriot Games. Both acted on instinct and both did what so many wouldn’t. They stopped what was happening. They didn’t just stand there, they took the risk and their dart landed in the hero area of their internal dartboard. He also did this simply to stop the criminal act. It wasn’t acceptable, so he stopped it. Whether he acknowledges it or not, he is a hero.

  2. The fact that this man said, “I’m not a hero” makes him a hero.

    It doesn’t matter what a person does to help other people, they’re still not a true hero unless they have the right reasons for doing the deed. If the “hero” does this for fame, money, or something in return, then they’re not really a hero. There are plenty of people who will do stuff for something in return, if someone does this they’re not heroic or unique, it’s great they did it but why should I care, they’re no different from anyone else. A real hero does for nothing or just because, “you can’t have this sort of thing going on.” The real heroes really are the regular people who just have genuine human decency to do the right thing.

    When he says his deed wasn’t great or it was very small, that’s not true. Think of what those criminals could’ve bought with that money or what they would’ve done. He may have just frightened them into running away, but in that he stopped other crimes not yet committed, and saved people in the process. This man did this because he has a general human decency. He has an understanding of, it’s not right for bad things to happen to anybody, no matter who they are, even if they’re just a random person on the street that he doesn’t even know or care about. The point is he’ll help this person, without even thinking about it.

    This really shouldn’t be a special concept, we are all humans, we should all have a human decency, but people aren’t, so this is unique. The question isn’t why did he do it; the question is why do we even have to ask that?

  3. I disagree with Grove’s statement claiming he is not a hero. He is most definately a hero! He did something that had nothing to do with him, that he did not have to do, and that could have cost him his life. He most likely saved the owners of the jewelry store thousands of dollars in stolen items, and he surely discouraged the two robbers from future acts of crime. Anyone can walk by at a safe distance, shielded by a wall of indifference, but that old man was able to step up and fight for his community. Perhaps he recognized that the robbers were only humans and that he had a chance against them, or perhaps he was merely acting on adrenaline to do what’s right.

    I love it when weak, old, or small people stand up and *own* bigger, stronger beings. It’s hilarious, and it puts bullies to shame. Like David and Goliath, or Uncle Hub on Secondhand Lions, or Merry and Eowyn against the Lord of the Nazgul. I really respect that 84-year-old man, and I hope all those witnesses will be inspired by him.

  4. I think this is a great story as well as a spectacular lesson. I think that this man was much too modest. Personally, I think he did a very heroic thing. He has a lot of character to be able to step out of the crowd and stop these guys from robbing the store. I am also amazed at how the man treated the whole situation. He acted like it was nothing at all- but it wasn’t. He risked his life to do the right thing. I think he did this because although there may be consequences, it is worth doing the right thing. Also, it was probably hard to just stand back and not do anything while a wrong deed is being done.

  5. William Grove doesn’t believe that he did anything out of the ordinary. Mr. Grove thinks he did what was right, and what is special about that? He said that “you can’t have this sort of thing going on. I’m not a hero just a responsible citizen”. I don’t know if it was how he was raised or the life that he has experienced, but Mr. Groves sincerely believes that he did what was ordinary and that robbery is something that just can’t go on. To him, anyone could have stopped those robbers, he wasn’t being a hero. However, there were 70 people standing around watching the robbers with sledgehammers break into a jewelry store. Did any of them try and stop the robbers? No, they didn’t, every person but one stood and watched what happened and did nothing about it. Yes, each person had a reason, a good one, to not act. The robbers were armed and could have easily killed anyone, including Mr. Grove. This stopped the average person from acting, but William Grove proceeded. He faced a sure death if he was hit with that sledgehammer, but he did not shy away. This, if anything, makes William Grove a hero to me. No matter what he believes or said, Mr. Grove did a noble, valiant deed that at least 70 other people could not have done.

  6. I think this man does not give himself enough credit! He says he was just doing what he thought was a natural thing, when I reality plenty of people just passed by or watched and did nothing. He didn’t even think about getting killed by these people. He was willing to put his life on the line to help others without a hesitation. If there were more people like him then our world would be a lot better to live in. Mr. Grove did what he thought was right even though it was potentially dangerous for him. I think if half the people did that kind of thing around school (where it is significantly less dangerous) then we would have fewer people whose feelings get hurt by bulling or teasing. Mr. Grove is a great example for any generation and I want to be more like him.

  7. There are three things about this story that amaze me. First, that two thieves attempted to rob a jewelry store in broad daylight. Second, that an 85 yr old man was willing and able to stop them. And lastly that so many people, who could have easily stopped the would be robbers sooner did not even try. As for the man’s quote, it makes me realize what a humble person he must be. Also it shows that some people do heroic acts, not for glory or honor but simply because they just instinctively had to. Like you mentioned in class I find it very interesting that the man mentions he doesn’t know if he would do it again. By this honest comment he illustrates perfectly the quality of human nature. For why he did it, my theory is that the situations he had been through all his life (WWII as the blog post mentions) instilled the need to react to this act of violence. I believe the others on the sidewalk kept away from the scene simply because they were only thinking of themselves and for the most part probably none of them had been in a war where you have to defend others and the property of others.

    That said I completely agree with Matt Langdon that human nature is divided into ‘do bad/do nothing/do good’ based on the situation one is in and the situations one has been in. Certainly the ‘do good’ side of this man’s brain was ‘plugged in’ during his heroic act.

  8. My reaction to this man’s courage is simply astonished. The fact that there were many people watching this crime and and 84 year old man is the only one that steps in. His quote just shows that age does not matter and anyone can make a difference. I think he made this choice because of his lessons learned in the air force. The discipline and respect that he was probably taught through fighting in World War II.

    Why would many people stand back and watch? The simple fact that it is easier to let bad things happen rather than step in. Just like Mr. Langdon has been saying in his hero workshop.

  9. I have to disagree with William Grove when he says he was “not a hero just a responsible citizen” because then he would be implying that the majority of people on this earth who are innocent bystanders aren’t responsible citizens.

    Should people HAVE to stop thieves from robbing a store? Just because someone minds their own business and chooses to stay out of danger doesn’t make them irresponsible, just smart. Also, not everyone has the ability to stop terrible things from happening.

    By simply watching an act, should that deem you a terrible person because you decided that it was a good idea to leave the robbers with the SLEDGEHAMMERS alone? No, of course not. You probably are not the bravest in the world, but you are definitely not irresponsible.

    I know that I would have kept a very safe distance from the sledgehammers. If that makes me a wimp, I am completely fine with that.

  10. Mr. Grove claims his “reaction was natural and instinctive, you can’t have this sort of thing going on. I’m not a hero just a responsible citizen, a hero is somebody who jumps into the Thames…” Believing he did nothing extraordinary is proof that he truly is a hero. Mr. Grove got involved because he thought it was the right thing to do, seemingly giving no thought to his own personal safety. It is apparent that he had no hidden agenda-no unquenched desire to become a hero. Unlike Beowulf, who sought fame and glory for purely self-promoting reasons, Mr. Grove unintentionally, became a hero. I wonder if his Air Force training helped instill the thought of doing the right thing as a sense of personal duty. It seems to me that Mr. Grove does not buy into the “victim” mentality. He saw something that needed to be done and he did it. Most compelling is the quote from a bystander that watched from the comfort and safety of his office. This bystander, Nick Thompson, said, “He put everyone else to shame”. This makes me hopeful that the next time we “Nick Thompson’s” see injustice, we will think of Mr. Grove. Perhaps we will be able to muster our inner hero and do more than just stand by.

  11. That man was a hero. However, I don’t think that he should have done that. The only thing that was at stake was a few thousand dollars, which is not worth risking his life. People don’t have to help out for something like that, but they should if someone’s life is at stake. It would be wrong not to save someone’s life when you can. Things are not seperated into bad or good. There are many different levels and many arguments and counterarguments over whether a single act is good or not. They’re is nothing really black or white because there’s alot of gray matter in between. What right and wrong is different for each person. If I was there I probably wouldn’t have done anything, except call the police. That’s because no one was in danger. In my eyes things aren’t as important as life, therefore I don’t think it would be right to put anyone’s life at risk, including your own, for the sake of material goods.

  12. When William Grove stopped the two men from robbing the jewelry store, he showed everyone in society what a true hero should do. Sure most people wouldn’t have done what William did in a split second decision, but the main reason why there aren’t so many people like Will in the world is because most of us are exposed/used to an environment where you don’t see many crimes take place. Even when you do, there are other people such as the SWAT team or the police who are assigned the specific duty of taking care of crimes like the one William stopped. It’s people like these that make us not want to react, only observe, whenever we’re presented with a situation where someone’s life could be in danger or when something that’s just plain bad is happening. We don’t do anything partly because we’re afraid we’ll get hurt, but it’s mostly because we expect that other people whose duty is to deal with those crimes will take care of it. The fact that William Grove stopped a robbery from taking place by risking his own life shows that he was indeed a real hero. Coming from a background of being a in the air force during WWII I’d expect that he wouldn’t have hesitated to do something when he saw something like that happen. Being a pilot, Will must’ve constantly been in situations where he either had to risk his life to save someone, let alone himself, or make split-second choices. All of this probably made his “do good dart board” in his brain much more bigger than an average person in our society and therefore was why he acted in such a heroic way on the day two men attempted to rob a jewelry store in London.

  13. He is indeed a hero. Groves, and 80 year old man, stopped robbers with huge sledgehammers. Groves had the gut to stop these robbers, even though he is a lot older than them. He literally was walking to his death. There was many other who could have stopped them, but they couldn’t. This man sacrificed himself for the owners’ store and stopped the robbers. He, out of the many young people there, single handedly stopped sledgehammer weilding robbers. And again, he is a HERO.

  14. William Grove’s explanation is the definition of the person that we wish we could be, not wanting to be a hero per say but a good natured and kind. He states that his “reaction was natural and instinctive, you can’t have this sort of thing going on.” This proves to me that he is just a good guy and that his only intentions I to make the world a better place for everyone. What surprises me is that this veteran is that his reaction wasn’t a harmful but what it did accomplish is humiliating these two robbers. What can’t be determined is if Groves knew the reaction he would get from these men or was he looking for a fight? The important detail is that he tried; so many people go through their whole life never taking that first step to do something that we would otherwise never do. That’s why William Grove is the person we all want to be not being afraid of other people making fun of you because you have the strength to do something that they can’t. That’s a problem with our society we lack the confidence or support to become that person to do the right thing and that’s why when anyone does this we give them the title hero when they are just doing their right as a “hero” should be, but the civilized person doesn’t mettle in problems that not their own, yet when it comes to gossip we can’t get enough of it. Groves is a great man yet he may not belong in this day, he belongs in a time where everyone had the courage to stand up for our rights and beliefs.

  15. While I think that what Mr. Grove did was a very valiant deed, to him it was probably just another day in his life. Mr. Grove had served in the air force in World War II and had risked everything in his life to stand up to the ‘evil’ Nazis. I am not saying that this automatically makes Mr. Grove a hero simply because he killed people in a war, but I believe that Mr. Grove has been used to risk his entire life. When he faced the armed robbers that autumn day, he automatically risked his life because it was just his instinct. Mr. Long said once in class that when you commit a crime, or bully someone the first time, each time after becomes a little easier. Is this not the same for heroic acts then; the first one is the hardest, and each one after that becomes easier? I do not wish to take away from the bravery that Mr. Grove showed on this particular day, but rather, show the incredible heroism he probably has possessed his entire life.

    I think that in this instance, the people watching the attempted robbery were not ‘bad’ people but just lack the confidence to break the mold. They believe that they could not make a difference and before they even try, they are defeated by themselves. They are not comfortable enough to risk everything they have only to stop two men from robbing a jewelry store. If we were to bet everything we loved, we would want it to be for something glorious, like single-handedly being the cause for the North’s victory in the Civil War or catching Osama bin Laden. In today’s world, if there is no celebration, there is no point of trying.

  16. I think this little story reinforces the phrase: “Actions speak louder than words.” His actions on that sidewalk define his heroism, not what he says afterwards. No matter what he says everyone who sees this story will know the old man is a hero. Some would say the fact that he says he isn’t a hero makes him one. This is ridiculous. A person can have whatever agenda they please but as long as the achieve heroism they are a hero. If there is one thing I could say about the Old man it is that no matter what he says he is a hero.

  17. This is a true example of a hero in my opinion, and also an example of Mr. Langdon’s statement that any individual can be heroic. This action would have been heroic if this man had been doing this because he knew the owner of the store or if he was a police officer but what made it truly remarkable was that he was a frail 85 year old man. He said that this was simply instinct and that causes me to assume in his day to day life he must be a good person because habit breeds instinct. Also this further enforces Mr. Langdon’s point that individuals who constantly choose to do good will also do so in situations of intense turmoil or stress. It only makes sense that those who continuously do the right thing will do so when pressure is put on them as well. The fact that this man does not recognize his own heroism is appealing as well, because this shows that it was a truly selfless act. This man stopped the criminals because he didn’t want that type of activity occurring in his community, he wanted to preserve his community from crime. That kind of motivation is amazing because most people are only motivated to do something if someone is going to die, not loose their business. Basically this man risked his life to prevent lowering the expectations and safety of his community. This action could be seen as naïve or it could be seen for what it really is, selfless heroism bread from a life of being a good person. Also the fact that he’s not even sure if he’d do it again, demonstrates that he simply followed his gut which told him the action going on had to be stopped, and next time if he feels differently he may not jump in and stop crime.

  18. I don’t know what the exacy desinition of a hero maybe, but I do know that this man is a hero. Not only did he put his life on the line when he fought for his country in the dangerous cockpit of an airplane from WWII, but he rushed to attack two presumably strong young thieves armed with sledgehammers. It goes to say that he didn’t do much in terms of physical damage, but the physcological damage dealt upon them was great. They’ll probably think twice about robbing another store knowing that there are people like that in this world. And, unlike a broken bone, a mental scar will never heal. However, I think that the people who just saw the robbery and not do anything were idiots. If you don’t want to take on some thugs, just call the police to do it. That’s what they are there for; to take care of the problems tha are too dangerous or scary for us.

  19. I think what William Grove did something spectacular on that day. I also think its funny how he had “put all the bystanders to shame” by going and doing the thing they didn’t have the guts to do, even though he’s in his mid-eighties.

    I also think its interesting how he claimed not to be a hero, but a responsible citizen. I’m not sure what to think about that. What he did was indeed heroic, but is it the responsibility of citizens to stop a crime when they see one? I think that it is. Think about it, if everyone who was just sitting there and watching or just passing by had actually tried to stop the robbers, there is no way those guys would have tried to fight that crowd if one old man scared them off. I think if everyone tried to right wrongs when they see them, we wouldn’t have men armed with sledgehammers trying to break in shops in the middle of the day. Well, not as many, anyways.

  20. Although he stated humbly that he was only a responsible citizen, I believe he is a hero in every sense of the word. He chose not to become a bystander and let something that shouldn’t happen, happen. He claimed that he was only a responsible citizen, but with so many irresponsible people in the world today that someone who chooses to be responsible can really be considered a hero. His choice to do the right thing may have come from his training in the military. During that time in his life, he must have trained himself to act in face of evil. Thus his instinct when he saw the two men breaking in the store was to do the right thing and stop them. Not many people have been exposed to such training, and few have even thought of themselves in such situations. So, without prior preparations, they become bystanders. I agree with Matt’s statement from the skype chat in which he said how those who take no action in the face of injustice support that injustice. I also think that if people thought about it and talked about it like we did in our class, they would have reacted better. All the bystanders have to deal with the pang of guilt and shame eventually. I think this is part of great education we are getting, and I am thankful. The brave man became a hero in that moment in the midst of both of the wrongdoers, the two men committing the crime and everyone else who stood by.

  21. This guy is definitely a hero! A hero can be defined my many many different things. A hero is not just superman or batman, but you have everyday heroes like policeman and fireman and even just a normal civilian doing a kind act. This whole story kinda reminds me of a story I heard about on the news awhile back when a man got hit by a car and the driver just kept driving away and tons of people walking down the sidewalk saw it happen and not 1 person went out in the street to make sure he was okay. It’s almost sickening to think about just being a bystander in either one of those situations. The old man said a real hero is someone who jumps into the river to save a kid, but this man is also a hero…maybe just on a different level. I also am kinda pleased to see that is old man isn’t being all full of himself or anything, he thinks what he did was right and doesn’t think there is anything to great about it which shows a lot about his personality. Also he doesn’t even know if he would have done it again, but that just shows that doing that right thing was his natural instinct which is fantastic!

  22. At first I couldn’t decide whether this man was a hero or not, but I think that he is. He did something no one else was willing to do to help other people. He took the ultimate chance by risking his life and was truly humble about it. The only thing that must be kept in mind is that while he is heroic, he is no better than you or me or any of those people. Like he said, he doesn’t know if he’d do it again. He had an instinct, something raw that pushed him to do what he did.

    He said that a hero is someone “who jumps into the Thames to rescue a drowning child.” But really, that’s the exact same thing. In fact, I think more people would run to help a drowning child than foil the plans of a group of robbers. If you asked any person whether or not they’d jump into a river to save a drowning child, I bet you most of them would say yes. There you are defending one life and it’s not even your own, really. With the robbers he was defending a lot of people, the possessions of the jewelers, and risking his own life. So maybe while it doesn’t seem like it at first and I may be criticized for saying so, perhaps he was a bit more heroic by doing what he did than jumping into a river.

    As to why he did it, maybe it’s because he was trained that way, maybe because he was the only one who didn’t really think about it, or maybe he just wanted to fight for what he thought was right. I really don’t know, but he did a great thing.

  23. In one word the man was a hero. He stepped in when the whole world stepped out. When someone has the guts to do the right thing when everyone else chooses not to that what a hero is. Most would think a hero is someone that flies or can breath fire but a hero can be anyone if they just take one more step and make a difference. When the man said ” My reaction was natural and instinctive” i think it showed that age didn’t matter it was the feeling the old man would have had if he hadn’t stepped in. This man risked everything to stop something that wasn’t harming anything in his life and to me that is indescribable. Whether he did because he wanted a challenge, he wasn’t thinking or just because he knew it was the right thing to do he made a difference and defiantly left his mark in the world.

  24. He is really a hero, but he tries to say that he just try to do his responsibility. In the world, we really need people like this. But this is really not his job, and people seem like to be a bystander. But he shows that this is what everybody should do. This is also very dangerous, an 80 years old man facing two robbers, but he wasn’t afraid. He supposes to stay at home and watching TV, but he didn’t. He stands out and does something that even a young won’t try to do. He said that he is not a hero; it shows that he is really a hero.

  25. I think William Grove is a hero, if only because he says he is not. Let me explain. I believe that a hero not only must commit a selfless act, but be selfless in his attitude. This was my thesis for my Beowulf essay.

    William Grove acted when no one else would. I find this remarkably interesting. He was probably the oldest person there, out of fifty or so people. Maybe it was because he was a veteran. Maybe not. Regardless, this is very interesting, especially since one man admits that he himself was merely a bystander, and that perhaps he should have done something. All I can say is, thank you, William Grove, for doing such a simple yet extremely brave thing, which no one else would do.

  26. William Grove stopped two men from breaking into a jewelery store, I’m not sure how he doesn’t consider himself a hero. He called himself a responsible citizen. If he’s a responsible citizen, then what does that make the rest of the bystanders, which he was part of. He was the only one to take a simple action upon it. Him out of all people, there were plenty of others watching, but an 80 year old man taking on two younger bigger men is a big deal. He didn’t do much, but it took courage and he obviously scared the robbers. I think this is an amazing story and a great lesson. None of us should be a bystander, if an 80 year old man can do something as simple as removing a mask, then I’m sure we’re all capable of doing something also. William Grove is a hero, maybe he had the courage to stand up like that because he served in the air force, or maybe he was always just brave, but I think if he can do it, then I can do it.

  27. Being a man of old age and still putting people in front of him makes him a hero. Although he was the type to be viewed as a bystander, being in his eighties, he instead was extremely courageous and did a very heroic thing. Most people would walk by and pretend to not see anything or something of that nature, avoiding conflict. But those in the world who stick up for what they believe in are the ones who are remembered and reguarded as heroes. It is a remarkable thing to see an old man sticking up for what he believes in when in any second he could be robbed and killed. As on the island, many would choose to stay silent and unnoticed, but there are few who do stick up for what they believe in and have enough courage and belief in themselves to go with their instincts. Those are our true heroes, those who sacrifice everything for the better of our world.

  28. This man is definitely a hero. The way he reacted to it makes him even more of a hero. What he did was very heroic and the fact that he’s so humble about it is amazing. I don’t know why no one else would intervene. He’s tryely a hero in that he stepped up in a situation and did something that no one else wanted to. He made the choice simply because it’s the right thing to do. As to why no one else intervened escapes me. That was the right thing to do and someone would think that when a person trying to break into a store they would at least call the police and not just sit and watch. He simply did what needed to be doneand went above in beyond what was expected.

  29. It is very strange that out of the dozens of people who witnessed the event that only one decided to make things right. And it was even stranger to see that he wasn’t what i believe most of us picture a hero as in our minds. I think the reason he acted as he did was because he had a strong sense of what was right and wrong. When he saw the robbers committing he just felt it wasn’t right and it was his job to stop them. More people may have possessed this sense but he actually had the means to interpret and act upon it. The other bystanders lacked this quality and didn’t act how the old man believed every good citizen should. I also believe that some of the man’s past could have given him this quality. Since he was a veteran he probably understood that there was a need to take action as he probably was used to this type of thing and was not caught off guard and left to gawk at the crime being committed like the rest.

  30. The old man who stopped the robbers, though he may not think so, is a hero. A hero is not only someone who will jump into a river to save a drowning child, it is a person who does what everyone else is afraid to do. The fact that he said he wasn’t a hero, does not make him a hero, it makes him humble. His act made him a hero. He said “he didn’t know if he would do it again” which makes him human. Chances are though, giving his character, he would have probably done it again, even if he doesn’t know for sure.

    what drives people to do a heroic act? It all depends on the kind of person you are. Truthfully, there are not too many heroes now a days and it is refreshing to see one. As to why he did what he did, it could be because of his war experience, or it could be because of his age. He was not a young man and I am pretty sure in his day people didn’t act so violently. Maybe he wasn’t used to the behavior or maybe it really was just an impulse. Either way the man should be proud he acomplished something that seems so easy but is too hard for most to do.

  31. When Mr. Grove said his reaction was “natural and instinctive,” you can be sure he meant it. If he thought about it, he would most likely have not intervened. When he said “I’m not a hero,” it does alot to show how heroic he is. Although this is a small act, it has all the traits of heroism, courage, self sacrifice… What really did it for me was that he left after the act; “he calmly walked back to the bus stop, boarded a bus and toddled off as if he had done his job.” Instead of waiting around for the police or reporters, he simply went on his way. The greatest hero is the one that rejects recognition.

  32. Hey guys, sorry I haven’t been involved, I’ve been sick with strep throat all week.

    Once again you’ve made some fantastic points and I am thrilled to see there are people brave enough to disagree with the status quo too.

    You made me swell with pride when the dartboard was mentioned.

  33. Like Matt Langdon said in our Skype video chat, people who constantly do the little, good deeds everyday are the ones who will end up taking action when the situation calls for it. William Grove is one of those people. The proof is his involvement in the air force in World War II — serving his country and the people of the United States, I’m sure he had done many good deeds in the past to make the decision to join the army. To top that off, while he was in the air force he most likely experienced what a true hero would have — hard decisions to make, fighting for someone other than yourself, and putting your own life on the line for the country. Although there were many people involved in World War II, each one was a leader and hero in their own way. It is no surprise, after making a decision to become part of this leadership, that “[Grove’s] reaction was natural and instinctive” when he stepped up to confront the robbers when no one else did.

    Yes, I believe he’s a hero. He took the front when no one else would do anything. Those men would have robbed the store and could have gotten away with it if Grove hadn’t of stepped in. On top of that, he’s an old man — they could have easily overpowered and killed him with a sledgehammer. Yet, he risked his life instinctively and subdued them anyway. This brings me back to a previous point. People who constantly do the good, little deeds will eventually take the front when situation calls for it, but what about the people who do the bad deeds? Like Roger in LOTF, the realization that you can do bad things and get away with them eventually births actions that get worse and worse as time progresses. Grove stepped in and managed to stop the robbers — they weren’t able to get away with what they had wanted. If Grove hadn’t of stepped in, what would have happened? I believe the men would have persisted in crime and their actions would have became worse. There are a lot of ‘if’s in the scenario — if Grove hadn’t stepped in, what would have happened in the robbers’ future? If he had chosen to be a bystander, would that have influenced what the robbers would have done in the future? Nevertheless, he is a hero in the way that he not only stepped in when no one else did anything, but in the way where he was able to risk his own life instinctively when he could have chosen the bystander path like everyone else.

  34. When we got to see the blog about the old man doing such a heroic act I was very very amazed. It was amazing how nobody else took the initiative or had he courage to be a good citizen and stop them from breaking into that jeweley store. I also think it was amazing that it wasn’t even is store and he might have not even known the people who owned the store yet he was so quick to help. This goes to show you that there is indeed a hero in all of us no matter your age. In this case it just so happens to be an 85 year old man. He took many risks as those men were highly armed and dangerous with the sledgehammers that they had, but this didnt stop him at all. He knew what was right and he knew what was wrong and he knew that what those guys were doing was wrong. I would call him a hero even though he is very humble and doesn’t call himself a hero in any shape form or fashion. But what he did was very heroic in fact I think many people would call him a hero and should look up to him. In a way this inspires me to act upon something if I were to see it happening right before my eyes and not just sit back and be a careless bystander.

  35. I think this 80 year old man teaches a spectacular lesson; that you’re not born a hero. After awhile this man developed heroic instincts, he didn’t just acquire them over night. He gradually developed them over the years by creating habits for the greater good. I admire a person like this, and I bet a lot of people do. But if everyone would act like this on a continually basis the world would be a better place, instead ob being a bystander.

    When this 80 year old man said “it was [instinctive]”, he was right. And it became instinctive after the many years of developing good habits

  36. This man had a lot of courage to stand up to two men who were armed with weapons. Most people who have experienced war or have been in a war would have done exactly the same thing. He is definitely a hero. A hero would be a unique person who does something different. What he did was something inside of him. Some force pushed him to react the way he did. This type of reaction makes him a hero. He might have been trained like that just like in the army.

  37. An act of heroism like Groves’ is much like when Beowulf fought the dragon in his later years. Groves saw this crime being done and due to his prior knowledge and experience did his best to stop it. I think that he was trained not to let these sort of things happen. Not because of military training but because of the times he grew up in. Presently, most parents would teach there children not to get into a situation like this. But Groves being raised in a completely different era was taught something completely different. Thus he did what was not required of him but was instinct and the right thing to do.

  38. Willam Grove is a everyday hero. In this story anybody could have done what he had probably better that he had. But the fact is the didnt and this is the story of most poeple. Every one of these poeple had a reason that they didnt do anything but the only thing that matters is they didnt do anything. Matt Langdon the (aurthor of the page) refers to the on lookers as Bystanderds. In The Lord Of the Flies Samneric and all of the other boys who joined Jack were Bystanders. They all did nothing for whatever reasons but the only thing that really matters is they did nothing, Matt Langdon’s whole point in his few cometary lines is that poeple need to stop being a bystandard and start being the hero.

  39. I think that this account is great evidence to the fact that we should not be bystanders. It seems ironic that the bystander in the article knew that he was doing nothing about the apparent situation. So often we are thoroughly aware of doing nothing; and thats the scary part. I don’t know why he stopped the thieves except that he thought it was the right thing to do. I respect this man because of his action; he is truly a hero because he had nothing to gain, but everything to loose.

    I really like how he said that he was just being a responsible citizen. If his action classifies a responsible citizen, then there are a lot -millions- of unresponsible citizens. Another thing that caught my eye was his comment about the event being over in 3 minutes. The fact is that it was a very small act, but if it wasn’t performed, there would have been major consequences for several more people. A lot can happen in 3 minutes. Money can be taken, or money can be unharmed. Planes can kill, planes can arrive at their destination. You can be a simple, furtive bystander, or you can be a responsible citizen that inspires others to take a stand. That’s really how it boils down, no excuses.

  40. I believe that Grove is a true hero for what he did, despite what he thinks. To think that he was literally the only who was willing to do the right think is simply amazing. Considering the fact he was 84 and unarmed makes the feat even more incredible. Grove even denied that he was a hero, which makes him even bigger hero in my eyes. This just proves Mr. Langdon’s theory of anyone can make a difference. At the age of 84, Grove was able to stop two robbers with sledgehammers while the rest of the crowd stayed behind and watched. Hopefully this event has encouraged the bystanders that they can make a difference. Maybe the next time an incident similar to this occurs, they will have the courage to do the right thing as well.

    If I was thrust into this position, I don’t know if I would have been as audacious as Grove. He did a truly remarkable thing by stopping the armed robbers. Even though he did not think he was a hero, I’m sure that in everyone else’s eyes, he is. The world would be a better place if there were more people like Grove. This story has inspired me to perform more heroic acts in everyday life.

  41. The actions Mr. Grove took were very heroic even though he thinks differently with what happened. He was very right when he had said something must have been done and out of everybody who watched, he was the only one to attempt to stop this. He may not think he is a hero, but he is. He is clearly a very modest person who deserves a pat on the back. Out of all the people that were there, a man around 80 years old was the one to stop them, which is very suprising. When he had said that he was a responsible citizen, he was just that, but much greater. He had also said that you can not have this thing happening while you’re around which is a true line of a hero in general. His actions were instinctive and out of all the people that were watching him, he took the leap of faith in order to stop the robbers.

  42. I wanted to react to something Student #3 said. I agreed with them up until they said it was it hilarious when weak, old, or small people stand up to bigger people. To stay an act of bravery that they normally wouldn’t or be able to do against a stronger ‘opponent’ makes me a little angry. It is inspiring and in no way hilarious. To say it is hilarious is almost like mocking them for doing something courageous. I pretty sure they did not mean it like that but that is how it came off.

    This man’s actions and attitude exemplify what a hero should be. He not only denies his heroism he truthfully admits that if put in the same situation, he may not do that again. He could have easily said that he would definitely do it again and suck up all the media attention and brag about his heroism. He may of made the choice because he is a war hero. He knows what it is like to be in the face of violence. From his quote, it sounded like this didn’t even phase him. Regardless of why he did it, this man is a true hero.

  43. Student #41 (follow-up)

    Forgot something sorry

    I wanted to react to something Student #3 said. I agreed with them up until they said it was it hilarious when weak, old, or small people stand up to bigger people. To stay an act of bravery that they normally wouldn’t or be able to do against a stronger ‘opponent’ is hilarious makes me a little angry. It is inspiring and in no way hilarious. To say it is hilarious is almost like mocking them for doing something courageous. I pretty sure they did not mean it like that but that is how it came off.

    This man’s actions and attitude exemplify what a hero should be. He not only denies his heroism he truthfully admits that if put in the same situation, he may not do that again. He could have easily said that he would definitely do it again and suck up all the media attention and brag about his heroism. He may of made the choice because he is a war hero. He knows what it is like to be in the face of violence. From his quote, it sounded like this didn’t even phase him. Regardless of why he did it, this man is a true hero.

  44. I think what this man was doing, was downplaying his own actions. The man was in the Air Force, and he was probably trained to do things like that. However, in my eyes, he is clearly a hero. He took the man’s mask off and scared him and they escaped. It could be that this old man did not want all the glory. He said he was just being an average citizen. If all citizens were like him, we’d have a wonderful society.

  45. I agree with most of the students about how William Grove is a hero, but being modest about the situation doesn’t make him a hero. In Beowulf, he wasn’t modest he was proud and in a way arrogant of what he did. Grove was just being honest, giving his opinion on what a ‘hero’ truly means. The other students say that “He doesn’t give himself enough credit” well most people would be conceited and take all the credit they could get. This old man has pride and dignity from serving in the air force during WWII. He understands what a ‘hero’ is, he is one from fighting in the war. Grove also has alot of intelligence of fighting and saving our country from evil. So his meaning of a hero is actually saving somebody’s life while risking their own to save them. Just stopping someone from breaking into a building doesn’t quite fit that description.

  46. I think Mr. Grove is a hero. A hero isn’t just somebody that saves a life. It is about doing the right thing when it is needed. He may have acted the way he did because his air force training taught him how to react in these situations. It may be that he is just a decent human being that did not want the owners of the jewelry store to be robbed or maybe even hurt. In that situation I don’t think he thought about anything. I think he mainly reacted to his instinct. I don’t know why the other people would not get involved. Maybe they were thinking which made them be fearful of the things that could happen to them if they became involved.

  47. I believe that there are no hero’s just people who act based on natural instinct. Mr. Groves was one person who acted on instinct and took the responsibility to help people in trouble. All the other people that were around the store watching are not cowards or selfish. They acted as Mr. Groves because they acted on instinct. Maybe it was Mr. Groves destiny to pull the Balaclava off and make the robbers run away and for all the other bystanders to watch. In some eyes it might have been stupid for him to go and do that. But in others they new it had to be done and somebody would have to do it.

  48. Mr. Gove is without doubt a modern day hero. He may not like it, but a hero is someone who does something against the evil done before a crowds eyes. He was the one who jumped into action, no one else. His training in the air force may have given him a slight advantage over the others in the crowd, they have never been in life-or-death situations, but he knows. And knowledge is a very valuable thing. He has witnessed ‘bad’ before, no one can argue that fighting in WWII wasnt a ‘bad’ thing. Mr. Grove is being modest, and a person tends to be that way, due to the idea that they may be misunderstood and thought of as arrogant. Mr. Grove is a hero; he was a man with many factors working against him and he took charge despite that. So many other, better suited people, were there, but they didn’t do anything. I believe tha the reason Mr. Grove is also more a hero than anyone else, is because he was old. He definetly wasn’t the fittest, youngest or prettiest, and yet that didn’t stop him. And that makes a hero, working against the picture-perfect and resetting standards.

  49. I think saying “I’m not a hero” makes him a hero is true most of the times. However, he could have been acting selfless said that so he would get popularity and so that everyone will think he is a hero. If that is so, then he is not selfless although I do not think that is actually why he said that. I think he said that because he was selfless but I do not know the man except for what was said in the story so all or most of us could be wrong. If he was being truthful and selfless, than I think he is a hero. Heroes are selfless and they make sacrifices. The sacrifice he was making was his life. If those two young men decided to fight him and swing the sledge hammer towards him, he would be a gonner especially for being an eighty four old man.

  50. Everybody’s definition of a hero is a little different. To him, doing something like this seems small and irrelevant. To me, he deserves a medal.

    There are always a few people that seem to risk their lives for the better. Why is that? Well, the rest of the people just don’t want to get involved. Being the bystander is the most conservative of ways. Although fame and honor are sacrificed, the risks of danger and injury are gone as well. Change is too complicated to deal with. The rest of the people just rather pretend nothing happened and go on with the routine. There are a few people, though, who just act up and do what’s right. I think Mr. Grove did it instinctively. He just saw what was wrong and just did something to stop it. I bet he didn’t stop and think to himself, “Oh wait, what if… (which is what most of us do).” He just did it. Maybe it was because he served in WWII that enabled him to act this instinctively. I’ll have to be honest here; a lot of us are just too lazy to deal with doing what’s right, especially to deal with what would come after. Human beings are kind of selfish in nature. Only one life, why risk it? Unfortunately, I’m like that too.

  51. William Grove best describes himself as not a hero but as a man just doing his duty. What Grove’s possess is what many lack, he has the self-confidence and determination to stand up for himself in situations that others would cower from. He is truly the ideal citizen and war veteran. Although he doesn’t call himself a hero his actions are heroic, it makes no sense why such a brave man would be so humble. Everyone needs to learn how to be just like this man because he is what we should strive to be in order to become the perfect society.

  52. I think that he is a hero. The definition of a hero is a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities. Even though he said he was being a responsible citizen, I still consider him a hero. When there’s a situation like a robbery and all but one person steps out to help, then he is showing courage therefore he’s a hero.

    The fact that many people saw the men with sledgehammers breaking the windows to a jewelry store and did nothing about is not surprising. A bystander is a person present but not involved. The average person would do the same thing.

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