The Hero Label

We expect all who wear uniforms – military personnel and first responders alike – to be brave, to show determination and courage when facing great danger. When duty puts life at risk, we honor boldness and success. The individual earns the right to be called a hero. It is earned, never given.

Recently, we celebrated the final reunion of a group of historic, heroes, the Doolittle Raiders. Social engineering has moved us away from equal opportunity toward equal results. Calling everyone in uniform a hero reduces it to a “category,” an attempt to have’ an equal outcome for all who serve.

I appreciate the sincere desire of those who remember the shameful treatment of Vietnam era draftees returning from war to assure that it won’t happen in this generation. Are we so focused on not letting others shamefully denigrate our warriors that we depreciate their efforts by the careless use of a word?

No one can designate a person a “hero” as you might designate a person your barber. People become heroes through their reaction to circumstances, most likely forced upon them by outside forces and not at a time of their choosing. You don’t attend and graduate from “hero school.”

What we want to say about our sons and daughters in uniform is that they are among the most courageous of our nation. That is appropriate and honors them without depreciating the extraordinary honor bestowed upon a few for their actions when their lives, or the lives of others, are at risk. 

Lee Jackson – Shalimar

Arresting Swimmers

The Okaloosa Sheriff, Larry Ashley, announced that he both can and will arrest swimmers if they venture out when a double red flag is posted on the beach.

This is a typical, but wrong, reaction to the problem of people drowning at the beach.

People own their bodies and must be held responsible for their own actions. People who swim when it is dangerous are making a personal decision to assume risk. For government to say they cannot accept another’s personal risk is the height of the nanny state. To imprison people for swimming at their risk is morally abhorrent. It leads to limitless government.

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the Sheriff is shovel ready.

Better to present drowners with the bill. A foolish person who must be rescued and then pay the hefty monetary cost would make a far better deterrent, and less costly to the taxpayer, than marking them forever in the prison system, limiting their future job opportunities and exposing them to the never-ending dangers and costs that living as a lawbreaker brings nowadays.

Clearly, Larry Ashley does not like libertarian concepts. He arrests swimmers doing a personal, voluntary activity, but condones government agents at the airport forcing old women to remove their adult diapers for inspection. Go figure.

It is even more incredible that the law doesn’t like them either.

Pete Blome

Chair, Northwest Florida Libertarian Party