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Is a hero someone who risks their life just doing something they want?

(49 Posts)
adaunas Thu 05-Jan-17 19:06:28

Not sure I think Donald Campbell qualifies as a hero just for getting killed doing something he wanted to do, in an environment with known potential hazards, in a vehicle that had been proven to have some safety issues in the trials.

janeainsworth Thu 05-Jan-17 19:14:14

Oxford Dictionary definition:
A person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities
Donald Campbell was certainly courageous and achieved world water speed records in Bluebird so by that definition, he would count as a hero.

janeainsworth Thu 05-Jan-17 19:15:39

His death was shocking and one of those events where I remember exactly where I was when I heard about it - upstairs in my bedroom, supposedly doing my homework.

Christinefrance Thu 05-Jan-17 19:17:03

But without people like him there would fewer achievements. You could say that about Marco Polo, Edmund Hillary, and countless others.

paddyann Thu 05-Jan-17 19:17:19

I've never thought of Donald Campbell as a hero ,but I think its a very overused word nowadays .Hardly a day goes by without another hero popping out of the woodwork,for the most unlikely reasons too .

thatbags Thu 05-Jan-17 19:23:58

A hero for me is someone who achieves things for other people. Achieving things for oneself is just living, isn't it?

Grannyben Thu 05-Jan-17 19:24:43

I always think of people like sir Nicholas winton as being a hero. Courageous and noble most definitely but, more so because his outstanding achievement was in helping others

Jalima Thu 05-Jan-17 19:55:30

Sir Ranulph Fiennes is off on another expedition - something he wants to do.
He is raising money for the Marie Curie charity.
However, is he a hero and inspirational or becoming foolhardy and self-indulgent, bearing in mind that he is 72 and has had frostbite, a heart attack and may need rescuing?

He has raised a lot of money so far but how much would it cost to rescue him if he needed it?

rosesarered Thu 05-Jan-17 21:57:58

Fiennes does it because he likes doing it! so do a lot of people, not what most of us think of as heroic.No, I don't think Campbell was a hero, he was determined to match or out do his Father, so was obsessed and driven.

Rinouchka Thu 05-Jan-17 22:16:03

I also think this is an overused word....and it makes me cross.

A hero is someone who acts to help others , fully aware of the risk to his own life. An inventor, an entrepreneur, an athlete, a Donald Campbell is not a hero , although he/she may be a great man/woman.

I once had a discussion about this with a WW2 Resistance hero, who never accepted the term for himself. He saved many lives, was captured, tortured, mock executed but he would not admit his heroism because he claimed that he lived in fear, despite his courageous actions. To me. He epitomised the concept of heroism, because he put himself in danger for others, despite his very fearfulness.

He died in the early 1990s.

Anniebach Thu 05-Jan-17 22:30:09

A few weeks ago,Fiennes read from his book for five nights, I was surprised at the fears this man had suffered , I do think he us a hero fears or not, thank heaven we have people who take these risks.

When I climbed Snowden with Chris Bonnington , no mustn't bore you

Katek Thu 05-Jan-17 22:54:33

Very well said rinouchka-agree with you wholeheartedly

Marmark1 Thu 05-Jan-17 23:05:20

Me too Rinouchka

grannyqueenie Thu 05-Jan-17 23:35:50

Just heard about Jill Sawards untimely death on the news this evening. Now that's what I'd call heroic an ordinary person surviving enormous trauma and using that experience to support others.

merlotgran Thu 05-Jan-17 23:41:16

In my book a hero is not only someone who acts to help others but also someone who acts to inspire others.

Mountains to climb, speed records to break? Schoolboys used to revere those who put their lives at risk to achieve what in days gone by was perceived as greatness.

The work that was done on aerodynamics on Bluebird was worldbreaking at the time leading to improvements in vehicle design for the future.

Times may have changed by I believe Donald Campbell was indeed a hero. The transmission from Bluebird's radio when he knew he was going to die is heartbreaking.

Fairydoll2030 Thu 05-Jan-17 23:43:49

My brother is a hero - he's 61 and been a paramedic for 35 years. His job has changed tremendously over the years with more and more pressure and responsibility. How he copes withe aggresive, violent drunks on a regular basis I just don't know.

He says his worst jobs are dealing with young children injured in road accidents.

thatbags Fri 06-Jan-17 07:53:01

Hear, hear, fairydoll, and well done your brother. Mountain rescuers are heroes to me. They do what they do voluntarily, often in totally shit conditions, so that other people can go on adventures.

I'm not knocking adventurers. Been there, got the teeshirt, even been helicoptered off a mountain. I'd call people like Donald Campbell and Ranulph Fiennes adventurers rather than heroes. Adventures can be and often are scary but they are done primarily for one's own sense of achievement. They can produce spinoffs such as the one that's mentioned about Bluebird, such as the many scientific benefits resulting from space travel, and such as raising funds for charity. The cynic in me thinks part of the fundraising for Fiennes's adventures was, in the first place, to fund the adventure. Such adventures and all the back up they need don't come cheap.

thatbags Fri 06-Jan-17 07:56:21

No-one will convince me Fiennes didn't go on all his adventures primarily for the thrill it gave him. Fear is part of the thrill.

I repeat, I'm not knocking adventures. I'm all for them, but that's what they are, not heroism.

I grant that adventures can result in heroism, e.g. when something goes wrong and you have to get yourself or others out of a fix, but the adventures and the adventurous spirit that fuels them, aren't heroism to me.

Marmark1 Fri 06-Jan-17 08:44:44

I would also call some of those men who lost several limbs as well as other injuries,but overcome it all to be athletes.

pensionpat Fri 06-Jan-17 08:53:29

I agree with Thatbags about raising funds to fund the adventure. Many sponsored things such as parachuting come under this category and I feel is dishonest.

gillybob Fri 06-Jan-17 09:01:18

I agree with Rinouchka sportsmen and women ( no matter how daring or dangerous the sport) are not heros they are thrill seekers. Michael Schumacher is/was not a hero, Ayton Senna was not a hero. They were people who took risks for the thrill and financial gain .

Anniebach Fri 06-Jan-17 09:04:09

Is a police officer, paramedic, soldier any different , they choose their profession too

rosesarered Fri 06-Jan-17 09:15:56

Well said thatbags adventurers CAN become heros ( depending on circumstances and what they do) but adventure thrill seeking people do it for the sheer rush that it gives them, mountain climbing, exploring, etc.That in itself is not heroic.
Fairydoll yes, long service to a career in the ambulance service is heroic, what they see and have to do/endure all in the service of mankind is wonderful.

Rinouchka Fri 06-Jan-17 09:19:21

* Fairydoll*, much respect to your brother. The term should apply to him, to those who rescue others in danger despite the risks to themselves: mountain rescuers, lifeboat rescuers, etc.
Grannyqueenie, most definitely Jill Saward is a heroine for the courage she showed after her ordeal and her commitment to speak out to make things better for other victims.

Annieb I agree with you that adventurers are magnificent, people who inspire others are wonderful( and inspiring !)and so needed in what could be a dull, grey life, but heroes? Would Christopher Columbus be a hero now? Wouldn't explorer be more apt a descriptive?

Do tell us about when you climbed Snowden with Chris Bonnington, though, Annieb

rosesarered Fri 06-Jan-17 09:25:38

I think soldiers/police are a different case ab
my family has a strong police background, with many family members giving a long service ( and I know that your DH was a police officer too) and although they could certainly be heroic, depending on circumstances, most of them enjoy the job, the thrill of the chase,and all the younger ones that my SIL knows do it for that reason, because it has elements of excitement.They ( and soldiers) have a lot in common, in that regard.Of course any soldier and policeman can be heroic, and many are at times.
Ambulance men/paramedics are doing the job solely to help their fellow man.
Anyone may feel free to disagree with me btw smile