Recently, I wrote about my experience as a refinery worker and described some of my co-workers as heroic. These are the ones that run right into the line of fire (literally) and attempt to save the day when many of the rest of us are scared shitless. These guys are truly heroes.

Did I see where they punished those security officers for not taking on the shooters in Las Vegas and Stoneman Douglas school even though those guys didn’t have a chance with their little pee-shooter pistols against the bad guy’s rapid fire assault weapons? Honestly, you might have had to arrest me too for running away from that situation because I would not be trying to play hero against those odds.

Some professions are labeled a hero just because of their job. A good example is a fire fighter. These guys train their whole career how to fight fires, rescue people, and save lives. When faced with one of those situations, are they just doing the job they’re trained to do, or are they being a hero? Or both? I’m sure their training allows them to measure the risks, consider their options, and make decisions that will result in the most predictable and best case outcome. When all else fails, hero mode kicks in and the fire fight, rescue, or life saving effort becomes a lot less predictable. Some fire fighters never have an opportunity to kick into hero mode their entire career. But are they heroes anyway?

However, if I encountered a burning home and a person is hanging out the 2nd floor window screaming for help and I run in to try to rescue them with no firefighting training, I’m either labeled a fool or a hero depending on the results. Even if I never make it back out alive, despite my foolish decision to go in, I’d probably be labeled a hero just for trying.

Another characteristic of a hero is honesty and valor. Most heroes are more humble than they are arrogant. Most heroes are perceived as honest and don’t stretch the truth or tell lies.

It’s hard being a hero. Even cartoon heroes take their lumps before winning out in the end. Sometime our heroes lose. Even if we were rooting for the bad guy, we still give our hero credit for trying their best to do the right thing for the right reason.

And then there’s the story of the homeless man stealing the jug of money from the Darby Free Library who got caught and is facing 2 to 5 years in jail and having to pay the library $300 and the victim $300 (more on the victim later).

Shame on me to some of you, but I’m the one who was rooting for the bad guy. Being the library fan I am, anyone who can show me their library card is okay with me, and he had one. He was considered homeless and I’ve got a soft place in my heart for folks who don’t have a home. I imagine the lure of that big bottle with all that change in it sitting on top of the library counter got too hard to resist and when he saw his chance to get some food money, he went for it.

Here is where the hero part kicks in.

The unfortunate part about the escape out the library is he encountered a hero and over powered her with his might.

However, there seems to be two versions of the story, and I’m wondering if this so-called hero is her own worse enemy.

One story goes like this…

The librarian told officers she was walking up a flight of steps at the Main Street library when she saw a man running down the steps.

“The male put his hand in her face and pushed her back down the flight of steps causing her to land at the front door,” according to an affidavit of probable cause for Carter’s arrest.

The librarian told police she believed he had pushed her to prevent anyone from chasing him.

In reading that account, it appears the homeless man went out his way to push the librarian who eventually ended up with serious back injuries, just to get folks to care for her and to stop chasing him.

But, video surveillance proves that the librarian was trying to play hero. Yes, they did encounter each other as the homeless man ran down the stairs, but the librarian didn’t try to step aside and let him pass. Oh no! The librarian was seen on film trying to stop the homeless man and the homeless man gave her a stiff arm and sent her tumbling down the stairs, where the librarian still tried to hold on to the man in her role of trying to play ultimate hero.

Video surveillance footage showed Carter and the victim meeting in the middle of the stairwell, according to the affidavit. As Carter walked past, the video shows the librarian attempt to stop him. Carter then pushed the librarian down the steps and footage shows her landing back at the front door.

“While (the victim) is still on the ground, you can see that she continues to try and stop the male from exiting the business which causes her to end up outside on the front steps,” the affidavit states, describing the video.

Here’s the perfect case of someone trying to play hero who didn’t weigh the risks and outcome of not being properly trained or equipped to be a successful hero. As a result, she ended up on her ass with a broken back.

I would hope all the effort law enforcement put into capturing this man is because the lady got hurt and not because a homeless man stole $200. It’s nice when you see law enforcement fighting for victim rights, even if the victim is a failed hero who gave a statement that isn’t consistent with the video footage.

Some people’s instincts are to play hero regardless of the risks as this librarian did and got seriously hurt as a result. Some folks weight the risk and decide it’s not worth it to play hero like the security guys in Vegas and Florida. As embarrassing as it seems, they figured seeing another day was a fair exchange for the punishment they received for choosing not to play hero.

Don’t consider yourself a punk if you decide not to play hero. I believe the librarian could have easily stepped aside and let dude pass, but video shows she wanted to try to stop a moving, angry, afraid freight train traveling at full speed.

Is it worth the $300 she’ll probably never see? Does she feel a moral victory now that justice is served and he’s doing 2-5 years? Is she even a hero since her testimony doesn’t match the video surveillance?

Let’s be real here. The only winner in this fiasco is the homeless man. For the next 2 to 5 years he at least will have ‘2 hots and a cot’ brought to you by tax payer dollars. For many like him, it’s better than living on the streets.