Is it stupid to do what you believe is right?

Many people will have seen the news that would-be thieves were thwarted by a lady in her 70s. If you haven’t, here’s the scoop on the BBC News website.

Some of you may also have listened to the debate today on the Jeremy Vine show about it. The question: was she stupid to have tried to stop armed robbers?

Aside from the legal aspects (which personally I find ridiculous) of taking matters into your own hands, and aside from the spur-of-the-moment nature of such decisions, it’s a fair question. But one particular caller had me shocked.

STUPID. He almost shouted it down the phone.

How dare she act like that? She might have been killed! What was she thinking of? What about her family, wasn’t she considering the impact of her actions should things have gone less well?

Of course she wasn’t, that’s what spur-of-the-moment actions are – automatic behaviour that comes instinctively. In this instance, this lady’s instinct was to act against something which was very clearly WRONG. Good for her! I wish I could say I would do the same, but the truth is I bet I would have been too afraid.

To call a brave lady stupid for doing what was right and good is utterly mad. I hate to say it in such terms, but if she had been killed… So what? What business is it of anyone’s but her own? Especially by her age, she’s earned the right to make her own decisions.

What if she enjoyed horseriding, as thousands of people do, and got hurt or killed doing it? Or more to the point, what if she enjoyed horseriding and didn’t get hurt or killed. Would she be branded as stupid for indulging in a sport which can be dangerous?! Maybe attacking armed robbers is more dangerous, but she was there – we weren’t. It was her call.

The fact is, we should all be like this lady and we are not. We should all be prepared to stand up for what is right, and we don’t. The law and, perhaps more importantly, the society we live in should be supportive of us standing up for what is right. I’m not at all sure that they are.

I cannot change the world, but I can at least applaud the actions of this lady who did do what was right. And would do it again! The world is a better place because of people like her.

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About mikbarne
I'm a writer and freelance communications and collaboration consultant with nearly 20 years experience in UK telecommunications, specialising in VoIP, Unified Communications and Collaboration, and building effective communications architectures. Visit my Google+ Profile

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