June 14, 2017
THE SHORT SHELF LIFE OF HEROES
My favorite story of the last week is the tale of Roy Larner, an unlikely 47-year-old soccer fan who has been dubbed the “Lion of London Bridge” for his fighting off a band of knife-wielding terrorists while others fled in terror.
His story is a shining light, made only brighter by the rather tepid political responses of the London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Prime Minister Theresa May to recent terror attacks in the city. To be fair, it is a public official’s job to try to restore calm after such horrendous events, but people are growing weary of repeatedly being told to “calm down.”
Then along comes Roy Larner, a working class hero, who finally says enough is enough.
Roy had just polished off “four or five pints” at the Black and Blue pub near the London Bridge, when three terrorist thugs – who had just run down pedestrians on the bridge and hacked them to death with machete-like knives – broke through the door.
People started running, but not Roy, who was interviewed in The Sun newspaper:
“They had these long knives and started shouting about Allah. Then it was, ‘Islam, Islam, Islam,'” Larner, a fan of the Millwall Football Club later told reporters. “Like an idiot, I shouted back at them. I thought, ‘I need to take the piss out of these bastards.’
“I took a few steps toward them and said, ‘Fuck you, I’m Millwall’. So they started attacking me. I stood in front of them trying to fight them off. Everyone else ran to the back. I was on my own against all three of them, that’s why I got hurt so much. It was just me, trying to grab them with my bare hands and hold on. I was swinging. I got stabbed and sliced eight times. They got me in my head, chest and both hands. There was blood everywhere.
“They were saying, ‘Islam, Islam!’ I said again, ‘Fuck you, I’m Millwall!’
The terrorists ended up stabbing and slicing Roy eight times in the chest, arms and neck before fleeing outside. Despite bleeding heavily from his wounds, he followed them outside in time to see them gunned down by the police.
We need people like Roy Larner to remind us there is an alternative to running away. We live in a world in which we are repeatedly told to let the police or the authorities handle whatever situation takes place. The police in this case did a bang-up job of getting to the scene quickly and killing the evil jerks who thought it was a grand idea to run down and kill people they didn’t even know.
But it still takes time for the police to respond, and until they get there people need to protect themselves and others. It’s either fight or flee. For guys like Roy Larner, it’s simple. You fight.
We need more guys like Roy Larner, and we all need to be more like Roy Larner ourselves. The story of this plucky hero who would rather fight than run has drawn much praise and admiration from the public.
Unfortunately, I would advise Roy Larner to enjoy it while he can. The press loves stories about individual heroes defying the odds. The second kind of stories the press loves – after the incident is over – is tearing down the same heroes they made famous.
Roy Larner is a brave and colorful character, who says exactly what’s on his mind. Sooner or later that’s going to get him in trouble.
“Show me a hero, and I’ll show you a bum,” Greg “Pappy” Boyington famously said. Boyington was a World War II Marine fighter pilot who lived life as large and bold as he flew planes in combat. He was a seat-of-his-pants kind of guy, much as I suspect Roy Larner is.
The kind of guy who says exactly what’s on his mind and doesn’t mince words. In other words, honest, outspoken, and not politically correct.
Maybe it’s time for the cover-your-ass politicians and leaders to listen and learn.
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