Fight or Flight: Are You A Coward To Run

Should you question someone’s bravery if they run away in a time of crisis? What if you are witnessing an elderly woman being mugged? Do you involve yourself or do you keep walking? Not an easy decision especially if the person is armed and dangerous. Like come on now, how can expect people to put their lives on the line for complete strangers. It’s easier said than actually done. But what about in other cases. What about the case of a bank robbery or a mass shooting? Or even something more sinister like a high level terrorist attack.

There have been some times I have observed a fight or flight moment in our society. And when I say observed I mean pawed over a situation that took place in society I heard about. Case in point, some of these theater shootings. There were guys who took bullets for their girlfriends, but one man even left his crying baby and wife. People ridiculed him for leaving his family. And if that wasn’t enough, a random teenager came to his wife’s aid, even getting shot himself in the process.

We as a society are so quick to attack, but how many people wouldn’t do this. I’m willing to bet you that the main people who judged the man leaving his family would have done the same. So when we look in the world, how does one become the stand and fight or flight & run away. I think it all depends on the situation.  In the case of a major terrorist attack, everyone is in the process of flight, except a few chosen individuals. I don’t think these people who fight are the bravest people, you just don’t know what you’ll do until the time comes.

There were people for instance in New York’s City’s World Trade Center attacks, who would have never thought they would risk their lives for others, died assisting people from the twin towers. So does that mean the person is less admirable because under normal circumstances they may have run to save themselves. No, it’s a fight or flight situation. Heroism is not like the movies, it’s almost like a knee jerk reaction for people to jump into action and come to others aid. As much as we have our differences as people, we are quick to assist each other because humanity kicks in.

But does that mean those who flight are any less human? No, they are not. That is a human response to fear as well. So ultimately, what is it that makes some people stay and help and others maintain their self-preservation? My best guess is there must be something that triggers in each individual man or woman which forces us to respond to a crisis. I don’t see it as who is less or more heroic, but a chemical reaction in our brains. In the end, I admire people who throw themselves into the situation, yet not knowing what the outcome might be. But I also understand those who run away to save themselves because it triggers fear that we all internally have.

 

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