While the recommendation of security experts to run away during a terrorist attack is good common sense (Kolam Ayer residents learn to run, hide, tell in case of terror attack; ST Online, June 11), an over-emphasis on self-preservation risks institutionalising a “survival of the fittest” mindset in which the slower or weaker members of society are left behind in the scramble to save oneself.
The first instinct of many is to save themselves and their loved ones.
But humanity is also distinguished by an altruistic impulse.
In extreme situations, a person may rationally decide to fight back to defend others or forestall further destruction.
Mr Ignacio Echeverria, a Spaniard, was killed in the June 3 terrorist attack on London’s Borough Market after he beat the attackers off a woman armed with nothing but his skateboard (Meet the Lions of London Bridge: 5 heroes who took on the terrorists; ST Online, June 7).
A taxi driver caught up in the same attack was feted by the British media for shouting at pedestrians to run away, while driving his taxi full-tilt at the terrorists in an attempt to run them down.
We should honour these selfless acts, not criticise them as brash or foolhardy.
An over-emphasis on self-preservation risks institutionalising a “survival of the fittest” mindset in which the slower or weaker members of society are left behind in the scramble to save oneself.
Regardless of whether they failed or succeeded, they remind us of the nobility of the human heart and the potential for heroism in every one of us.
Estella Young (Ms)
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