Thursday, 23 May 2013

Innate Behaviour

Yesterday the news was full of all of what is awful in this world. The natural disaster in Oklahoma, the horrific machete attack of the unarmed soldier on a London Street,more Middle East murders and maiming, it never seems to end.
Yet, amid the dreadful carnage, tiny glimpses of humanity flicker hopefully out of the darkness.
On radio 4, I listened with tears in my eyes the moment when an ordinary Oklahoma man saved two small girls from a devastated school. His desperate and gentle voice was almost breaking when one of the little girls politely cried out " thank you so much" as he lifted her free of the rubble.
A stranger helping a stranger.
When that poor young soldier lay dying on a city street after yesterday's " terrorist" attack, several women risked their lives to try and help. One woman, it was reported, asked if she could sit next to the horribly injured victim, so "someone" was at least with him at the end, while another woman was photographed bravey trying to reason with the two attackers.
That sort of behaviour is innate. It is almost unexplainable ....it just happens.
Let us not forget this fact.
All of us, I am sure, have been touched by the kindness of a stranger at least once in our lives.
I know I have.
I would not be here, if a complete stranger had not saved me from drowning in an over crowded Loret del Mar swimming pool in 1970.

It would be nice, on this rather bleak day, to hear them....

Ps I will post a duckling video later.... Ducklings are a panacea to all of the ills of the world




47 comments:

  1. Tears here too - but the kindness of strangers is a magical thing.

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  2. "The Kindness of Strangers" - that was the title of a book by the BBC reporter Kate Adie and like you - in contrast with yesterday's nightmare in Woolwich - I can remember so many times when previously unknown human beings have helped me without any expectation of personal profit or gain. That is what it means to be a human being - to reach out to others - not with guns or machetes but with love. We are here on this planet together.

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  3. Couldn't agree more with everything that you, EC and YP have said John. We have to look after one another. Just heart breaking to think of that poor man dying in the way he did but thank goodness for the lady who went to him. There are angels in this world and they shine more brightly than the demons.

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  4. One of the places I really do find hope in the world is here on the pages of our blog world ....so many wonderful people ...people I never ever could have come to know.....it has truly renewed my faith in the good...

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  5. yes please post some baby ducks. need an antidote to all this terrible news.

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  6. This is a lovely post John, thanks.

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  7. A lovelt thought provoking post thank you x

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  8. I am thankful my daily life is filled with glimpses of kindness...at work in the hospital, visiting with Dad in the nursing home...small and large they show that most people truly care...

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  9. The kindness of strangers is a remarkable part of humanity.

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  10. I have never been touched by the kindness of a stranger myself. I have ‘helped’ many strangers, whether these were ‘kindly’ acts or not is moot, and I’m not sure what these means to be honest.

    I stabilised a man’s neck and managed his scalp wounds on the hard shoulder of the M1 following a TV cop-show type car crash, and stopped a know-it-all rubber-necker from dragging him away.

    I attempted to resuscitate an older man on the 53 bus going to Low Edges. I don’t know what the outcome was with this one.

    I stopped a mid-teenaged boy, psychotic behaviour, jumping onto the train tracks at Manchester Piccadilly. He was in his own little world, seemed like a nice kid.

    I helped a lady with chest pain on a return flight from Barcelona. She was basically OK, and we were already circling over Cheshire, twenty minutes from touchdown. So no heroics.

    Last week I stopped a small child racing onto the road (down a hill) on his little plastic car, whilst his ‘mother’ chatted on her smartphone. No thanks or even eye contact forthcoming, incidentally – go figure.

    Less dramatically, I frequently give up my seat on the bus for an infirm person (something that people do not do these days, especially teenaged girls).

    I also often provide spare carrier bags to people whose shopping bags have split. Seriously, I have felt compelled to do this at least twice this year.

    Whilst I’m not one who enjoys/needs to be a ‘hero’, I have certainly given more to strangers than I have ever gotten in life in return.

    I will leave the saddest case until last:

    I once tried to assist a friend with a developing caffeine addiction and unhealthy obsession with domesticated birds and zombie movies. No luck there, a hopeless cause - he needs serious professional help, methinks.

    Nx

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    1. You did your best, but the last one was a lost cause!!

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    2. I don't normally read extended blog comments Nigel because they tend to be rants, but yours is gold. Try your worst, stay human. Beautiful stuff.

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    3. Thanks Sarah. I always try my worst. My extended blog comments usually are rants.

      I took a (brief) look at your blog. Now, this is interesting...I will definitely be looking it up again. It inspired me, and reminded me that I too used to keep a blog with a creative aesthetic. Perhaps I ought to make time to re-start it...I am pressured to write through 'work', but perhaps I need to apply this elsewhere once more...

      ...although I can almost hear John trembling at the thought of what it might unleash...

      Nx

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    4. Tremble tremble

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    5. Nige, with that last sad case you forgot to mention the poor fellow's severe addiction to Scotch eggs...love your comment!

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  11. I recall as a young Rifleman being able to hitch hike in uniform from Shrewsbury to Ashby and back on a regular basis. I never stood on the roadside for more than a few minutes and always managed the trip in less time than it would have taken on the train and met so many nice people.

    Now a serviceman in uniform is a target for a mindless hate crime, police have to wear stab vests and are spat upon, it is all so very sad.

    But, as you so eloquently point out John, humanity, personal courage and integrity still exist.

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    1. Te people of wootton Basset and thousands of other towns thankfully don't think lie that

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  12. I was going to write something nice until I read the last sentence

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    1. That last comment was for Nige x

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    2. You love it really Nx

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    3. Sadly, what Nigel refers to as a "stab vest", we in the US call a "bullet-proof vest".

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    4. Yes, because of the very tight gun laws in the UK, gunshot fatalities are very rare indeed. Hence the use of a sharp weapon in yesterday's London attack - and not a gun. Knife attacks are far more common in the UK.

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  13. For every action, there is a reaction. We seem to be surrounded by horrific events, but then we see the kindness, the bravery, and the caring exhibited by ordinary people and we know that there is more good than evil in this world.

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    1. I would like to think you are right

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  14. It's getting harder and harder to find any good news lately...to see any signs of decent human behaviour. Why does it take a disaster to bring out the good?

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  15. When the doom and gloom of life 'out there' seems to overwhelm us, it's worth reminding ourselves that there are more good people in the world than bad.
    Jane x

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    1. PS Do find the youtube clip of the lady in Oklahoma finding her wee do in the rubble.It's lovely.
      Jane x

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    2. DOG not DO (sigh)
      Jane x

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    3. http://news.sky.com/story/1093711/tornado-survivor-finds-dog-during-tv-interview

      This is the one Jane's talking about - lovely, simply lovely.

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  16. Just after my son was born my MIL had metastasized breast cancer. I took him home to England so she could see him. When I finally had to leave I caught the train to Banbury to see my parents. The train was busy and I had quite a bit of luggage. In the first seats in the carriage there were some men wearing dog collars. They looked at me and my crying baby and looked away. The next set of seats were also taken by some scaring looking punks. The lad was out of his seat so fast to help me and let me sit down. I was very grateful.

    One day I went to collect the post out of the mail box. In it was an envelope and inside there was a gift certificate for a restaurant and it was signed "From your Fairy Godmother". I never found out who it was!

    Helen

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    1. A lovely story ...heart warming

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  17. There are more good folk in the world, they just don't make the news unless they are helping someone suffering froom these horrific atrocities.

    It is so easy to be overwhelmed by the bad news and I make a point of never watching the news on television if I am already feeling down.

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  18. Kind people do remain in the world. I think they are often overshadowed by all of the ills.

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  19. Yes John I agree - with news like yesterday's we have to cling on to things like the kindness of strangers and to the good things that happen in the world - it is our only hope.

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  20. Those women were wonderful and so brave. Yesterday's events were so shocking to me -- I think because of the pure callousness of those two villains and their sick bravado. Thank you, John, for putting into words so much I what I'm feeling today. xo

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  21. The courage and level-headedness of the woman who checked the soldier's pulse and then tried to persuade the killer to put down his weapons is amazing. She seems to have been completely fearless and just doing what she thought needed to be done.

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    1. I saw her interviewed on the news
      An amazing act of bravery

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  22. John, you have summed it up nicely.

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  23. No other words are needed.

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  24. I agree with Gail. It's good to hear of the goodness in people. Something we get too little of on the news front.
    Hope you and Chris have a wonderful Friday, John. ♥

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  25. thank you John for the reminder that there is still good in the world, that there still are heros...so easy to forget with the constant reminders of all the bad that's happening!

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  26. The news as given in the papers or on TV is not a balanced summary of what is going on in the world - bad news is more newsy I guess. All the good that is going on is too 'ordinary'. I see such good every day at work, at my father's nursing home, and on the internet - I may be biased but I think there's a whole lot of compassion and kindness out there.

    I don't have any stories of a stranger's kindness to me, but then I've never been in a position to need it - no accidents, near-death experiences, or emergencies. But I know my father helped people on a regular basis - he was a mechanic, and many a traveller broke down on the highway next to our home. He'd do whatever it took to get them on the road again, and rarely accepted anything for it.

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  27. I'm not asking anyone to risk their lives in any given situation but it just goes to show that sometimes if you intervene in an incident you just might be able to help or save someone's life.

    There are many good people out there, and most of the time we don't get to hear about them and they are not honored like they should be in public.

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  28. I can't stand the witterings of Cameron and Co and their spin-doctor jingoistic platitudes of 'We won't allow this sort of thing to happen because we're British and we're strong, blah,blah,blah'. Well, they HAVE allowed it to happen, so what now? Little comfort to the poor lad's family.

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  29. I want to comment but I can't - words fail me in the shadow of this awful attack. I'm just thankful to read that there are still people who care and step out of the shadow to offer some help.

    And John, your Chris is a very lucky man to have someone with such a big heart. xx

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