A Hero's Death: Remembering Liviu Librescu
By William Kristol
Tolstoy, I suspect, had it wrong. Examples of unhappiness are more like each other than instances of happiness. Mass murderers, for example, tend to be all alike. As David von Drehle pointed out in last week's Time, these killers are almost always "raging narcissists"--emotionally isolated, envious and resentful. They are at once sick and uninteresting.
Heroes, on the other hand, are each heroic in their own way.
Reading through biographies of recipients of decorations for valor in combat recently, I was struck by the quality they all shared--extraordinary courage, demonstrated in remarkable ways. In this, these men are alike. Yet in other ways they are a strikingly diverse group. Some are religious and some secular, some family men and some bon vivants, some self-improvers and some cut-ups. All heroic individuals aren't alike, even if heroic deeds have a family resemblance.
A healthy society will recognize such deeds. It will remember and honor the doers of those deeds. It will turn its gaze away from the killer at Virginia Tech. A hero of that sad tale, by contrast, received only passing mention in many stories. So let's take a minute to recall the life and death of Professor Liviu Librescu.