I’m putting this on the blog largely because I want to have easy access to it in the future. If you haven’t seen it yet it would be worth your time to read as well.
It’s a post from the Slate.com blog XX Factor, billed as “What Women Really Think”, from Hanna Rosin, author of The End of Men. The subject for Rosin is the self-sacrifice made by three men on behalf of women during the Aurora movie theater shooting.
In the movies the Dark Knight does not always save his lady, but in the Aurora theater the story unfolded differently. The male instinct to rescue and protect kicked in the way it does in less complicated superhero tales. At least three of the 12 victims of the shooting died because they were physically protecting the women they came to the movie with. Alex Teves, 24, used his body as a shield to cover his girlfriend. He was shot, and she survived. Matthew Robert McQuinn threw his body in front of his girlfriend, Samantha Yowler. He too was killed, and she was pulled to safety by her brother, Nick Yowler. Jonathan Blunk, 26, pushed his girlfriend, Jansen Young, under a seat. Again, he was killed, and she got out after the shooting was over. Young crawled out and realized she and her boyfriend were alone in the theater, only he was really wet, and she couln’t believe what had happened, so she tried to convince herself that someone must have thrown a water balloon.
Rosin’s conclusion is right on.
Papers have described what happened in the theater as “chivalry.” But it’s not really that. Chivalry is a code of conduct connected to social propriety. Throwing your body in front of your girlfriend when people all around you are getting shot is an instinct that’s basic, and deeper. It’s the same reason these Batman and Spider-Man franchises endure: Because whatever else is fading away, women still seem to want their superhero, and men still seem to want to be him.
Of course, Rosin doesn’t ask why this “basic and deeper instinct” is present.
In fact, the current cultural milieu, constructed as it is with no reference to the God of creation, can’t understand why. But we Christians aren’t in the same boat.
We understand that Alex Teves, Matthew Robert McQuinn, and Jonathan Blunk are heroes. And we understand why – they were acting out the image of the God who created them to reflect His character in defending those who need defense.