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BillyDinPVD

It reminds me of the news story a few months back about the guy who saved the stranger who fell onto the Manhattan subway tracks and by laying on top of him while the train went safely (more or less) over them both.

Starsky

- Imagine knowing he probably could have saved her but didn't even try.

- Very few people's entire life story and worth is really summed up by a single word, especially words like "lunatic".

- If he was the type that said "I'm more important than a lunatic woman", then I'd vote him off the island.

Got to go with "Well Done, Fred!"

Major John

"was Frederick Alfred Croft's act of self-sacrifice worthwhile?"

Yes. Always. The example he set, and the fact that people recognized it - and we are doing so today - is of some comfort to me.

Barbara

I think this is one of our cultural ideals, and I think it reflects the best in us.

Julie

Yeah, what he said.

Rob B

On this one I'm going to side with John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." How much moreso is that act when done for a stranger?

Yes. Fred did good.

Minnesotastan

I'll offer a dissenting opinion.

In the first place, in the absence of more information, it's a bit presumptuous to assume that preventing a suicide is doing the victim a favor. I say this not in a callous fashion, but with the experience of having a beloved sibling commit suicide, and from a background in the medical profession. Few people realize how common suicide is among elderly people - typically undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as "heart attack." Many people are eager to end their lives because of unbearable social circumstances or incapacitating pain or impairment. We don't know that the lady was a lunatic; she may have been labeled such retrospectively because of her attempted suicide. But saving her for a longer life may not have been in her best interest.

The second question is whether the sacrifice of one life for another is a priori admirable. Assuming for the moment that we are on earth for some cosmic "purpose," it seems reasonable to assume that that purpose is to benefit mankind (or nature, or the planet) in general. If the young inspector was capable of perhaps three more decades during which he might provide a net benefit to mankind via his profession or by various acts of kindness, then throwing that away for the sake of preserving a single life doesn't seem logical.

gail

I think that's very well reasoned.

JWebb

What if Fred's "cosmic purpose" was, in fact, to save the alleged lunatic woman? How many lives would have gone untouched or changed in her absence? Just sayin'.....

dorkafork

I'd first like to say that I agree that Minnesotastan's comment is well reasoned, but...

It's getting into post hoc reasoning. I would definitely agree that throwing away his life for the sake of preserving a single life doesn't seem logical, but I doubt anyone thinks Mr. Croft knew that at the time. I would speculate that Mr. Croft's actions were similar to the majority of other acts of bravery throughout history, he decided to take a chance, and risk his own safety. We don't know how risky his actions were, I'm not prepared to argue that his was an unwise decision simply because I have a vague idea of the outcome. He may very well have made the best decision possible, given the information he had at the time. We don't know if he knew the woman was a lunatic, or even if he realized she was trying to commit suicide. He certainly wouldn't have know whether she would have led a rich and full life after the incident. Nor would we in a similar situation. For all we know our risk-taking could pay off. I think that's something to be encouraged.

Even if we knew the life being saved was dealing with mental problems, and that the majority of those who try to commit suicide eventually succeed/live a life of pain*, there will always be exceptions to the rule, and isn't that worth considering in a risk/benefit calculation?

We have an example here, where I think it's a safe assumption that the lunatic woman did not go on to do bigger and better things, but I think we can find an example to the contrary. I'm going to give an example, not the best example, but just an example of someone who was suicidal but went on to have a good life. Ernest Borgnine nearly committed suicide. This is a bizarre yet true story, he stated in the forward to George Lindsay's autobiography that he was saved, not by an act of heroism, but by his friendship with George "Goober" Lindsay. This was before "Airwolf" and I'm pretty sure this took place before "The Dirty Dozen".

I say this with my tongue only somewhat in cheek, but isn't Airwolf worth it?

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