25 Years Ago Today: A Hero Stood His Ground and Fought Back

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[Bernhard Goetz escorted from court by Guardian Angel Keith Johnson, AP Photo]

On this day twenty-five years ago, Bernhard Goetz pulled the trigger on four thugs who were about to rob him. For some, this made him an outlaw, a criminal, even a “racist”. For others, a hero.

The hero of myth overcomes outrageous odds stacked against him. He takes a negative situation and turns it into something positive.  Perhaps most of all, he transforms a personal tribulation into a universal aspiration.

Unlike the heroes of antiquity, heroes in the American context do not come from the elite classes. They are not demi-gods, blessed at birth. Rather, they are common everyday folks. What makes them heroic is not the facts of their ancestry but how they respond to adversity.

NYC in the 1984 was not only a different time, it was almost a different place. Sure I realize many of my friends recall the 80s for the punk shows at CBGB’s, the squats, and the LES before it became a magnet for yuppies. They miss the rough edges of the city. But for most citizens, the 80s were a time of grime, decay, and criminality, a city that was on the brink of throwing up its hands and saying “I give up”. Yet there were some who willing to fight back. As Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) stated in Taxi Driver, “Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets.”

Enter Bernhard Goetz. He stood up and proclaimed “Enough!” He fought back. And for that courageous act he earned the praise of many working-class New Yorkers whether white, black, Latino or Asian.

It is crazy that people fail to realize what kept Bernie from getting robbed or killed that night. It was not the cops. It was not 911. It was not the next man. It was his desire to not be a victim. That makes him a hero. Don’t ever forget that.

More here.

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5 responses »

  1. this is ironic,considering he shot 4 black men…who were just asking for $5 dollars…even if they were trying to mug him, they weren’t armed. Racist prick,THIS guy deserves to be shot,but more importantly be paralyzed.

    • You’re a retard Sebastian, everyone has the right to defend themselves and race was not an issue in his situation. What was he supposed to do, ask them to please not rob him and stand there?

  2. Sebastian, reading your comment it sounds like you believe in the concept of proportionality i.e. if someone attempts to rob you with a knife or by beating you up, the intended victim should respond in kind. I believe in self-defense with whatever tools you have at hand.

  3. Sebastian, You’re an idiot. 2 out of 4 of the attackers had sharpend screw drivers. One of the attackers raped and sodomized a pregnat lady and was convicted and thrown in jail for 25 years. These guys were scum, looking to rob someone and they got what they deserved. Had Goetz not had a gun he might be dead. This was not about race but about 4 scumbag criminals. Black people need to stop playing the race card. 33% of black Americans will commit a felony. Why not, instead of pulling the race card, figure out what is wrong with your communities and fix it.

  4. Goetz never had a chance.The jury was mostly non-white and the prosecution was jewish and out for white blood.The corrupt judicial system,then as today,was based on the black is good,white is bad concept,which jewish judges and lawyers still follow.The jewish media is the same.When an interracial crime is white on black,regardless of the circumstances,it is hyped for weeks;if its black on white,the story is allowed to die quietly.The aim,of course,is the moral disarmament of white people.Make them feel guilty and cowed and they will be less likely to resist jewish plans for taking away more of our freedoms and imposing more non-whites and non-white policies on our society.Whites defending themselves from non-whites will always be taboo because our enemies have made it that way,and whites can always count on being called “racists” or engaging in “racial profiling” if they try to defend themselves.I still support goetz`s actions today as then and believe he feared for his safety when he shot the four subhumans.Does anyone remember the 43 million dollar judgement against goetz when he was sued by a jew on behalf of the one subhuman who was crippled?

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