A tale of two heroes

We are living in times of the self-obsessed and the self-absorbed, where everything begins and ends with "me."

When people visit a historical monument or marvel at the scenic beauty of nature, instead of taking pictures for their memories, they take selfies, where the self literally is before everything.

Politicians and celebrities promote and brag about owning expensive electric vehicles (Teslas start at $69,900), not caring that the average annual income for citizens is $53,490.

Publicity-hungry medical professionals and powerful politicians impose mandates for ineffective vaccines and prescribe lockdowns for regular people while flouting these rules in their personal lives

This narcissism and self-love almost insulate these people from the outside world.  Consequently, there is very little empathy for the less fortunate.  Charity all too often is for virtue-signaling rather than compassion.

But on rare occasions, we do hear of stories that succeed in restoring faith in the human race.

One such incident occurred in Queens, New York a few days ago.

Louie Suljovic, a 38-year-old military veteran, and his 68-year-old father, Cazim Suljovic, were working at their pizzeria and restaurant at night when they saw the elderly woman being robbed by two men.

Without even a scintilla of reluctance, both father and son swung into action to help the victim.

Following a brutal and prolonged physical struggle with the assaulters, both Suljovics were stabbed multiple times and struck with an unidentified object.  Both the father and son suffered punctured lungs.  The elderly woman was also stabbed by one of the assailants.

Despite being stabbed and obviously in considerable pain, both men managed to restrain two of the three perpetrators until police arrived to take them into custody. 

The brave men then walked over with the police to the nearest hospital, where they and the woman are being treated. 

The NYPD and many others lauded their local heroes for their unquestionable selflessness and courage.

This was not their only recent act of altruism.  The Suljovics had also donated meals to Elmhurst Hospital staff and emergency workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"He and his father are among the very best New York has to offer.  We thank them for their bravery and wish them a speedy recovery," the NYPD's 110th Precinct said in a statement.  

The assaulters and thieves were identified as Robert Whack, 30, and Supreme Gooding, 18.  Gooding is Whack's brother-in-law. 

Both men were charged with robbery, assault, and criminal possession of a weapon.  Whack was also charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance.  The third perpetrator remains at large as police continue their investigation. 

The elderly female victim informed the police that her assaulters had struck her from behind, pushed her, and snatched her bag.  This was followed by a stabbing spree, where both she and her saviors were victims.

Surveillance video of the incident showed the three men following the victim that night.  After the assault, Gooding is seen laughing as they flee with the victim's purse, the court papers indicated.

The police said they recovered a bloody knife from Whack's jacket pocket, and he once again confirmed that the weapon belonged to him.

Whack, arrested with 39 bags of heroin in his possession, was jailed on $450,000 bail, while Gooding was held on $250,000 cash bail at his arraignment, said a spokeswoman for the Queens D.A.'s office.

The assault is part of the crime wave that has engulfed many major cities across the U.S.  Those relentlessly demonizing law enforcement as systemically racist and demanding the defunding of police have blood on their hands.  They have weakened the police force and placed the lives of regular people in peril, while they themselves have private security.

The proud son also talked about his brave father.

"The man is a machine.  They don't make them like that anymore.  I'm better.  It can be tough to breathe, but I'm better."

Louie is right.

The age of chivalry, bravery, and selflessness is fast melting into thin air.

The bravery of the Suljovics is in stark contrast to recent incidents where bystanders displayed indifference.

During an assault and robbery inside a McDonald's eatery located in Midtown, New York, witnesses simply watched as the victim was knocked unconscious by a parolee who was later taken into custody.

Also, last year, a passenger onboard a SEPTA train in Philadelphia was sexually assaulted, but none of the fellow passengers dared intervene or even notify authorities via their cell phones.  The assault carried on for over 45 minutes until an off-duty employee reported the incident, resulting in the arrest of the assaulter.

Also on a Philadelphia train, four African-American girl students hurled racist abuses and intimidated and physically assaulted a group of Asian-American high school students.  A senior Asian-American girl student who attempted to intervene was assaulted by the African-American girls.  Once again, none of the other passengers intervened.

To be fair, we are living in a racially charged atmosphere that is driven by the media, politicians, and activists.  In all cases, the perpetrators were non-white people, and it is possible that witnesses didn't want to intervene for fear of being demonized as racists.

They know that their lives and those of their families could be destroyed if they become targets of a relentless media-led campaign.  Most people just do not want the hassle of being involved with the law and the unwanted media attention.  They saw what happened to Kyle Rittenhouse and the Covington kid, both of whom were accused of racism without any basis, and their lives were nearly destroyed.  Above all, few want to risk their lives or even an injury for strangers.

This makes the actions of Louie and Cazim Suljovic  many times more heroic.  Apart from not caring about their own well-being, they did not think about the potential consequences of their actions, such as a media trial.  They also didn't care about lawyers for the perps potentially misusing the law or playing the race card to make them look like culprits.

The result of the way heroes are depicted in literature and on film is that we focus solely on the act of valor.  The hero is thought of like a vigilante or an intrepid crime-fighter with fists and guns. 

What is often forgotten is that the core of heroism is compassion.  At the core of the Suljovics' actions was human empathy and kindness for the defenseless septuagenarian Korean woman in peril, who is no relative or friend of theirs.

We must hence celebrate them as humanitarians as much as heroes and hope we create a climate that encourages similar acts.

The justice system and law enforcement should ensure that such heroes are honored and above all treated with dignity and respect during every interaction.

The coverage across all media needs to be more extensive and commemorative.  It is time to celebrate heroism and compassion.

The restaurant remains closed while the Suljovics recover from their injuries.  Hence, a GoFundMe page set up to help the two men and their medical expenses has raised more than $276,000. 

Photo credit: Twitter.

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