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Wright Words: Daredevil tightrope walker Nik Wallenda is not a hero

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  • Mom of ten SANBORNTON, NH
    June 27, 2013 8:49 a.m.

    I refused to watch this event. It seems to ultimately be an act of selfishness, taking chances that were unnecessary, (without a safety harness) which might have lead to his death. That would have left a wife without her husband and more importantly, children without their father. For what? A few moments of adrenalin rush and a name in the fame game book? I am glad that he lived, but I would not have cried if he died. It would have been a stupid and needless death.

  • Shazandra Bakersfield, CA
    June 26, 2013 11:52 a.m.

    The distinguished Mr. Webster gives six definitions for the word hero. He does not pontificate on how each individual should internalize its meaning or personal significance. Every opinion here is valid, hopefully. From the thousands of tweeters to this author. Ain't democracy grand!

    Definitions:
    #1- "A man of distinguished courage or ability..."
    #3- "The principal character in a story, play, film, etc..."
    #5- "A hero sandwich..."

    Certainly the Wallendas fit one of those definitions, despite the variety of perspectives or personal value systems. I think our DN author could have shown a little more deference and respect for this profession, while stating what most everyday folk certainly feel about his choice for possible public suicide.

    I happen to agree that I do not understand what motivates this profession. But then neither can I fathom how my great-grands chose a polygamous lifestyle, frought with sacrifice, risk and prison-time served. I do not agree one iota with their choice, but I know those choices were heroic, however misguided from my personal perspective. Because they took a great anti-social risk based on their beliefs and allegiance.

  • BobKjar Humble, TX
    June 26, 2013 8:11 a.m.

    This article has no business being on Mormon Times and Jason has no business judging it in the name of the Church. The article is certainly no standard by which the Church should be judged.

  • A1994 Centerville, UT
    June 25, 2013 9:56 p.m.

    "Wallenda, a married father of three..." A 'Hero' doesn't potentially make three kids orphans. It's one thing to have no commitments or responsibilities and do something like this. It's quite another to sacrifice your family's well-being in pursuit of glory.

    A hero lands a disabled plane in the Hudson River.
    A hero gives up his spot in a life boat to save someone else.
    A hero runs into a burning building to rescue people.

    A circus act looking for publicity walks a tight rope over a 1500 foot canyon.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    June 25, 2013 5:29 p.m.

    I don't think anybody here hates him, we just don't consider him a hero in the classic sense of the word. Putting yourself in harms way for fun isn't exactly Homeric. If he would have fallen, his children watching, we would be criticizing him, and somebody somewhere would be saying it was God's will.

  • FairchildIV Salt Lake City, UT
    June 25, 2013 3:54 p.m.

    Why all the hate for Nik Wallenda? He obviously does what he does for entertainment value, so what is the difference between idolizing him versus a professional athlete who also does his or her job for entertainment value? Nik obviously trained very hard and achieved something that to most of us would be impossible. What's more, he has not been shy about his faith. So again I ask, what's wrong with looking up to a hard working, god fearing man who has shown by example that if you set your sights high, you can achieve amazing things? He may not be saving puppies from burning buildings, but that does not mean that there is no value to be found in his achievements. Last time I checked, Discovery Channel was not the only thing on TV. If you don't like it, don't watch.

  • kattawn ,
    June 25, 2013 3:48 p.m.

    I agree Jason. Soldiers are heros. Our local police and firefighters are heros to me. People who live what they believe are heros. Would you call Evel Knevil a hero? No. He did extreme stunts.

  • Brent T. Aurora CO Aurora, CO
    June 25, 2013 12:56 p.m.

    Not supportive of this Jason Wright article (a first). This nothing more than an argument of semantics. Recall years ago a discussion/lesson on the many Inuit words for snow and ice given the preponderance of the stuff in their world. Perhaps we need more vocabulary for the many types of the famous, infamous, inspiring (to good and evil), role models, leaders and those who work hard/dangerously in careers and shining moments.

    What I've found about heroes is twofold. First, the distinction is in the mind of the beholder. Example, our Founding Fathers were either patriots or terrorists (including to those living here who were loyal to England); some think McVeigh to be a hero and some feel that way about suicide bombers. A difference of opinion and perspective, rather than right or wrong about applying the term. Likewise some of the professions Jason indicates are populated by people doing their job, which some don't find heroic.

    Second, heroes often and universally don't consider themselves heroes.

    In the end it is only labeling and, yes, semantics. What Wallenda did is what it was, with no need to have others tell us it was heroic or not.

  • steeroper SACRAMENTO, CA
    June 25, 2013 11:30 a.m.

    I just read a great article written BY Nik Wellenda that was published in last month's Guideposts - a (non-LDS) magazine that has stories about & testimonies by good, God-loving people. Mr. Wallenda is a sincere Christian man whose baby steps were taken on 'a wire.' He feels the pull to this familial calling. Some people join the military because Grampa & Dad were in the Army. Does that make them warmongers? No. Nik Wallenda's desire is to honor his family's heartfelt 'purpose' - whether other people respect or understand it or not. It's been handed down and nurtured - just like Grampa's war stories. No, he's not a 'hero.' But he's a man who was raised in a family that 99% of the world can't possibly relate to. I'm glad Heavenly Father has protected him in his desire to honor HIS genealogy & God's name the only way he knows how at this point in his eternal progression.

  • Eliot Santaquin, UT
    June 25, 2013 11:00 a.m.

    The definition of hero as it is used in the English language is much broader than someone who saves lives or helps other people. A hero may be someone who shows great strength, courage and ability. A hero may be someone who is admired for their achievements. Many of the tweets quoted in the article are from people who admire Wallenda for his achievement, which is remarkable. It is very appropriate for them to think of Wallenda as a hero. You cannot define a word more narrowly than it is commonly used and then chastise people when they use the word outside of your narrow perspective.

  • Shimlau SAINT GEORGE, UT
    June 25, 2013 10:01 a.m.

    Hutterite, I'm not sure who the 'hoobs' are that you are talking about, but the tornado chasers that I knew were following the storms in order to learn more about them, and possibly save lives and property. they are not just driving around the midwest hoping to see others lives being torn apart.

  • JonathanPDX Portland, Oregon
    June 25, 2013 9:58 a.m.

    To me, a hero is someone who, in the face of overwhelming odds, selflessly does something for someone else and not for him or herself.

    While walking a tightrope across a wide chasm is brave and requires courage, stamina and good balance, it's not really the stuff of heroes because the participant is not doing to for anything more than providing a spectacle for others; or in other words providing entertainment.

    Congratulations to Mr Walenda for accomplishing this feat. And while other may choose to see him as a hero, I see him as just another entertainer plying his trade.

  • my two cents777 ,
    June 25, 2013 9:16 a.m.

    While Wallenda was most certainly: a) brave or B) foolish is a perception each viewer could make for themselves. However, that said, his dare devil walk was NOT over the Grand Canyon you see in photos and video. It was over a much, much smaller canyon - although, I am thinking a 1500 foot fall would have been tragic whether it was into the Grand Canyon or another smaller canyon. in order to bring viewership up they promoted this as the Grand Canyon- which it was not. A play on words seemed to work for them, though, as millions tuned in to watch. I was not among the viewers. I , also, live in Arizona.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 25, 2013 8:57 a.m.

    The term 'hero' is heavily overused, and way too broadly defined. I don't believe we can find heroes in entertainment, or athletic endeavour. These hoobs who have enough time and money to drive around the midwest hoping to see a tornado tear someones' life apart aren't heroes. Heroism comes at unexpected times, from unexpected sources. It comes from those who actively seek to serve and help others.

  • Brian Utley Freedom, IN
    June 25, 2013 8:33 a.m.

    Never met a naysayer that even came close to being a hero. Usually, a naysayer is the opposite. In fact, naysayers are so far removed from doing heroic things that they'd probably be better off not proving it...as you just did with your pointless article---an article that I believe lowered people's view and expectations for the amazing variety of life on our planet, rather than raised it.

  • suzyk#1 Mount Pleasant, UT
    June 25, 2013 8:16 a.m.

    I've always believed a hero is one who saves or prevents the loss of life. A man that defies common sense because it is a thrill to him is not a hero. He has a lack of respect and regard for his own life and is deceived in thinking he can do these foolish things and will be safe. A hero is a Veteran, Police Officer, Fireman anyone who is in the position to save previous lives.

  • MaxxFordham OREM, UT
    June 25, 2013 8:03 a.m.

    Hmmm... I agree with Jason on most of this, but when he said "Call Wallenda and his family anything you want —just don’t call them heroes," he just contradicted himself.

    (For anyone who can't see what I mean, it's this: for some people, not calling Nick a "hero" means not being able to call him anything they want. So as the logic goes, you can only have one or the other.)

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    June 25, 2013 7:58 a.m.

    I definitely don't think athletes are heroes. Wallenda is not exactly a hero, but I really admire him for having the courage to display his faith openly while he was risking his life. I think in this day and age that takes some courage. I'm not an evangelical and I wouldn't display my faith in quite that way, but I admire him for doing it with no apology.

  • techpubs Sioux City, IA
    June 25, 2013 7:42 a.m.

    I will agree with you that there are many "unsung" heroes in the world and athletes are not necessarily heroes.
    However to many people those athletes who are the very best are looked upon as heroes. And some of that consideration is earned by the hours, weeks, and years they have put in to accomplish their goal of being the best at what they do.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    June 25, 2013 7:37 a.m.

    Having an opinion isn't the same as having the experience. Being courageous is what it takes before your brave. That's what it takes to be a hero.

  • DonP Sainte Genevieve, MO
    June 25, 2013 7:14 a.m.

    Anyone who has a computer probably has seen hundreds of videos of youth, mainly teen aged boys attempting all sorts of ridiculous stunts, hoping for their 15 minutes of fame. Unfortunately many end up losing their lives or suffering permanent injuries for their foolishness. (And I hope there are not more of these because of the example we have just seen). We all did foolish things as a child. Hopefully by the time we are grown, we have the wisdom to know what we can do and cannot do. Those who excell in their craft can be admired for their dedication and their effort, but I agree, we need to save the word 'hero' for those who rise above the call when circumstances require it of them. Your examples are indeed heroes.

  • Hamath Omaha, NE
    June 25, 2013 6:27 a.m.

    The reason that he is a hero to some people is because they value courage. They wish they had the courage to do different things in their lives and to overcome different fears. Seeing someone overcome great fear makes them wish and think that perhaps they can also overcome great fear.

    The problem of course is that this is manufactured danger... which makes it unworthy to glorify and foolish to attempt.