And yet, in the literal reality of natural bodies of water, and drowning, and panic….If I saw you in distress in the water, any water, any distress, I would save you.
Not “try to save you.” I would just save you, and there is nothing you could do to prevent me from doing so.
I have spent years training to acquire the skills and the knowledge needed to save you from drowning. I have spent years training others, teaching them how to approach an unpredictable body of water and a panicking swimmer. I have trained others to become the teachers, because my duty to rescue a drowning swimmer is not limited to my personal action. My duty to you is so powerful that I am compelled to instill that duty in others, who will then instill that duty… in people I will never meet.
In all of this, the one thing that has been overlooked is this duty. The police woman is defined as “woman. lesbian. black.” But none of those identities is relevant. The only thing about this person that mattered, the only part of this person that was present when someone’s life was at risk, was this DUTY. This duty, to save a life, to rescue a drowning swimmer in a raging sea, to rescue a gunshot victim in the line of fire, does not stop and ask about your politics, your racial awareness, your judgements about sexuality or gender. This duty is above and beyond such thoughts. There are no thoughts except those necessary to the task at hand.
A person who has never felt such a sense of duty cannot comprehend — And when such a duty is not just felt, but put into action, at tbe risk of one’s own life! How can anyone pretend to understand who has not been there? How can some writer, a social critic, regardless of any talent or insight, no matter whether poet, priest, or politician, how can some writer presume to comprehend this duty if he or she has never had such a duty?
Has never carried out such a duty…
To suggest that this woman might 'let someone die,' to suggest that your thrashing and panic-induced lack of concern for my safety would discourage my duty to ensure your safety, is meaningless rhetoric. I’m sure the words of a gifted writer have a purpose beyond my comprehension; but in those times when speaking is pointless, when a life is at risk, and no words will save it — there is no choice but to act.
It is our duty, as human beings, to do what we can to save a life, to help someone in danger, or in pain, or in distress.
The ills of this world, including the grievous ills addressed by you in these posts, would sooner be healed by expanding this sense of duty than by suggesting — as though it were even possible — that it should be circumscribed.
FYI…If I should take the time, and give the attention, to discerning that you deserve to be saved … when I discover that you are, and I therefore act to bring you to safety…. chances are, you will already be dead.