Letter: Heroic act and heroic life are different

Letter: Heroic act and heroic life are different


Perhaps rhetorical, but just can’t pass on the opportunity to praise one of the greatest humans our flawed species can produce. The Westerly Sun’s June 6 ”King or Snowden – Who is true hero?” column by Joseph Bell unfairly makes it an either or comparison, but make no mistake about the inherent unfairness to compare someone who may or may not have performed a heroic act (Edward Snowden) with someone who absolutely led a heroic life. Outside of Nelson Mandela [who some say was inspired by Martin Luther King], who is accomplished enough on the scales that really matter to not wilt and be blown away in a King comparison? “No Justice, No Peace - Know Justice, Know Peace” makes perfect sense to me and the power of King and Mandela is transforming gargantuan injustices where peaceful outcomes were impossible to imagine. But both led efforts that remarkably managed to contain the violence, destruction, pain, suffering and death and ended up bringing freedom, dignity, liberty, respect and self-worth to millions.

I think it unfair to think less of Snowden for leaving the country to avoid imprisonment, while King was jailed, as it’s not really fair to second-guess an individual’s perception of how they might receive justice while best advancing their cause. King lived, breathed and ate justice for more than 13 years, not just appearing one day as someone outside the mainstream. “He should have stayed home and defended the constitution he claims has been violated” might be every bit an unfair statement as comparing him to King is an unfair comparison, and let’s be clear, paraphrasing Lloyd Bentsen, Edward Snowden is no Martin Luther King Jr.

Jay Lustgarten


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