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TSA agent is great — but no hero

A tip of the hat and "well done" to Jonas Cohen, the Transportation Security Administration officer who came to the assistance of a man at Baltimore Washington International-Thurgood Marshall Airport recently ("TSA officer at BWI credited with helping to save a life," Sept. 26). It is admirable and inspiring to see someone take action like this.

But please, don't characterize these actions as "heroic." That term should rightly be reserved for its intended use — to describe acts of bravery, especially putting oneself in grave danger for the sake of others. Running into a burning building to save someone's life is heroic.

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Mr. Cohen's actions are highly laudable. We all hope that, should the need arise, we will be able to take the right action to help someone. But ask Mr. Cohen if his actions were heroic. I bet he'd say they weren't.

Don't dilute the meaning of the word "heroic" by using it so casually. The practice is already becoming so prevalent in our media that it may be too late. I can see it now: "Local hero recognized by mayor for catching foul ball at Camden Yards." And eventually we'll get, "In an act of selfless heroism, little Johnny completed his homework assignment."

Walter Levy, Pikesville

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