Real Life Heroes of the Colorado Shooting [Exclusive]
9 months ago
Experts say African Americans more likely to act heroically than whites
When James Holmes allegedly entered a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. last Friday, set off smoke bombs and started shooting, Jarell Brooks did what most would in that situation — he ran. But as he stumbled through the mass of other moviegoers, trying to get out, he noticed Patricia Legarreta, 25, and her two young children crouched on the floor. Lagarreta was doing her best to protect her 4-year-old daughter and 4-month-old son as she struggled to get to the exit. Brooks then stopped and did what most wouldn’t — he shielded Legarreta and her children with his body, getting shot in the process, and managed to shepherd them safely out.
Brooks, 19, who is at home recuperating from the gunshot wound to his leg, is being hailed as a hero.
“I don’t know where I would be,” Legarreta told ABC News. “I thank him because having him there next to me, knowing that there was somebody there, just, it’s comforting, knowing that somebody was willing to help.”
Eric Hunter, who pulled two girls to safety in a neighboring theater before shutting the door as the shooter was about to enter, thereby saving dozens of others, is also being recognized for his heroic act.
Both Brooks and Hunter are African American, and the image of two young black men as real life superheroes is a welcome contrast to the negative images of African American youth that are often shown on television.
Interestingly, studies show that minorities are more likely than whites to commit acts of heroism. Dr. Philip Zimbardo, professor emeritus at Stanford and president of the Heroic Imagination Project, did a study of 4000 people and found that African Americans were twice as likely to have acted heroically than whites.
In doing studies on random acts of kindness in several cities worldwide, Dr. Robert Levine, professor of psychology at California State University, Fresno, found that in general, minorities were more likely than whites to help others.
The question is, why?