You can't put your kid on the national news, then claim you want to protect her privacy.
Let us commence with a brief review of opposites, just to get us all in the right frame of mind for the column on which you are embarking.
Hot and cold. Big and small. Hard and soft.
And, finally (this one's a bit wordy): Wanting to maintain your privacy, and yet willingly going on an evening network newscast in which you appear in a lengthy news package that eclipses two minutes.
All are pretty obvious example of opposites, correct? But that last example, that one kind of sticks out. (Unless you feel the need to insert a joke here about no one watching the network evening news anymore.)
The last example of an opposite took place a few days after the deadly shootings at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Amid all the gut-wrenching stories that emerged detailing exactly what happened that awful night, we also heard about various heroic efforts undertaken by some people in the theater, people who didn't run screaming for the nearest exit but instead tried to shield others from James Holmes' seemingly countless bullets.
Then there was a 13 year old girl, who, as part of a birthday party with some family, friends and other relatives, attended the latest Batman film installment. In the flurry of bullets, smoke and noise, she saw that a younger girl who had been with her group had been caught in Holmes' line of fire. She was down, and she was hurt bad. Another adult had been shot and wounded, too, and fell on top of the little girl, who was dying.
So this 13 year old girl, she tried to get the wounded adult to move off the little girl, but the adult said he couldn't move. The teenager kept urging him to move as much as he possibly could, with mixed results. Eventually, the 13 year old managed to get close enough to the little girl to administer CPR, but it was too late.
So is that 13 year old girl a hero? Were her efforts heroic?
Sure...why not? If what she tried to do doesn't measure up on the hero scale, what does? Certainly not an Olympic athlete winning a medal or two, or three or five.
We toss the hero label around far too casually these days, without a doubt. But this girl, she's earned it.
If only her mom hadn't gone and tried her best to make things so much worse.
The only reason I know about the young teen's story is because she appeared with her mom on the CBS Evening News days after the theater shootings. In introducing the story, the CBS News anchor couldn't speak dramatically enough as he read every adjective and platitude scrolling on the teleprompter that described the teen's efforts. Then there was the news correspondent himself who conducted the interview with the mom and daughter, almost getting as much face time as them and trying his damndest to kick his own tear ducts into high gear.
It was uncomfortable, creepy even, from the get-go.
First, this is a tiny 13 year old girl, but with all the make-up caked on her face, she looked like she was auditioning for something. Maybe in her mom's eyes, she was.
But I shouldn't pick on her mom, right? After all, the CBS News correspondent stated matter-of-factly early in the interview that the mom only wanted her and her daughter's first names used in order to protect their privacy.
The daughter came across like she was still in shock, or at least in the same zip code as shock. She spoke in a monotone voice and said things like, "I still don't think I understand everything I've been through." She gave a blow-by-blow account of her efforts to save the little girl, without showing an ounce of emotion.
Then her mom pretty much took over, answering most of the questions and getting most of the face time as she gazed lovingly at her daughter and spoke of her "selfless" acts and how she disregarded her own life in order to try to save someone else's.
I have no psychology background other than some college courses, but I'd like to think that if the gang at Children and Family Services at Northwestern Mental Health Center saw that mom's performance on the CBS Evening News that night, and caught a glimpse of her dolled-up zombie-like daughter, they would have cringed, and then immediately scheduled a workshop on how not to parent, especially after your child has witnessed probably the most horrific evening anyone, no matter their age, could possibly witness.
Or, maybe I'm completely wrong. Maybe one of the 12 steps on the road to recovery is "Toot your own horn." Or, in this case, your daughter's.
This 13 year old girl witnessed a horrible event, and in the midst of all the blood and mayhem tried to do a good thing. Whether you think that makes her a hero or not, her mom has no business putting her on national TV to brag about it, while also claiming she wants to maintain some semblance of privacy.