Humans want to help others

The reason why ‘everyday heroes’ emerge in atrocities
[Via BBC – Future –]

Ludovico Boumbas was meant to be enjoying a friend’s quiet birthday meal when the shooting began at the Belle Equipe in Paris on Friday. He could have just dived for cover in terror, but when he saw a gunman take fire at a woman nearby, some other instinct took over. Friends say that he dived in front of the oncoming bullet, saving her life while ending his own.
The day before, almost 2,000 miles to the east, Adel Termos in Beirut had shown similarly selfless bravery. Seeing a man in an explosive vest approaching a crowd of people, he tackled him to the ground, detonating the bomb, a move that undoubtedly saved lives.


“Our default is to cooperate.” Kahneman’s System 1 seems to rule when it comes to this sort of behavior. These people have actually thought about how they would react in an emergency.

So that when the emergency happens they know what to do. Thus suggests that training could help people understand how to react, thus giving us a tool to use against terrorism.

There is no way we can ever have enough police to keep every terrorist at bay. But all we need is a percentage of the population who has been trained to act like Boumbas or Termos to make the efforts of the terrorists greatly reduced in impact.

Heck, a security guard at the soccer stadium prevented a suicide bomber from getting in, saving hundred.  Three Americans on a train stopped a terrorist attack by running towards the killer.

And we all remember the outcome of Flight 93.

This is a war and people will die. We need to make sure as few as possible do. 

Terrorists rely on, well, terror to succeed. Perhaps a way to fight is to reduce terror, to identify and train those who can lessen the damage to us all.

Image: Karl-Ludwig Poggemann