Chivalry of 'Dark Knight' Rampage Victims Lives On in Their Memory

Aurora shootingBefore I started writing this, I did a quick Google search to see if there were any updates on the relationship between Patricia Legarreta and her now-fiancee, Jamie Rohrs. It’s been weeks since the rampage in Aurora, Colorado, and I was hoping, by some amazing lightning bolt-like strike of post-traumatic epiphany, she would’ve changed her mind about accepting his proposal, the one he delivered in the hospital after he left her and her two children—a 4-year-old and a 4-month-old—in the theater to fend for themselves. 

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I was hoping, perhaps, she’d come to her senses and realize that love doesn’t necessarily conquer all, that a man who demonstrates during the dating process that he’s not willing to do whatever it takes to protect his family is probably not good husband material, that Jarrell Brooks, the 19-year-old stranger who heroically took a shot in the leg as he helped her and her babies, has more of the kind of character she should be looking for in a life mate.

But no such luck, at least not on Google. So I’m left to assume that she’s still basking in the glory of a life not saved by the man she’s about to marry. I wish her the best but I can say this: no one knows exactly what they’d do in a situation like that, but even if you can’t hold your ground in defense of the woman you claim to love, you should do it for your child. That’s a no-brainer for a parent, if not for the mother of your infant and your soon-to-be fiancee. A man who doesn’t stick around to protect his own defenseless children isn’t much of a man in my book.

Chivalry may be fading fast, as demonstrated in the aforementioned debacle, but in addition to Brooks’ heroism, it surged in life-saving valor when three men made the ultimate sacrifice to shield their girlfriends. I can’t even express how tragic and senseless their deaths are. I still tear up just imagining the unexpected chaos in something as simple as going to see a movie with your honey, which most of us do without giving much thought to anything except how exorbitantly priced the tickets and popcorn are. God bless them.  

Jansen Young and her boyfriend, Jon Blunk, 26, were there in that theater on a date. He served in the Navy and was planning to re-enlist, but that night he used his training—and his own ardent spirit of protectiveness—to push Young under a row of seats and out of the line of fire as James Holmes walked up and down the aisles, shooting victims in his path. Matt McQuinn shielded his girlfriend, Samantha Yowler, and together with her brother, Nick, saved her life, even though Matt sacrificed his own when he suffered three gunshot wounds in the massacre. Alex Teves used his body to keep his boo, Amanda Lindgren, safe as Holmes unleashed his gunfire fury. He passed away at the scene, saving the life of the woman he was with.

Chivalry is more than holding doors open and allowing ladies to walk through first. It’s a sense of honor and valor, even in the face of danger, and even though media coverage of the Aurora massacre has tapered off for the next hot story (which most certainly wasn’t the Sikh temple shooting, which was barely a whisper across print and digital headlines), I think those men deserve to be mentioned a month later, two months later, three years later, a decade from now for their willingness to give their lives to save someone else’s. It’s everything we claim to celebrate about heroism and chivalry and, in my book, the most amazing demonstration of selflessness anyone can show—especially in a think-fast situation.

Do you expect your spouse to lay down his life for you if need be or is that an old-school, romanticized notion?


Image via Ms. Sticky/Flickr

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