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A New Face: Officer Kimberly Munley November 6, 2009

Posted by Nina Rosenstand in Current Events, Ethics, Nina Rosenstand's Posts, Philosophy of Gender.
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 On a regular basis we discuss the concept of heroism—loosely defined as people stepping up to the plate and acting to help others in need, endangering their own lives—in my Intro to Values classes, evaluating the concept in light of Psychological and Ethical Egoism as well as the various forms of Altruism, Utilitarianism, and Deontology.  And it looks as if we have a new name to add to the list of, shall we say, ordinary people who act decisively, and save lives. Whether we want to use the term “hero” of course depends on how we define it, but what an opportunity to discuss the concept, again! As the news is beginning to pour in, this is the story so far, of the police officer who shot the Fort Hood gunman four times yesterday, putting an end to his killing rampage. Yesterday we heard that she had been killed, but today we know that she survived, and will be returning home:

Here, from NewsPostOnline:

Civilian police officer Kimberley Munley was the one to put an end to this horrifying ordeal. Munley was directing traffic until she heard shots being fired. Military spokesmen. Lt. Cone said Munley and her partner responded within three minutes of the gunfire. Munley, who had been trained in active-response tactics, rushed into the building and confronted the shooter as he was turning a corner, Cone said. “It was an amazing and an aggressive performance by this police officer,” Cone said. Munley shot the gunman four times despite being wounded herself.

And from The Guardian:

Munley was only a few feet from army psychiatrist Major Nidal Malik Hasan when she opened fire.

Munley was reported to be in a stable condition at a local hospital.

She was well enough to spend last night phoning fellow officers to find out about casualties in the attack, the New York Daily News reported.

Cone said Munley’s aggressive response training taught her that “if you act aggressively to take out a shooter you will have less fatalities”.

“She walked up and engaged him,” he said. He praised her as “one of our most impressive young police officers”.

Woman hero Fort Hood1 Kimberly Munley: Hero of the Fort Hood Shooting Rampage

Some might say that it is significant, perhaps a sign of a new era, that it was a fast-acting civilian female police officer who saved the lives of military men. But as was pointed out yesterday, those military men under fire did not have access to weapons, being on-base. And Officer Munley will probably say that for her it was simply a matter of doing what she’s been trained to do. The story may change as it unfolds, and more facts may be added. But right now it looks as if a dreadful situation could have turned even more deadly, had it not been for Officer Munley and her partner.  So is Officer Munley a hero? Let’s say we need to understand the situation a little better before we use the H-word. But did she do something heroic? It certainly looks that way.

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