Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Good Samaritan

You hear the phrase in the news all the time, associated with selfless and heroic acts. Just this past Tuesday, for instance, a passerby was considered a good Samaritan for alerting a deaf family in Indianapolis that their house was on fire. On Sunday night, a Michigan woman saved a life by stopping to aid a man who had left the car he had just crashed to seek help and collapsed by the side of the road. And a week ago Sunday, a Washington man rescued a 3-month-old puppy (pictured) that had been thrown from a truck. The phrase "good Samaritan" comes from a parable in the Bible in which a presumably Jewish traveler is beaten, robbed, and left for dead. Two Jews - a priest and a Levite - pass by without helping him, but a 3rd man - a Samaritan - gives him aid. Samaritanism is closely related to Judaism, but the members of the 2 religions strongly disagreed with each other, so the story was meant to illustrate the admonition to "Love thy neighbor." Sometimes people doing just that become victims of the very situations in which they try to help. Early on Sunday, a man in California attempted to stop a thief from taking his neighbor's car and was shot and killed for his efforts. On Friday in Melbourne, Australia, an 83-year-old man was assaulted and robbed when he responded to the cries of a woman who then attacked him with her accomplice. While they can't be protected during the incidents, good Samaritans are usually protected by the law after they do intervene.

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