As you could probably discern from my recent post about the Gurkha and the forty thieves , I’m absolutely fascinated by examples of modern-day heroism. Such stories strike against the notion—dominant in advanced Western societies—that crime and violence are problems that should be left to the criminal justice professionals.

In the normal realm, we strip ourselves of the responsibility for the safety of our lives and property (and the lives and property of our neighbors) and expect that a public servant should give their lives, if need be, to protect us. But sometimes a person forgets that foiling crime is the job of the cops and their natural bravery overrides their role as passive citizens.

And sometimes that person is a handbag-wielding grandmother.

Notice that plenty of other people on the street witness the incident (including the guy holding the videocamera) but make no attempt to intervene. But once the septuagenarian starts wailing on the six men armed with sledgehammers(!), these good citizens suddenly rise up to thwart the robbers.

I guess there’s nothing that can stoke a young man’s bravery like being shamed by a courageous old woman.

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