I wasn’t planning to write two blog posts in one day, but here I am.
You’re probably over-acquainted with the name Brock Turner. It’s become infamous to the public over the last week. It’s hard to scroll down your Facebook news feed without seeing something about the story – in which Brock, a college freshman, raped an unconscious, twenty-three-year-old female student behind a dumpster. Brock is walking away with six months of jail time – no, wait! Only three, if he displays good behavior. After all, according to his father, why should he have to pay for ‘twenty minutes of action’ by giving away a few months of his life? After all, he’s an athlete – a swimmer! Wouldn’t it be a shame to ruin his career over twenty minutes?
The story is outraging and horrendous. We’re all probably tired of being angry, but we can’t help ourselves. When Buzzfeed published the rape victim’s open letter to Brock, she took a moment make this statement –
“I sleep with two bicycles that I drew taped above my bed to remind myself there are heroes in this story. That we are looking out for one another.”
The heroes mentioned here are Karl Arndt and Peter Jonsson, two young Swedish men who were riding their bicycles past the campus when they saw what Brock was doing to the unconscious young woman behind the dumpster.
They could have kept riding. It wasn’t really their problem. But Karl and Peter not only stopped, they got off their bikes and approached the scene. When Brock ran, they chased him down, called the police, and held him until they arrived.
It would have been so easy to ride past the assault, to make excuses for what they’d seen. Maybe it was a boyfriend and girlfriend. Maybe she wasn’t really passed out. But Karl and Peter, in an act as small and as huge as slowing down and questioning the scene unfolding, stopped a rape and saved a victim. They went above and beyond to apprehend Brock and keep him in custody until the police arrived.
Karl Arndt and Peter Jonsson’s names will never be as well-known as Brock Turner, but they will always be more important. Not only will they mean something to me, but they’ll mean worlds more to the young woman they saved.
It was such a simple thing. Two men on two bicycles, taking notice. I saw an article yesterday that called them heroes, and it struck a chord. I wrote about heroes just the other day, and I think Karl and Peter illustrate the idea of what a hero really is. A hero isn’t always Superman or Hercules, a muscle-bound Prometheus in a cape. A hero is someone who sees something wrong, and takes action to make it right. Heroes aren’t always mythical.