Jason E. Fort
We Will Always Need Cowboys
What could I mean by that? Just look at my drawing; an early attempt at drawing Garth Brooks, my favorite singer/songwriter when I was in high school. Although he isn't a true cowboy in the traditional sense, doesn't the drawing itself evoke a certain image in motion in your mind?
Do you not think of someone roping a steer, riding horseback at full gallop, wrestling a wild steer down by its neck, or riding a wild bronco or rodeo bull?
Can't you see the cattle wranglers, riding out into the driving flooding plain, going in and pulling out cattle to save them from drowning? Don't you see the courageous Texas Rangers of old, going out after the outlaws, riding out and gunning them down (sometimes justified, sometimes not)?
Now ask yourself, are these things that normal people just have it in themselves to do? No. The fact is, there are just men and women out there who take higher risks than the average person, to get a job done. Sometimes it puts their own lives in danger. Sometimes they find it thrilling. Sometimes they get glory from their deeds. Sometimes, they just do it because they think what they're doing is right. Sometimes they just did it out of reaction to what was happening, but then brush off their act like it was nothing; 'anybody'd done the same.' And sometimes - they die in the process.
Does this sound like anyone you know? Are people like this found throughout our culture, in various professions? How are those people portrayed now, versus in the past?
The first couple of questions I pose are easy. I definitely know some risk-takers and bad mamma-jammas who could fit every descriptor I just listed. And I know whoever reads this probably knows someone who belongs in the same category. They exist in any field where adrenaline may be involved, and most enjoy the thrill of that job. We've probably had a few figures in history who fit the mold. And I daresay, while once in the past, the 'cowboy' was revered and admired by little boys everywhere - nowadays, even in today's Hollywood films, the 'cowboy' character is often portrayed in a negative light.
Yet where would we be without them?
In American history, where would we be if we didn't have a 'cowboy' like Patton take the risks he did in the Battle of the Bulge?
Where would we be if certain American colonists didn't risk being dispatched throughout New England and the southern colonies, against the orders of the British King?
Where would Christians be if Paul and other apostles hadn't risked everything, spreading the word of Jesus, despite maniacal Roman despots and Jewish haters of all things-gentile?
Where would we be if nobody were ever to risk going up into a vehicle propelled by rockets, to visit a frontier that nobody knew about?
Yes, there are many dangers out there. There are things I know I certainly would never choose to face because of the known or unknown risks. And yes, there would probably be some calculable risk for the human race in EVERYONE taking all those risks. Hollywood these days usually portrays the cowboys as those who take those risks in unnecessary fashion.
But who is going to face that barricaded suspect who is holding someone hostage, or who has their finger on a bomb trigger? Who is going to tackle the guy in the store who is grabbing random customers and beating them up out of some irrational rage against stress or life or whatever? Who is going to try to wrangle that wild animal in order to gather samples of venom to save potential future victims of bites or attacks?
Who's going to put on the biohazard suit and climb into that plastic sweat room to test the dying patient, to see what the heck is killing them? Or here's one for you - WHO is going to take what is learned by the patient dying in the viral tent, and risk defying a government by warning against a misinformation campaign by corporations, losing their reputation in the process, by telling the TRUTH?
I digress, but you get the idea. It goes along the same lines as the phrase, It's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it.
While we can all reserve judgement on some of the modern-day cowboys we see for after we see ramifications or consequences for their actions, know this;
The world is still going to always need some cowboys.