A GoFundMe page has been set up to help a hero dad fix the family’s damaged truck and cover time off work after a carjacking incident.
On 30 November around 8:40 pm, Derek Gotchie and his family were delivering seasonal gifts to friends when their SUV, with his kids inside, was stolen.
The four kids, all under the age of five, we left in the family car in order to keep them warm.
While Derek and his wife Deanah were removing the last of the gifts, a person pulled up in a stolen mini-van, jumped into the SUV and drove off.
Noticing the now abandoned, stolen mini-van was still running, Gotchie ran to it and jumped in, telling himself, “I’m going to get my kids,” then followed the hijacked family car hard, and fast.
The father of four told NBC, “My dad instincts [just] took over.”
When the carjacker — apparently unaware of the dad in hot pursuit — “turned sideways to get around a parked vehicle,” Gotchie rammed into the back of the SUV, forcing the car thief (who’s now also wanted for kidnapping) to stop.
Cut to the Chase:
Gotchie eventually got his man, saved the kids, won huge admiration from his wife, no doubt got frowned upon by the law, and retrieved his SUV in the process.
He recalls running up to the SUV to check on the kids, then subduing the carjacker, who by that time, he said, “was halfway across the parking lot, yelling, ‘I’m sorry.’”
Responding to the tagline “hero”, Gotchie said,
“Not really a hero. I’m a dad doing dad things. My kids, they’re coming home with me, no matter what.”
According to the GoFundMe page, the kids are safe, albeit traumatised.
The funding exceeded its initial $4,000 target in four days, with 128 individual donations. (Editor’s Note: Looking at all the costs with car repairs, trauma counselling and time off work, the organisers of the appeal raised it to $10,000, which seems to be a much more realistic figure.)
Machismo vs. Masculinity
Marking the distinction between machismo as chest-beating arrogance, and masculinity as signifying a protector, provider, and promise-keeping paternal warrior, Frank Pittman wrote in his (self-indulgent) 1993 book Man Enough,
‘Men need approachable heroes. For the right hero makes all the difference to the kind of man a boy becomes.’
Fathers play the most significant hero role of all, Pittman argued.
The problem is that the post-modern rejection of the ‘God to Adam to father to son’ order, has ‘thrown the Pater [fatherhood] out with the patriarchy.’
A similar thing could be said for authentic masculinity.
The term “toxic masculinity” has packed masculinity in with machismo, blurring the distinction between cheating-beating arrogance, and the promise-keeping paternal warrior.
Such deliberate dishonest conflating of machismo with masculinity has undermined men, and genuine manhood in the process.
This Wrong Needs Correcting
Derek Gotchie risking his life to save the lives of his kids, is proof enough the world wants strong men, and needs men to be strong.
Masculinity doesn’t mean an absence of vulnerability. It means being strong with vulnerability — living out the extraordinary in the ordinary.
Contradicting society’s anti-John Wayne mindset, Gotchie, and stories like his, being repeated the world over daily, are a morale booster for masculinity, offering men a reminder of their God-given mandate to be men.
Recall Shakespeare’s Henry V, who in Act III, Scene 1, before the Siege of Harfleur, proclaimed,
“In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger.”
A speech kicked off by the well-known prose,
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.”
The Band of Brothers speech is only added later on, when Henry rallies his men on St Crispian’s Day before taking Agincourt.
Authentic masculinity is slowly making a comeback.
The world wants to see “dads doing dad things.”
As I wrote three weeks ago, real dads are not spectators — real dads are dragon-slayers.
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