Commentary

Sciascia: 6-Year-Old Hero in Brutal Dog Mauling Is Epitome of Traditional Masculinity

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With talk of toxic masculinity growing more pervasive in the culture, the idea of a brave man heralded for protecting a young lady in need seems almost a taboo fairy tale at this point.

According to New York Times writer Maya Salam, too many modern American boys have been indoctrinated with the idea that men “can’t express emotion openly; that they have to be ‘tough all the time’; that anything other than that makes them ‘feminine’ or weak.”

It’s an epidemic, leftists like Salam argue, that has led even the American Psychological Association to cite it as a cause of male “aggression and violence” — one that puts males at “disproportionate risk for school discipline, academic challenges and health disparities.”

Heck, even chivalrous male actions have taken on a dark identity in social justice culture, with third-wave feminists and left-wing media culture warriors coming to know things like holding the door or complimenting a woman’s maternal instincts as insulting forms of “benevolent sexism.”

So, when a young man made headlines this week for putting his life on the line to protect his sister from a brutal dog mauling, you can bet I did a double take.

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Of course, that man was a lot younger than I’m letting on — elementary school-age, in fact — and you have probably already heard of him.

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Hey, all. Please, share my nephew’s story so that it gets as much exposure as it can. We know that our little hero would love some words of encouragement from his favorite heroes. On July 9th, my six year old nephew Bridger saved his little sister’s life by standing between her and a charging dog. After getting bit several times on the face and head, he grabbed his sister’s hand and ran with her to keep her safe. He later said, “If someone had to die, I thought it should be me.” After receiving 90 stitches (give or take) from a skilled plastic surgeon, he’s finally resting at home. We love our brave boy and want all the other superheroes to know about this latest hero who joined their ranks. @tomholland2013 @chrishemsworth @robertdowneyjr @markruffalo @prattprattpratt @twhiddleston @chadwickboseman @vindiesel @chrisevans EDIT: I just finished visiting with Bridger at his home. His wounds are looking so much better! He’s in great spirits, and his awesome personality is intact. He can’t smile too widely yet, but he was grinning as I read some of your comments to him. I’d also like to mention here that the dog’s owners are really great people who have been nothing but kind to Bridger and his family. We feel no resentment toward them at all, and—if anything—there’s only been an increase of love between our families as a result of this incident. EDIT 2: Once again we’re blown away by the amazing comments and messages that Bridger’s receiving. I’ve had lots of inquiries about a GoFundMe. Bridger’s family has asked that any one wishing to help out financially can, instead, donate to @mission_22 or @wwp. Bridger is also a huge fan of Science, especially Geology. So I’m going to start a post where people can share with him pictures of cool rocks that they see. EDIT 3: Once again, everyone’s kindness has meant so much to us. I’m trying to get to all of the messages that I can, but it may take some time. For those who have inquired about sending Bridger some rocks, here’s the address to use: Bridger Walker P.O. Box 22141 Cheyenne, WY 82003 #BridgerStrong

A post shared by Nikki Walker (@nicolenoelwalker) on

Six-year-old Wyoming native Bridger Walker went viral last week when proud aunt Nicole Walker posted to Instagram describing the boy’s heroism alongside photographs revealing the aftermath of the dog attack — which resulted in roughly 90 stitches.

“On July 9th, my six year old nephew Bridger saved his little sister’s life by standing between her and a charging dog,” Walker wrote. “After getting bit several times on the face and head, he grabbed his sister’s hand and ran with her to keep her safe.

“He later said, ‘If someone had to die, I thought it should be me.’ After receiving 90 stitches (give or take) from a skilled plastic surgeon, he’s finally resting at home,” she added.

The touching post was quick to make the rounds on social media, garnering more than 1.4 million likes and thousands more well wishes in the comments section.

As establishment media outlets picked up the incident for coverage, a couple of Bridger’s own personal heroes even ended up stumbling upon the news.

Hollywood actors Chris Evans and Tom Holland, who portray Captain American and Spider-Man, respectively, in the blockbuster Marvel Cinematic Universe, both contacted Bridger to celebrate and reward his bravery.

Evans hooked the boy up with an authentic replica of Captain America’s signature shield, while Holland invited him to the filming of the yet unnamed third installment in the latest “Spider-Man” movie series.

“You’re a hero,” Evans told youngster in a video message. “What you did was so brave, so selfless. Your sister is so lucky to have you as a big brother. Your parents must be so proud of you.”

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And proud they should be. Not only did Bridger potentially save a life (given the relative frequency of dog bite-related fatalities in the United States and abroad), but he also provided the world with a flawless picture of traditional masculinity.

That may sound extreme — but it most certainly is not.

Look at the images provided by Bridger’s aunt.

Behind 90 stitches on the smiling face of a young boy holding tight to his younger sister, what do you see?

Behind the words “If someone had to die, I thought it should be me,” what do you hear?

Woven deep in the fabric of those words and that picture, an astute observer will find true courage, sacrificial love and a protector’s heart — all characteristics once deemed inherent to the traditional male figure and worthy of celebration.

Now, this is not to say these characteristics are absent in femininity or rare in women. Mothers unable or unwilling to muster such characteristics in the face of threat to self or family are few and far between.

Nor is it to say that Bridger had any intention of expressing or representing such characteristics when he acted in defense of his sister.

In fact, quite the opposite. Chances are, Bridger did not have so much of an inkling with regard to these topics at the time of the mauling and, if he did, likely could not articulate them.

But that is exactly the point.

Bridger Walker did not need to understand or articulate those characteristics in order to put them on display. They were, in some way, embedded in his character, waiting to manifest themselves in action.

According to widely held Christian thought, Bridger Walker, as a young man, was designed by God to represent those characteristics.

Like Jesus, the men of the world are called by God to protect the ones they love, living for them sacrificially.

Do you think the modern man could learn a thing or two from Bridger?

For those who do not connect with this idea, think biologically. Men — who tend to be stronger, larger and more psychologically defensive than women, at least statistically speaking — still seem in some way designed to serve in the role of a protective caretaker.

No matter how you slice it, biblical and biological realities point to protectiveness and sacrificial love as the better angels of the male character, regardless of what you may be hearing about the supposedly inherent brutishness and oppressive sexuality of male culture.

An innocent and unsuspecting young man, Bridger Walker is, once again, a flawless representation of these realities.

It’s fundamental truth from the mouths of babes, you might say — and perhaps the toxic layabout men of the modern culture should take notes.

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Andrew J. Sciascia is the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal. Having joined up as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, he went on to cover the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for the outlet, regularly co-hosting its video podcast, "WJ Live," as well.
Andrew J. Sciascia is the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal and regularly co-hosts the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."

Sciascia first joined up with The Western Journal as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, before graduating with a degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and worked briefly as a political operative with the Massachusetts Republican Party.

He has since covered the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for The Western Journal, and now focuses his reporting on Congress and the national campaign trail. His work has also appeared in The Daily Caller.




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