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My hero is a 14-year-old Pakistani girl

I have a new hero.

I don’t use that precious word on athletes or actors. To me, heroism means action on behalf of others in total disregard to one’s own welfare.

My new hero lives in the Swat province of Pakistan and her name is Malala Yousafzai. She is 14 years old and there’s a chance she may get to be 15, but only if Pakistani surgeons can help her survive bullet wounds to the head and the neck.

In case you haven’t heard, she was singled out and shot on her school bus by a Taliban assassin.

What did Malala do to infuriate the Taliban enough to send a hit man to kill her? She criticized them.

Since she was 11, she’s been writing blogs and speaking out against Taliban atrocities against women and their never-ending barrier to education for females.

The Taliban has proudly admitted responsibility and said, if she survives, they will eventually execute her. They have threatened her in the past but her family rejected offers of security. Her father explained that their tradition doesn’t allow men close to young women like his daughter.

My presidential vote will go to the candidate who proves he can successfully communicate with a society like this from the Stone Age.

I’m Pat McMahon.