Real-life "Spider-Man" scales Parisian building to save dangling child, gets rewarded with citizenship

Awful high bar for citizenship tests. Nearly everybody would have to leave everywhere…

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And some of them might actually be onto something…


Religious affiliation only matters when one does something bad.

I think this largely applies to other religions as well, but certainly more so with Muslims.

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Now that we’ve agreed that the guy is a superhero: it seemed really easy for the neighbour to just hop over the division and pull the toddler.

That was definitely my gut reaction. I immediately thought of the people who didn’t have citizenship. And while @anothernewbbaccount jokes about a wave of toddler-dangling, the idea that undocumented people might be given extra incentive to put themselves at risk to save others is perverse.

I doubt the French immigration system is anything I’d like, and I doubt that they treat non-citizens well at all. That’s awful.

I am concerned about a president handing out citizenship as a reward in general. Though, honestly, I’m even more concerned about the job offer as a firefighter. Presidents definitely shouldn’t influence that hiring process. Being a firefighter isn’t a superhero fantasy. I’m sure there are firefighters out there rolling their eyes. I’m not saying that Gassama couldn’t make a good firefighter, but if you going to hand out jobs for good deeds maybe check first if he’d rather have a job as an accountant.

So I can’t help but see the rotten world we actually live in when I look at this story, but I think this is a good story from that world.

I think our normal way of talking about people exaggerates how much they act based on Pavlovian conditioning and thinks too much about how things play subconsciously. Gassama scaled the outside of a building to save a kid’s life because 1) they, like most people, care about the lives of children they’ve never met; and 2) they, unlike most people, can traverse the side of building like it was flat ground. Macron offered Gassama citizenship presumably because of a gut reaction that any nation would want citizens like this.

It probably also has a positive effect on the country and the world in general. Sure people are able to neatly compartmentalize the heroism of one person from their distrust of a group of people, but I think it probably moves the needle in the right direction.

One thing they emphasized in CPR training was that when you tell someone to call 911, don’t yell, “Someone call 911!”, instead, point at a specific person and say, “You! Call 911!” In emergencies most people just don’t act.


That’s came from research that followed the Kitty Genovese case, IIRC. Bystander effect.

That’s another psych classic with questionable history, though. Social psych is full of these part-mythologised stories.

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Yeah, I don’t so much believe in the studies or the interpretation of them, but I believe the people who trained me in CPR. (Science vs. technology)

To be fair to the social psychs: the bit that’s questionable is “did the Genovese murder happen as it was reported?”. The research that was inspired by (but not based on) that reporting is still valid.

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To be precisse, Mamoudou Gassama hasn’t been given citizenship. He has been given a residence permit, which will enable him to get a job and apply for citizenship. He hasn;t been given a job with the fire brigade either, but rather an internship.

And it turns out that there is a specific legal provision for granting citizenship to someone who “has performed exceptional services for France, or whose naturalisation would be of exceptional interest for France”.


Well there you have it. The French president is following French law. What a world!


I wouldn’t go that far. I get that it implies a world view where there is such a thing as “illegal immigration”, i.e. that countries have the right to set rules on who gets to come live there and who doesn’t. The alternative world view is “everyone has the right to move to any country they want”. This is a “feel good” story in the former world view, but not in the latter. Tthe latter world view is a minority position even in traditionally immigration-based societies like the US, Canada or Australia (hint: most other places don’t work that way)

The one thing that’s different about the honor student gun violence victim is that everyone really agrees that everyone has the right to be safe from gun violence. The prevailing opinion is that not everyone has the right to live in France. Of course you can label prevailing opinions “problematic” in order to help change them, but it’s a different kind of “problematic” than the honor student, where the wording seems to reveal unspoken value judgements that most people will agree are “problematic”.

It’s kind of hard to hop over a division when you are busy holding on to a dangling toddler.

From :

But the neighbour told Le Parisien newspaper that he was holding on to the boy’s hand but could not pull him up because of a divider separating the two balconies.
“I didn’t want to take the risk of letting go of his hand, I thought it better to do things step by step,” he said.

How could he!
Well, as long as it’s just the French president following French law, it’s actually OK, but I shudder to think what would happen if American presidents were to start following American law. :wink:


I hope they also detained the person taking that video for panning away right at the climax. However I will give them credit for employing vertical video in one of the handful of scenarios where it’s appropriate (#6 Person scaling tall building). Although I bet it was a lucky accident.

I only saw him scale one balcony. Did I miss part of the video? Not saying he ain’t spiderman, but I didn’t see him shoot webs from his wrists either.

I agree with you.

But a man still risked his life to save that of a small boy, and displayed an impressive level of physical skill doing it. It is a feel-good story. It makes me feel better about humanity.


You must have done, or else you’re using “scale” in a sense I’m not familiar with. The video starts when he’s hauling himself up the first, and he climbs another three to grab the kid.


Very smart to go up the outside rather than trying to fight through the interior of the building and into the correct apartment.

France will benefit if Mr. Gassama accepts citizenship; smart, caring people with the will to act are not as common as one would hope.


You are right. Actually, he almost got the boy completely before spiderman arrived.

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I am so often reminded of the Simpsons episode with John Waters

“Homer, I won your respect, and all I had to do was save your life. Now, if every gay man could just do the same, you’d be set.”


The little kid has quite a grip to hang on that long. Outstanding save by the hero!

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