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opinion

Being a good Samaritan has its risks. People who rush to another's aid in a crisis often put themselves in harm's way. It is in their nature to do the right thing on instinct. Tragically, as we have seen in many cases -- swimmers drowning while rescuing a friend, people dying in house fires after returning to save others -- their selfless acts may cost them their lives.

Last Saturday morning, Rachel Davis was shot while trying to protect a stranger. Ms. Davis, 23, was leaving a Vancouver club with several friends at 4 a.m. when they came upon a fight between two groups. Members of one group began kicking a man in the other group as he lay on the ground. Ms. Davis ran to the unconscious man and used her body as a shield to protect him. Somebody pulled a gun; shots were fired. At the end of it, Ms. Davis's friends found her dying of a shot to the head. The gunman had fled. Several other people were injured, one fatally.

Beyond her senseless killing, beyond yet another disturbing instance of guns fired on Canadian streets, is the compassion Ms. Davis showed in trying to protect another human in trouble. As her father said later, it is important that she be recognized as more than someone caught in a crossfire. She made a decision not to ig-nore a beating, not to consider it someone else's problem, not to look the other way.

Some might see the message of her death as a negative: that it is foolhardy to stick one's neck out when confronted with a street fight, because someone might have a gun and use it. To our mind, the message is otherwise, and inspiring: that there are still people who care enough not to stand by while someone is being kicked into unconsciousness. Rachel Davis was such a person.