Love, Determination, and a Sense of Duty

After being chased down by a guy on a skateboard with a knife, Paul Blart: Mall Cop was almost able to leave the entire situation he was definitely not qualified to handle behind. That is, until he saw a yellow car in the mall parking lot, beyond the police perimeter. It was Amy’s car and, even though he messed up the other night and knew he ruined his chances with her, she’s still important to him. Right upon seeing the car, Paul paused and tried to get his thoughts together.
The cops set up in the parking lot encouraged Paul to come over to them, but Paul couldn’t take his eyes off the car.
Not a moment later, the choice was made; he reversed his segway’s course and headed back into the mall, triggering a bomb that locked him into his decision. He was heading back into a mall where there were a bunch of armed thugs code-named after reindeer attempting to rob the place. However, if it was only about protecting the money, that would’ve been a foolish decision and a reckless path toward endangerment.
But, as Paul wheeled into the building, radioing his boss who was outside with the cops, he explained, “I made a sworn oath to protect this mall and all inside it.” After his boss’s confusion due to there not being a mall cop oath, Paul further explained, “I kind of made my own. It’s on a plaque in my room.”
Although this moment is meant to be comedic, this exchange also shows that Paul is a truly selfless person who tries his best to put his own safety behind everyone else’s. I think the choice to re-enter such a dangerous situation is fitting for his character. He’s not doing it to be a hero or for attention. It’s more out of a sense of duty, because he has taken it upon himself to put the safety of the civilians as part of his job, even though that’s not his responsibility.
Furthermore, there is the fact that Paul saw Amy’s car, causing him to make the assumption that she was still in the mall. Amy was someone who could bring out the best in him and who he couldn’t imagine going without once she entered his life. Amy did turn out to be one of the hostages at the mall. Despite not knowing for sure, he foresaw this possibility, or at least something similar.
Was it a dumb decision to go back into the mall when, in the words one of the sergeants, Paul was “unarmed, untrained, and presented a large target”? Yes. But we’ve all done stupid things for the ones we love.
This is why I can understand why Paul did what he did. He did have a duty to fulfill, but it was his connection with Amy that did him in. I think Paul’s decision was admirable because it shows just how much love and obligation mean to him. In order to make this decision, Paul had to sacrifice love, too. He had to know there was a good chance he wouldn’t get to see his daughter again. But it would be worth it, for Paul to know that he did everything he could to ensure the safety of the civilians inside, despite being the underdog with little going for him besides his own determination.

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