Democratic Underground

Who's Got it and Who Doesn't?
November 21, 2001
by Rick Kropp

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Bravery and courage have seldom, if ever, been part of my life. Avoiding anything that could cause me physical harm or pain has always been my modus operandi. Being a hero has never been my bag. I don't face fear well. Being a coward is more like it.

But authentic acts of bravery and courage by others have always thrilled and profoundly impacted me to my soul, whether they be in war or everyday life, whether they are done by persons whose job it is to be brave and courageous or by just regular ordinary folks.

On September 11th I had the privilege of witnessing on TV acts true bravery and courage that I will live with me forever. Those were the acts of the firefighters, cops, medical emergency and other rescue personnel caught under and in the burning collapse of the WTC towers.

For the rest of my life, I will get choked up when I think about the kind of bravery and courage it took for those firefighters and others to go into and underneath the towers as they burned and collapsed, just in order to save other people. I'll always think about firefighters, especially FDNY, as authentic real life heroes to honor and admire.

And what about the motivation of the New York firefighters and others on September 11th? Why did they so gallantly rush into those burning towers about ready to collapse?

Sure they were just doing their jobs and what was expected of them. And as public workers they were probably not getting paid a lot. Without a doubt, they have a professional code of honor, a brotherhood and sisterhood dedicated to saving lives. They went into those burning towers because of their families and friends. It was like saving them.

Again, it was because others expected it of them. They gave themselves unselfishly and without thoughts of rewards, either here on earth or in heaven. They did it because saving lives was their job. It was always, always about others. It was never, ever about themselves and what they would gain out of it. It was simply about being brave and courageous because other people relied on them.

In comparison and contrast, a few media pundits have mentioned about the so-called "bravery and courage" of the terrorists who guided and crashed the planes into the WTC towers, and the Pentagon and on the ground in Pennsylvania. Did these terrorists have authentic "bravery and courage" in their suicide missions? Was their "bravery and courage" and motivation even remotely similar to that displayed by the firefighters and other rescuers on September 11th.

The terrorist's murderous acts were initiated and guided by their fanatical belief that God or Allah would reward them and their families with a secure and prominent place in heaven if they went out and killed a large number of unholy infidels in spectacular, theatrical fashion. But not until they sinfully enjoyed themselves drinking at a strip club. A weakness of the flesh I suppose.

This motivation is the creed of extreme Islamic fundamentalism that drove the terrorists on their suicide missions. A creed based on getting instant rewards from God in heaven with their immediate self-gratification and total ego satisfaction. The terrorist's motivation was narcissistic and pure selfishness, not about others or about honor.

These individuals chose not to live and "suffer" any further in an unholy, decadent world created by the West, with America's immoral cultural and spiritual influence, and its economic and political domination of less fortunate nations. They wanted out, get a ticket to heaven and be rewarded everlasting comfort and joy. In other words, it was purely a selfish ego trip. That's what I would call what they did on September 11th. I would never, ever call it courage and bravery.

And in the end, it will never, ever compare to the acts and motivation of the New York firefighters and others on September 11th. That comparison would be a sacrilege and a crime.