Four articles that might interest you

I’m juggling family and work right now, so cannot blog at length (something that plagued me yesterday as well).  Still, I have four articles I think you might like to read.

One:  I’ve ruminated often here about the nature of heroism.  I’m not talking about the Leftist version of heroism, which is to stand up in a room full of Leftists and say “George Bush is stupid.”  I’m talking about real heroism, of the type displayed on the battlefield by Medal of Honor winners (and many who aren’t so honored), or in daily life, when one hears about the incredible risks people take to rescue strangers.  I’m physically cowardly, and I’m plagued by chronic analysis paralysis.  The Anchoress, who is not a coward, nevertheless writes about her moment with analysis paralysis.  I think she’s too hard on herself, since she was analyzing a possible threat, rather than dealing with a real one.  Even more interestingly, the Anchoress writes from a Christian perspective, which adds another layer to her ruminations.

Two:  All I can say is that this is one woman who must have a very peculiar sex life if her mind works this way.  (H/t:  Sadie)

Three:  It’s shocking that Dakota Meyer’s translator at the Battle of Ganjgal, in Afghanistan, cannot get a visa to the U.S.  Here’s a view from a Military Times blog, and here’s the write-up I did at Mr. Conservative.  As you read about this, you’ll probably think of the Pakistani doctor who helped us catch bin Laden, but who is languishing in a Pakistani prison.  The rule in America under Obama is that the American government (especially the State Department) will abandon you if you serve us with your life:  we’ll abandon you in Afghanistan, and in Pakistan, and in Benghazi.  There are no limits to how badly we will treat our friends.

Four:  I mentioned in an earlier post Dennis Prager’s article about the fact that several self-righteous Leftist publications have announced that, regardless of what the Redskins’ management, players, and fans want, these magazines will never again sully their paper or electronic pages with the evil “R” word.  I was especially struck by the way Prager, attacking The Atlantic’s explanation for supporting this stand, honed in on the perverse moralizing that characterizes the Left:

Argument Four is the key argument, offered by The Atlantic, in its support of Slate:

“Whether people ‘should’ be offended by it or not doesn’t matter; the fact that some people are offended by it does.”

Response: This is classic modern liberalism. It is why I have dubbed our age “The Age of Feelings.”

In a fashion typical of progressives, the Atlantic writer commits two important errors.

First, it does matter “whether people ‘should’ feel offended.” If we ceased using all arguments or descriptions because “some people” feel offended, we would cease using any arguments or descriptions. We should use the “reasonable person” test to determine what is offensive, not the “some people are offended” criterion.

[snip]

Teaching people to take offense is one of the Left’s black arts. Outside of sex and drugs, the Left is pretty much joyless and it kills joy constantly. The war on the “Redskins” name is just the latest example.

Second, it is the Left that specializes in offending: labeling the Tea Party racist, public cursing, displaying crucifixes in urine, and regularly calling Republicans evil (Paul Krugman, in his New York Times column last month, wrote that the Republican mindset “takes positive glee in inflicting further suffering on the already miserable.”) For such people to find the name “Redskins” offensive is a hoot.  (Emphasis mine.)

Please read the whole thing.

The elusive quality of heroism rears its head in the Nanny State

In today’s Britain, when something bad happens, all people of good will are trained to stand by.  They watch and hope that the omnipresent CCTV will alert the authorities that someone needs help.  Indeed, they’re so well-trained that, sometimes, even the authorities stand aside in order to take a break or follow department rules.  That’s why it’s rather surprising to read about a 14-year-old boy who threw himself into a wild fight in order to help four security guards who were being assaulted by thugs (emphasis mine):

A teenager in his school uniform dived in to stop a fight which saw four security guards punched, kicked, head-butted and bitten.

Have-a-go-hero Jack Slater, 14,  did not spare a thought for his own safety until after he saved the security man from four attackers.

[snip]

Dozens of adults gathered to watch the  spectacle, but only Jack jumped in to help.

[snip]

Jack, who saw one of the four guards pinned to the ground, jumped onto the back of the assailant and pulled him away.

[snip]

The teenager, from Maidstone, Kent, said today: ‘The security guards were getting flung around a bit and one of them looked like he was getting overcome.

‘I ran over and grabbed the shoulders of the person he was struggling with and pulled him away.

‘I’ve never done anything like this before and it was only afterwards I thought, “I could’ve been hurt there”.

‘My friend tried to stop me and said I was stupid for getting involved but it was a spur of the moment thing.’

[snip]

His mother Michelle Slater, 42, said: ‘I told him off at the time for getting involved, but I’m very proud of him.

‘He won’t do anything like that again, hopefully.’

The salient points in that story are as follows:  British grown-ups, trained by the state into passivity, watched hooligans attack innocent people.  A young boy, whose state training clearly hadn’t taken hold (although it had taken hold in his peers), would not stand idly by but, instead, immediately helped, at no small risk to himself.  His mother was angry at him for taking the risk.

Wow.  Just wow.  That’s what the mighty British empire has dwindled to:  a single young boy who still has fire in his belly and courage in his heart.

Dakota Meyer, American hero

I hate hearing the word “hero” thrown around with the casual abandon we see today:  he’s a sports hero, he’s an “action” (movie) hero, she’s a heroic teacher.  I don’t mean to denigrate people who are brilliant athletes, entertaining movie stars, or dedicated teachers.  It’s just that “hero” is the wrong word, and it cheapens a word that should be freighted with ideas about taking incredible personal risks to save others.  Dakota Meyer, Medal of Honor winner, is a real hero in every sense of the word.  Read his story and be awed.

He’s a young man still, so I wish him a long life that is fulfilling and happy.  He deserves it, and then some.

Michael Monsoor — hero

The MSM has been very low key about this one (natch), but we in the blogosphere don’t have to abide by MSM constraints. I therefore wanted to make sure all of you knew the story of Michael Monsoor, the first Naval hero to be awarded a Medal of Honor in the Iraq War. As you know, the Medal of Honor is the highest award America offers for combat bravery. Sadly, as here, it’s often an award given posthumously. Here is the pivotal event that earned Monsoor the award:

Monsoor.jpgOn Sept. 29, the platoon engaged four insurgents in a firefight. Anticipating further attacks, Monsoor and other SEALs had taken up a rooftop position. Civilians aiding the insurgents blocked off the streets, and a nearby mosque blared out a message for people to rise up against the Americans and the Iraqi soldiers.

Monsoor’s duty was to protect three SEAL snipers, two of whom were 15 feet away. His position made him the only SEAL on the rooftop with quick access to an escape route.

But when the grenade hit him and fell onto the roof, he “chose to protect his comrades by the sacrifice of his own life,” according to a Navy report.

The two SEAL snipers nearest to Monsoor were injured in the blast. Monsoor was immediately evacuated for medical care, but it was too late.

Monsoor’s is not the first story I’ve heard of a person throwing himself into certain death to save others. As I’ve recounted before on this blog, when my Dad was in training in the Israeli Army during the 1948 War of Independence, he attended a briefing about grenades. He and about a dozen other people stood in the hot desert sun as the instructor explained to them the finer points of grenade use. (I suspect this was a review for my Dad, who had served 5 years in North Africa in the RAF.) In his hand, the instructor had a glass jar filled with grenade detonators. As he spoke, he shifted the jar back and forth, from hand to hand. My Dad found himself mesmerized by the motion. Watching, my Dad’s battle savvy suddenly kicked in, and he realized that something bad was about to happen. He hollered a warning, and threw himself on top of the soldier next to him (he was pretty brave too). He needn’t have bothered. The instructor realized the problem at the same time my Dad did and threw himself on top of the jar, absorbing the entire blast. He died; everyone else walked away scot-free.

I’ve always wondered in the years since my Dad first told that story what type of a man would have the courage to walk into certain death to save his comrades. Monsoor’s story gives us some useful insight into one of those men.

First, he lives life to the fullest and comes from a family with a commitment to bravery and service:

Born in Long Beach, Monsoor played football at Garden Grove High School, graduating in 1999. He enjoyed snowboarding, body-boarding and spearfishing, as well as riding his motorcycle and driving his Corvette. His father and one of his brothers were Marines, but he decided to enlist in the Navy in 2001.

Next, he has an overwhelming drive to succeed in the toughest arenas:

Monsoor completed the grueling 25-week SEAL training in 2004 on his second try. A broken heel had forced him to drop out on his initial attempt. The dropout rate for many SEAL trainee classes exceeds 50%.

He has probably engaged in other acts of bravery, but was low key about them, rather than boastful:

Monsoor has also been awarded a Silver Star for rescuing a wounded SEAL during the same deployment. While under continuous fire, he dashed into a street to drag his comrade to safety. He never told his family about his heroism. They learned about it the month before his death, while attending another SEAL’s funeral.

And lastly, he might be part of a tight knit community, with each member feeling a strong sense of responsibility for the others:

The SEALs, a tough and close-knit, group, were deeply affected by his death, Stone said.

Rest in peace, Michael Monsoor. You’ve earned that honor.