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Defining Courage

Updated on August 29, 2011

John is driving home from work when he witnesses a bad car accident. He sees the car catch on fire, and he knows that if that fire reaches the gas tank the car will explode. The driver is trapped inside. There are no other witnesses to the scene.  He is afraid because he knows he could get killed. Not only does he not want to die, but he has a wife and children who depend on him. But he can't help but think that this other person might have a family who needs them to. He is torn but finally goes in despite the fear and rescues the driver.

David walks into a convenient store late one night to get some milk. He walks in in the middle of an armed robbery.  The robber is in the middle of beating the female clerk senseless, a male clerk is laying unconscience on the floor. without thinking, David attacks the robber, taking him by surprise by the swiftness of his attack. David narrowly escapes getting shot, but he does succeed in subduing the robber. He ties him up and calls the cops and an ambulance. as soon as he gives the police his statement, he leaves the scene, because publicity makes him uncomfortable.

In Johns case, no one would hesitate to say he acted with courage. But, in Davids case, it seems there is quite a controversy as to what is the motivation behind his actions. I have asked Fire Fighters how they would define Davids actions. Most say they don't know, they never thought about it before...and truthfully, this is an appropriate answer coming from them...because it is Fire Fighters, Law Enforcement Officers, All First Responders...that are the David types. they faced their fears before ever taking on their jobs. I have had people tell me that it is their job to rush in, their duty. but this doesn't fully explain it, because the David in them would have made them rush in long before they ever took their jobs.  i am completely opposed to those who claim it is a hero thing. believe me, if there is no time to feel fear, there is no time to think "oh hey, just think about all the glory i will get on this one!" they only thing they have is an over-riding, overwhelming drive to rescue the trapped or injured person.

I guess my favorite explanation came from a friend of mine that works within the FBI..." I absolutely believe that it is courage because there are many who do not have that compulsion. Those that do perhaps do not recognize the courage that dwells within themselves"

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defining courage poll

having read the samples above, does david show courage, or does his actions hinge on spiritual beliefs, or is it an unconscionce desire to preserve our species?

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  • tlmcgaa70 profile image

    tlmcgaa70 6 years ago from south dakota, usa

    thank you Ugochi. you are right, courage is important. have a great day.

  • ugochi profile image

    ugochi 6 years ago from Nigeria

    I love this topic. because when I read this hub, I remembered the courage I gave to people. This is an interesting hub. good courage to people is very important. Keep it up.

  • tlmcgaa70 profile image

    tlmcgaa70 6 years ago from south dakota, usa

    that is very true, Nancy. thank you for taking the time to comment on this hub. have a great day.

  • profile image

    Nancy Charbonneau 6 years ago

    Isn't that the way it always is, though? You don't know if you have courage until you are faced with a situation where you don't have time to think, just react. We all would like to believe that we would be heros, but until faced with such a situation, one will never know.