In this age of instant and easy communications, we see so much war on television we forget what is real and what isn't. If war becomes too horrible, we can just turn it off with a clicker. You don't get the blood on you watching a war on television.
Then someone we know gets killed and it brings back to us reality. That's how it was for many in the journalism community this week when we learned of the death of Danny Pearl.
It made us remember that, in the real world, bullets kill and the dead leave behind pregnant wives.
A long time ago in Vietnam I learned that two kinds of reporters show up at wars: the thrill seekers with nothing to lose -- they are not the brave but the foolhardy.
And then there are the others who have so much to lose, those who recognize the danger and go on in the face of it. They are the ones with real courage. Danny Pearl was one of those. He wasn't looking for a thrill. He was doing what journalists are supposed to do. He wanted to get the story right, so he went to where the story was.
Since 9/11, we've all come to recognize that we are vulnerable to terrorists. But from that common vulnerability, we have come to recognize also that we have a better appreciation for those around us.
We have remembered what is easy to forget in the good times, that no matter who we are -- reporter, fireman, accountant, homemaker, public official -- we are all in this together, and each of us has a part to play in our democracy.
Danny Pearl got killed because he was trying to do his part. He was trying to get it right. That can be a dangerous thing, but it is a noble thing.
Bless his heart.
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