Austin Tice, a freelance journalist working for McClatchy in Syria, has disappeared. While we send our prayers to him and his family, one of his recent Facebook posts stands as an eloquent reminder of how he saw his job
People keep telling me to be safe (as if that's an option), keep asking me why I'm doing this crazy thing, keep asking what's wrong with me for coming here. So listen.
Our granddads stormed Normandy and Iwo Jima and defeated global fascism. Neil Armstrong flew to the Moon in a glorified trashcan, doing math on a clipboard as he went. Before there were roads, the Pioneers put one foot in front of the other until they walked across the entire continent. Then a bunch of them went down to fight and die in Texas 'cause they thought it was the right thing to do.
Sometime between when our granddads licked the Nazis and when we started putting warnings on our coffee cups about the temperature of our beverage, America lost that pioneering spirit. We became a fat, weak, complacent, coddled, unambitious and cowardly nation. I went off to two wars with misguided notions of patriotism and found in both that the first priority was to never get killed, something we could have achieved from our living rooms in America with a lot less hassle. To protect careers and please the politicians, we weighed ourselves down with enough armor to break a man's back, gorged on RipIts and ice cream, and believed our own press that we were doing something noble. Our granddads would have whipped our asses.