Before I got married, my then fiancee and I took the opportunity to exchange our favorite movies so we could get to know one another better.
Just before I left on a missions trip to Haiti, she handed me a DVD for The Painted Veil. I thought nothing of it and went about my day, which included stopping by the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for powerful anti-cholera medication "just in case" I faced a situation where I needed it.
That night, I watched a wonderfully romantic movie ... about a doctor who contracts and dies of cholera in China. The very first thing I packed for Haiti was my medicine - an item I then double checked no less than twelve times to make sure I wouldn't forget it at home.
My wife swears to this day that the timing of our DVD exchange was coincidence and not meticulously arranged to make me cancel my trip. I have my doubts.
In return, I gave her my DVD copy of Captain America.
Having not grown up around Cap, or Marvel, or comic books, or super heroes, or action movies, she had a lot of questions for me when I made it home. First and foremost: why do you like this movie?!
I like Captain America more for the back story than the cinematics and action. It's the story of an underdog - the weakest, most teased, picked-on, and abused. It's a story of an underdog turned protector - someone who has lived through abuse and doubt, conquered it, and committed his life to protecting others from experiencing the same.
It's a presentation of the ideal hero; the kind of man I've always wanted to be.
It's also a great source of inspiration for current events. At one point in the movie, Steve Rogers is asked why, when attacked by stronger and more aggressive men he didn't just run away.
You start running they'll never let you stop. You stand up, push back.
I can't stand bullies, and I won't let fear instilled by others dictate how I live my life.
Earlier this month, Sony[ref]I'm talking specifically about Sony Pictures, the American film subsidiary of Japan's Sony corporation.[/ref] was hacked by individuals alleged to be working for North Korea. Their motivation was specifically the upcoming release of The Interview, a comical satire[ref]That will undoubtedly be ridiculous and a waste of time and money to watch.[/ref] about an attempt by TV personalities to assassinate the leader of North Korea.
This week, the same hacker group threatened Sony once again, along with the movie theaters scheduled to show the movie and any potential moviegoers. Their threat was cryptic, but explicitly referenced the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York.
As a result, most of the large movie chains and several smaller theater groups elected to cancel their showings of the film. Later, Sony announced they were canceling the film's debut entirely.
The precedent this move sets is chilling.
Whether the hacker group involved is sponsored by North Korea or not is beside the point right now. The fact is a group of individuals somewhere have threatened American lives and American interests and, as a direct result of those threats, caused us[ref]I'm speaking collectively of America here.[/ref] to give in to their demands.
By canceling their showings of the film, American theaters have told the world terrorism works against Americans. By canceling the premier of the film, Sony has told the world terrorism works against American corporations.
The president has already made a statement about the alleged threats in hopes of assuring Americans that we're safe - but it's a move that's come too late to undo the damage already done by the likes of Regal, AMC, and Sony.
The world now knows that it's possible to threaten Americans into behaving a certain way. The world now knows it can damage American business interests through anonymous statements engineered to incite fear.
I still won't give in to bullies. I still won't run away. I still won't let the bad guys dictate how or where or when or in which way I live my life. I encourage you to do the same.
My fear, though, is now that we've already started running from the enemy that it might not be able to stop.