What Would You Be Willing to Risk For Money?

Two Australian men have been killed in a bomb attack in Iraq (full story here). They were employed as private contractors by a security firm to help train Iraqi forces.

Both men were well qualified for the job; a former soldier and a former policeman. What’s more, the assignment had attractive prospects, with $US130,000 to $US170,000 as an annual salary. The only catch being, they were in the middle of an increasingly volatile war zone. Weighing up the salary over the risk involved, maybe it seemed worth taking the chance, but at what cost? Both of the Queensland men had families: one with two young children, the other with a three-week-old baby whom he will never meet.

Of course, there’s also the motivating factor of wanting to help a nation in dire need of assistance, but what’s a person’s primary responsibility in life? Is it to your family or to serving the ‘greater good?’ Is looking after your family financially as important as being there for them?

Before having kids my hubby and I engaged in a number of hair raising ‘thank God I survived that’ type activities. Sky diving, and risking life and limb traveling by local bus on the landslide prone cliffs of Nepal, were a couple of things I’m very lucky to have lived through. Back then though it didn’t seem such a big deal. Now my priorities, and that of my husband’s, have changed. Risking my life seems a more selfish endeavour – though our trip to Nepal was primarily to help others, I wouldn’t do it now that I have a young daughter to consider.

Then again, without people like these two men, where would we be? There are people out there putting their lives on the line every day. Sometimes it’s for the pay. Often it’s to serve the community. Obligation is perhaps the key here, and the line on where that obligation is drawn is pretty blurry. What would you be willing to risk, and for what, if there was family to consider?

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