But who really means it?
In post-9/11 America, the truth is that our politically correct guardians only want you to see, say or do something if it can't be construed by grievance-mongers as racist, sexist, Islamophobic, homophobic, nativist or any other "-ist" or "-ic."
Face it: We live in a self-defeating culture that pays lip service to heroic action in times of crisis, yet brutally punishes the very kind of snap judgments and instant security profiling that make such heroism possible in the first place.
Just take a look at some of the caustic reactions to citizens and watchdogs who stuck out their necks during and after the Boston Marathon bombings. A quick-thinking spectator at the race reportedly tackled a 20-year-old Saudi Arabian student visa holder he believed was acting suspiciously. The student is not considered a suspect at this point, but remains a "person of interest" in the case. The student's home was searched Monday night in Revere, Mass., by a phalanx of law enforcement agencies.
Time magazine correspondent Michael Crowley clucked: "It'll be a real shame if a Saudi guy was tackled and held simply for running in fright -- and for being an Arab." Music producer Sledgren took to Twitter to bemoan "prejudice America." Indian television anchor Gargi Rawat called the civilian's actions "sad." Gawker editor Max Read declared: "(T)his poor Saudi kid should sue the guy who tackled him."
For what? For taking all those "See Something, Say Something" ads seriously? Hang him!
If the Saudi student tries to sue, we already know who will provide legal aid and comfort. In 2007, when passengers reported concerns about a group of rowdy flying imams, the Council on American-Islamic Relations threatened to sue the unnamed "John Does" who went to authorities. Thankfully, Congress passed legislation protecting whistleblowers.
As GOP Rep. Bill Shuster said at the time: "No American should ever be sued because they tried to stop a terrorist act. No American should be forced to second-guess a decision to alert authorities that could save the lives of others."