It's a word making many of us uncomfortable. It implies conflict. We encourage our children not to exhibit it at home.
It's also a key ingredient of a free press — a truth made all the more poignant when the surviving members of an Annapolis newspaper staff defiantly printed a newspaper just hours after five of its colleagues were gunned down in the newsroom.
Many of the reporters, editors and sales reps, who sold the ads to fund the journalism, had witnessed, firsthand, the slaying of their colleagues by a shotgun-wielding madman. Police say the man may have been disgruntled over the newspaper's legitimate coverage of his prior criminal case.
Those media company employees were there when the man blasted his way through an entrance — apparently after barricading other exit routes to keep employees inside — and then either heard or saw the carnage.
In an ultimate act of defiance, the presses still ran later that day, publishing a morning paper, much of it dedicated to the memories of the fallen journalists.
It's a lesson to The Times, our readers and the entire country embodying the very soul of what a free press is supposed to mean in our social fabric.
Journalists are here to defiantly press on, hell-bent on seeking facts and truth and providing them to the public as quickly and accurately as humanly possible.
The defiance of this practice is supposed to, at times, make people uncomfortable.
We're here to dig in and face off with anyone who stands in the way of the free flow of information. We must write about and report on many who ultimately despise our message, including some public officials, criminal defendants and so many others.
And when those who despise truth lash out — either through government and political might or violence — we must push back by continuing to ply our trade.
Today, in the wake of a valuable lesson provided by an Annapolis newspaper that has been printing longer than our nation has been constituted, The Times restates its commitment to these tenants.
We will not back down, and neither should the public in a relentless search and demand for facts, truth and a free flow of public information.
A healthy society is a defiant one in this regard.
Though it's certainly not the norm, journalists have been dying while practicing their craft for generations — covering war zones, violent gangs, corrupt and powerful politicians, court cases or totalitarian regimes.
We will not shrink from this duty. We will be defiant for the truth.