Yours was a very interesting story, Barry. If I were physically threatened, I might be able to try to call what I hoped was the bluff bluff of the threateners but after being beaten up once, I have no idea of what my reaction would be. What it seems to me is that I would almost have no choice. My decision would have been made for me in hyndreds of small decisions of courage and cowardice made over the years leading up to that point. I would then discover either that I had no choice but to go on in order to keep my self-respect or that I was able to rationalize my way effectively out of risking my health. My point is that I think that it is possible that decisions such as you made are not really made at the intersection of threat and comfort but are a summation of how we have lived up to that time.
I know from first hand experience though that reactions in crisis are not quite as simple as that. In my own life I have acted bravely at some points and at one time in particular I acted with a great deal of cowardice. This has stopped me ever since from taking courage for granted and it has shut me up about talking about the high points because the low point comes to mind too quickly whenever I imply to much of my personal courage.
Somethng else, though, I have come to repect moral courage with an intensity that might never have been possible if I had not experienced the alternative personally.