Several students stopped a gunman Thursday in yet another shooting, this time at a Seattle university, cutting short his killing spree.
I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time on this, since these guys have already been (correctly) lauded as heroes across the media. But there are a few things worth adding:
- It’s notable that the person who first tackled the gunman used pepper spray. I can’t say how many times I’ve been scoffed at for carrying pepper spray as my (only) self defense tool on my journey. “It won’t help you when someone else has a gun,” I’m told. This is a case where someone with only pepper spray not only defeated a gunman, but almost certainly saved many lives.
- The same person exercised incredibly good judgment. They ran up and tackled the gunman just as he paused to reload. Had they run in blindly they would likely have been shot themselves. This is a great example of how true heroic action isn’t just brave, it’s also practical and that is why it succeeds. It’s also a great example of how when one person acts, everyone else just watching will, too. Once the first hero sprayed and tackled the gunman, others ran in to help hold him down.
- The person who tackled him most certainly is a hero, even by my own strict definition. It doesn’t matter that he was on the job as a building monitor; building monitors aren’t police officers or even security guards, and are not expected to defeat criminals. His training as a monitor was most likely to call security or 911. He exceeded that duty for the sake of others, and acted both intelligently and courageously. That’s a true hero.
Of course, had our hero had a gun instead of pepper spray, he may have made matters worse; there were clearly a lot of people around and more bullets in the air could easily have endangered bystanders.
My book Lúnasa Days has been called “like Paulo Coelho only darker.”
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