One Tuff cookie

Beautifully disarming school employee in Decatur armed with love

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“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

– Clarence the angel

It’s a Wonderful Life

This country has tossed around a lot of potential solutions to school shootings since the stunning massacre at Sandy Hook.

We’ve talked about gun control, arming teachers, more armed security guards. We’ve not talked a lot about mental health reform, which is what we really need to be talking about. That’s the common thread in these events.

The case of armed intruder Michael Brandon Hill at a Decatur elementary school last week is a prime example. His problem wasn’t the gun lobby; by his own admission, he was off his medication.

But the real story in last week’s tense drama was Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy front-office worker Antoinette Tuff.

It’s one of the stories of the year, in our view.

Rather than run and hide, Ms. Tuff played intermediary between the gunman and the 911 dispatcher – with a unique alloy of steel and silk. Courageously, she stood with the gunman and relayed messages to the dispatcher, while showing divine love and kindness to the troubled young man.

She helped encourage him to surrender peacefully. No one was injured.

“It’s going to be all right, sweetie,” she reassured the armed man. “I just want you to know I love you, though, OK? And I’m proud of you. That’s a good thing that you’re just giving up and don’t worry about it. We all go through something in life.”

At another point, she opened up to him about her own struggles:

“I thought the same thing,
you know. I tried to commit suicide last year after my husband left me. But look at me now. I’m still working and everything is OK.”

Yes, let’s look at her now, because she is the very face of love and compassion.

There can be no doubt that her calm compassion and empathy extinguished a blaze that could have raged out of control. It’s not a stretch to suggest she may have saved little boys and girls and her adult colleagues, perhaps numerous of them.

The term “hero” is sometimes awarded dubiously today. But there is no debating the
accolade in her case.

You can try to train people to do what she did, and indeed she was trained. But it still seemed to spring naturally from her heart.

And let there be no mistake: What she did, in confronting potential mass violence with a fire extinguisher of love, is neither weak nor easy. It’s the sign of great strength and wisdom.

She is, indeed, one Tuff cookie.

Her admission that she considered harming herself last year is reminiscent of the plot in It’s a Wonderful Life. In it, the suicidal George Bailey is given a chance to see what the world would be like without him. In life, he had saved his brother from drowning, and his brother had gone on to save a transport of soldiers in the war. But without him, his brother dies and so does “every man on that transport.”

Similarly, we are so grateful Antoinette Tuff was here to help save those kids and colleagues.

You just never know when life will call out to you.

Be ready.

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carcraft
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carcraft 08/27/13 - 05:37 am
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Interesting

I saw a documentary on soldiers in Iraq a few years back. One soldier interviewed had laid over a wounded comrade protecting him for HOURS as snipers tried to kill them both. The soldier's comment has left a lasting impression. He said "Many think the opposite of fear is courage, but it is really love" I think this lady exemplifies it!

Bodhisattva
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Bodhisattva 08/27/13 - 07:16 am
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The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun

I believe the next line is yours Mr. LaPierre.

internationallyunknown
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internationallyunknown 08/27/13 - 09:22 am
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The only that stops a bad guy with a gun....

Tuff said, "I have no idea. That was nobody but God. I can't even put that on myself. I was praying hard."

"I give it all to God," she repeated when a reporter suggested that she was a hero. Tuff insisted that she was no hero, and that it was "through (God's) grace and mercy" that she was able to maintain her composure.

...is the LOVE OF GOD!

internationallyunknown
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internationallyunknown 08/27/13 - 09:36 am
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dichotomy
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dichotomy 08/27/13 - 09:43 am
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Bod...."I believe the next

Bod...."I believe the next line is yours Mr. LaPierre."

who is determined to shoot children, is a good guy with a gun.

Is that better Bod?

So now they will take this kid and give him a mental evaluation, a bottle of pills, and turn him loose in a few months so he can do it again next year or in a few years. Yes, it was lucky this lady was able to talk him down. But we and the world would be better off if she could have pulled her gun and capped him....or if there had been an armed guard or two that could have kept him out of the building in the first place. This one was good luck....but bad policy.

Jon Lester
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Jon Lester 08/27/13 - 10:20 am
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I hope Obama won't use her as a political pawn.

At least the news reports accurate said the kid stole the AK from an otherwise responsible owner, although I'm sure the anti-gun people will try to distract from that as much as possible.

General Disarray
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General Disarray 08/27/13 - 11:18 am
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Why didn't the "responsible"

Unpublished

Why didn't the "responsible" gun owner have that AK locked up?

Truth Matters
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Truth Matters 08/27/13 - 06:53 pm
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Tuff cookie

The term “hero” is sometimes awarded dubiously today. But there is no debating the accolade in her case.

Amen, sir. Amen!

The president should highlight (different from use) any human event that speaks to the need for a safer populace.

KSL
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KSL 08/27/13 - 07:04 pm
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dichotomy

Or a lot of good guys with guns.

KSL
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KSL 08/27/13 - 07:06 pm
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A safer populace

These days means a populace of the good guys being armed and ready.

Darby
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Darby 08/28/13 - 12:08 am
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"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a

gun...."

.
Seems that Bod's "simple" solution is to clone Ms. Tuff and then distribute the duplicates into every school in the nation, and onto the streets of Chicago, Detroit, New York and Los Angeles. That will surely solve the "crazy nuts with guns problem."

The beauty of being a liberal is that you have no obligation to think, reason or analyze before speaking your mind.

I guess that if the perp in this case, had been hit by a truck on his way into the school, Bod's recommendation would have been to circle all our schools with pick-ups and careless drivers.

BTW - The average nut job,(e.g., Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold of Columbine fame, or Dark Knight shooter James Holmes) would have blown Ms. Tuff away before she got the first kind and loving word out of her mouth.

It took two to resolve this "shooting spree" without any bloodshed. One was a malleable would-be shooter.

Ms. Tuff WAS heroic, but what she did, would have failed in almost every other similar situation.

Young Fred
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Young Fred 08/28/13 - 01:38 am
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classic:

"The beauty of being a liberal is that you have no obligation to think, reason or analyze before speaking your mind."

Darby hits a home-run with reality!!!

I'm so happy that this women was able to "talk down" a psycho!

But I'd feel much better if a well aimed hollow-point round was used on a regular basis.

Ya see, "talking" only works occasionally; while hollow-point's work almost 100% of the time.

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