Skip to main content

Antoinette Turf, school clerk who talked down gunman in Atlanta area elementary school
Last Thursday I was driving along, listening to the radio. The speaker was telling of the bravery of Antoinette Tuff, the woman who kept a would-be murderer calm as he told her that he was ready to die that day. And then I heard the part of the 911 call where Ms Tuff told this mentally ill young man about how when her marriage of 33 years broke up last year, she tried to kill herself. She told him that all people suffer in life. As she spoke, tears started flowing. Not just a tear here and there, but really flowing. This amazing woman was reaching out to someone capable and prepared to murder her, and a whole school full of students and faculty, and she was speaking to him with love and compassion.

She watched as the young man pulled bullets from every pocket, and the two bags he had, and loaded numerous magazines. She listened as he called a family member trying to explain his plans. As that conversation started to go downhill, she even offered to speak with the person on his phone in an attempt to help him.

Ms Tuff convinced this young man to put everything he had, except his phone, on the counter, and lie down on the floor to wait for the police to come in a get him. And only when he was in custody did she allow her incredible fear to become apparent.

Do you remember this event? Do you know all the details like you did when events ended in tragedy? If you don't, it's because it was just a tragedy averted. So it was just a one day story. There were more than 800 children in that school, as well as all the staff and faculty. There were many police officers outside. And all of those people were able to sleep in their own beds that night, because one brave woman, with a heart full of empathy, reached out to another human being in pain.

But now it's over. So go on with your lives. There's nothing to see here. No bodies to bury. No mourners to comfort. No new gun laws to enact. No rallies to attend.

And, you know what? I don't know what to say either. In this country we don't make a big deal about someone doing a good thing. Most of our heroes are sports figures. In our individual towns we make our heroes the grand marshal of the annual parade.

What do we do about someone who averts tragedy? Why is it only a one day story?

Anderson Cooper pointed me to Antoinette Tuff's website where she is requesting money to help underprivileged children travel. She knows the educational value of travel. Her goal was $1,500. It's now reached in excess of $97,000. It was probably set up prior to this incident. Here's the link.

The purpose of this diary wasn't to solicit donations. It was merely to note, once again, the wonderful woman we had an opportunity to meet. And the fact that we know less about her than we know about the mass murderers who have killed so many children. And to ask----why is that?

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site