Let’s Remember the Heroes, Not the Killers

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David French at National Review has written a great piece, The Hero Solution to the Mass-Shooting Contagion.  In short, he recommends we remember the heroes from these tragedies, not the evil-doers. I couldn’t agree more.

It’s why I go out of my way not to mention the names of spree killers. If I quote a news story, I’ll paste “[scumbag’s name redacted]” or something like that every time I see the loser’s name. If I use their likeness, it’s only be to cast ridicule upon them.

Lots of media outlets, however, take a different approach to mass murderers.

Let’s face it, many of society’s dregs who commit these acts of unspeakable evil do so to achieve fame and immortality. The two miscreants from Columbine High School stand as prime examples.

Both their names and images have been burned into the minds of millions. If they had instead suck-started their illegally-obtained guns that fateful day before killing innocent students and staff at Columbine, nobody would remember them. Neither was likely to find a cure for cancer, let alone hemorrhoids.

David French agrees. suggesting we memorialize the victims, and especially the heroes.

Here’s a snippet from French’s piece from The National Review.

As governments try to solve a crisis, heroes take matters into their own hands

Between April 27 and May 7, there were three prominent attempted massacres in the United States. The first was at a synagogue in Poway, Calif. The shooter used an AR-type rifle and killed one person and wounded three. Three days later, a shooter walked into a classroom at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and opened fire, killing two people and wounding four. Finally, on May 7, another shooter opened fire at a school, this time in Highland Ranch, Colo. He killed one student and injured eight.

These deaths are horrifying. The incidents are terrifying. But notice something important. We are blessed that the numbers of fatalities are far lower than they were at places such as Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, or Santa Fe High School in Texas. And a big part of that lower death toll can be summed up in one word: heroes. In fact, of the four total fatalities in the three incidents, three of the dead were people who took heroic action. Two of the dead were young men who directly charged their attackers.

What’s more, we’re now remembering the heroes’ names more than the shooters. The shooters failed in two of their core missions — to kill large numbers of victims and achieve enduring fame. And if they keep failing, I wonder . . . could the mass-shooting contagion finally start to break?

But first, let’s remember and honor the names that truly matter. In Poway, the lone fatality — a brave woman named Lori Gilbert-Kaye — died shielding her rabbi. At the same time, an Iraq vet named Oscar Stewart charged straight at the shooter, yelling that he was going to kill him. The shooter fled the scene with Stewart at his heels, until Jonathan Morales, an off-duty Border Patrol agent, engaged the shooter with a firearm.

At UNC-Charlotte, a young man named Riley Howell was shot three times as he charged the shooter, yet he still managed to tackle him “so forcefully that the suspect complained to first responders after his arrest of internal injuries.” Howell gave his life to stop the attack.

Finally, in Colorado, a young man named Kendrick Castillo immediately lunged for the gunman when the shooting started. He gave his life, but his charge gave his classmates time to hide or flee, and then three other students also charged and subdued the shooter.

These brave Americans are joining an increasing honor roll of heroes, men like James Shaw, Jr., who disarmed a mass killer at a Waffle House in Nashville. Or Juan Carlos Nazario and Bryan Whittle, two armed citizens who gunned down a shooter outside an Oklahoma City restaurant. These men rightly have far more fame than the killers they faced. Their names are the names we remember.

Read the whole thing.

I’ve spoken with Stephen Willeford a number of times. He’s a genuinely nice, humble man. He could be any of the hundreds of people I see at our Guns Save Life meetings all across Illinois. Or most any of the 81,000 people at this year’s NRA Convention in Indianapolis.

In case you missed it, Willeford engaged the Southerland Springs mass murderer while barefoot – with less than ten rounds in his AR magazine.  Willeford sent his daughter back to his house to get another magazine when she initially started to go after the shooter with him.

He didn’t need the magazine. He gave her something to do because he didn’t want her to see him get hurt or killed if he failed to stop the murderer, and he didn’t want her endangered either.

Here’s his story in his own words to NRATV.

So yes, let’s remember and honor the heroes, and deprive the evil-doers of the oxygen of media attention most of them want so badly.

comments

  1. avatar anarchyst says:

    It seems that “officer safety” trumps “courage under fire” almost all of the time, but especially with “school resource officers” and police officers in general. It seems that for almost every police officer, making it to a cushy retirement is the ultimate goal, the protection of the public be damned. Add to that, observe the many unjustified shootings by police that get “covered up” by police-friendly prosecutors and grand juries.
    All one has to do is look at the (in)action of the police officers during the last number of mass school shootings, where these “trained professionals” SAT ON THEIR HANDS while the carnage was going on.
    You can bet that us military veterans in such a case would be drawn TOWARD the sound of gunfire. If I had my way, I would arm teachers who wish to be armed, and would hire military veterans as school support personnel such as janitors and maintenance personnel. Janitorial and maintenance personnel have the run of the school buildings and would make an effective “reactionary force”. Us veterans would be much more effective than police, (who are only concerned about their own “safety”), as us veterans are trained to go towards the sound of gunfire and “solve the problem”.
    Today’s human nature dictates that the person with all of the “training” (especially) law enforcement DOES cower in fear, while a 90 lb. armed teacher would reluctantly, but successfully take out the shooter. Being forced into a situation also forces one to act.
    There are many examples of persons, who one would normally think, would not be capable of acting in an extremely high-stress situation, but DO come out on top-stopping the threat, and saving lives.
    Sad to say, today’s police practices dictate that the cop’s life is MORE IMPORTANT than that of those he has sworn to protect despite the cops having statutory protections that do not apply to us ordinary civilians.
    All one has to do is look at Medal of Honor recipients, who are almost always mild-mannered, initially reluctant to act, but DO act, and perform feats who most would think are normally beyond their capacity and capabilities TRUE bravery in the heat of battle. The same applies to those civilians who act during school shootings.
    Human nature has a habit of propelling (actually forcing) the normal, average person into a true hero and life saver, while showing the true (cowardly behavior) nature of those we assign to protect us. A good example of our protectors cowering in fear is the deputies who FAILED TO ACT despite having all of the equipment necessary and the preferential laws on their side (that protect them from lawsuits and liability).
    TRUE heroes ACT, while our so-called protectors (failed to) REACT.

    1. avatar 0351 says:

      While I agree that the sentiment of which you speak is a bad thing in law enforcement, i argue that it is far from universal. I think it’s probably a minority view, at least outside of big cities.

  2. avatar strych9 says:

    A good argument for bringing the concept of Valhalla (or similar) to the American consciousness and hopefully replacing this mindless self-indulgent twaddle of virtue signaling that has taken over.

    1. avatar Deliverance says:

      That would be cool, but the modern west is now vehemently opposed to any sort of faith or concepts of an afterlife. No religion will ever be permitted outside of worship of the state, as the state must provide all for all and become the new god.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        I don’t really think it has to be the concept of an “afterlife” per se. I personally don’t believe in such a thing but I see the value in a romanced notion of living on after you’re gone via your deeds because that’s what creates a situation where you really do live on in the hearts and minds of those who come after you. Alexander the Great for example.

        I guess I’m suggesting that we take sort of the attitude that we have with other situations, like The Wall in D.C. I was born 11 years after Vietnam ended and I’m not religious, but I’ll say flat out that going to The Wall is a fucking powerful experience. I’ve seen people that I know are pretty Lefty leaning get overwhelmed there. Even from a completely non-religious perspective, even if we don’t know the names of all the 58,000 or 59,000 people on that wall we still hold all of them up in a sort of reverence. (Well, some don’t but fuck those assholes anyway, shittalking draftees has always rubbed me the wrong way.)

        As such I think there’s great value in a celebration of the people who’ve given their lives defending others against a mass shooter. At the same time I think we need to remember the shooters themselves but that’s where we need to be very careful. We can’t forget what they did and we probably should try to study why they did what they did in a cold and clinical way but we can’t celebrate it. Someone like Dylan Roof needs to be remembered sort of the way we look at Pol Pot or Hitler, as a warning of what can happen.

    2. avatar edward kenway's ghost says:

      Agreed.
      The shooters should be mercilessly treated as cowards who invariably surrender or refuse to engage people who confront them. You rarely hear of a spree shooter looking for a fair fight because the whole intent is to kill as many unarmed people as possible. Their names should be reviled and the people who confront them should always be elevated to a higher moral level. Of course, the media might not like this angle because it would illustrate some people truly are better than others, for a good reason.

    3. avatar Chris T in KY says:

      Atheist gun owners and non gun owning atheists would never support it. To them the 1st amendment (religion) only applies to the inside of a church. Just as some people think the 2nd amendment only applies to the National Guard.

      1. avatar Mark says:

        One doesn’t need to be atheist to support the establishment clause of 1A.

        It’s pretty disgusting how people here are just as much “piecemeal defenders” of the BoR as their political opponents they fume about.

        1. avatar Deliverance says:

          The problem is modern atheists are just as anti 1A as extreme religious zealots. Atheism has become nearly violent in its hatred of anyone religious in any way. They seek not remove religion from government but any form of faith in anything other then government, completely out of public view. The state they wish to create is one where people can only express their beliefs inside their own homes with the curtains closed. The only religion atheism seems too afraid to confront is Islam… And I wonder why that could be? Anyway, An example of what I think will eventually happen here is how Europe is slowly become Islamist. Atheism whipes all other faiths away leaving only Islam. Human beings, desiring something more fulfilling in life’s biggest mysteries will never accept that we’re a simple chemical reaction, wether that’s true or not. So, Islam fills the gap, and then atheists too are eradicated in the same way Robespierre was killed by his own guillotine.

        2. avatar Chris T in KY says:

          For mark
          Unfortunately atheists have started a war against religion in the United States. In their first efforts were to take religion out of how we honor those that died in the service of the country we consider Heroes.

          Atheist lawsuits have forced the removal of religious symbols from places where military people lie in rest or were significant events happened. Such as the removal of the Cross from Kolekole Pass. This was used to recognize the flight path of the attacking Japanese planes into Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941.

          TTAG we have had many discussions about guns and religion. And for some reason the atheists have a problem with that.

          Honoring the dead has always had some religious aspect to it. Perhaps that is why the atheist hate it so much. Because they hate religion so much they would rather not even honor heroic people who died saving the lives of others.

          Or perhaps it is because atheists are Socialist Progressive in their political orientation. And have always wanted to use the power of government to force people to change.

          I have been on TTAG for many years now. And atheist have said many times that the First Amendment (religion) only applies inside a church. This is wrong. It is anti Liberty. And it is also a disgusting thing to say regarding how an individual should be allowed to recognize the heroic actions of a person who died trying to save others.

      2. avatar strych9 says:

        I’m not interested in pitting atheist against the religious. I’m interested in the idea of remembering those who sacrificed themselves for others because they should get that kind of recognition. It’s not even just a case of “they deserve it” or have “earned it” but I think it’s healthier way for society in general to operate.

        I also note focusing on such a person opens up the question of “How can we make these good people more effective?”.

        When we hold a vigil for the victims it rapidly turns into what could be done to prevent someone who was cowering under a desk from getting shot in the face because the human instinct is to remove something from the equation that created this tragedy. The victim was generally passive or actively engaged in evasion. We can’t make them run faster or make them bullet resistant. We can’t make them invisible either. All we can do is take away the shooter’s gun. As others note that will only change the method but the killing will remain.

        Personally I think that’s the wrong road to go down, it’s the wrong set of questions and it leads to the wrong answers but I also see that if that’s the line of inquiry then gun control is the obvious solution because the whole thing is a subtraction equation at it’s root and since we can’t magically subtract the shooter…

        By focusing on the person who actively attacked the shooter we can then ask “OK, what can we do to make them more effective?” and thereby make this an addition problem. They’re going active already but at a serious disadvantage. How can we level that playing field? What tools can we give such a person to aid them in doing the right thing so that there’s a greater likelihood that they 1) get it done, 2) get it done quickly and 3) have the best chance of surviving doing what they’re going to do anyway.

        I would further mention, that in regards to something Uncommon asks me when I talk about advertising, much as it pains me to say this because it feels like dancing in the blood, here’s a starting point and this hook is fucking sharp.

        1. avatar Ing says:

          Yep. We need to tamp down our squeamishness about maybe being a little bit like our antagonists on the other side of the fence and USE this.

          Best thing is, it isn’t anything like dancing in the blood of victims.

          We’re celebrating the lives that were saved — and honoring the actions of heroes. We want more of both. What kind of spinelessw, ghoulish creature would be against that? (Well, we know exactly who…and if they start bitching, everyone else will know who and what they are, too.)

          The student walkout on the Bradys’ vigil political fundraiser might be a sign of a tipping point. After the Parkland astroturfing, more people are aware of the exploitative machinery beneath Gun Control Inc. Couple that with the recent high-profile successes of good people fighting back to save lives, and we’ve got something really potent.

          If people on our side learn to use tactics that WORK — i.e., emotional ones — we might be able to change the whole field of play.

  3. avatar Gordon in MO says:

    Most decorations for Valor are awarded to soldiers for doing what needed to be done in the face of the enemy and at risk of their life. Most soldiers do not go into battle thinking, “I’m going to win a medal today”. They go out hoping they will survive the day.

    They are regular people doing the job they were sent to do which job most civilians cannot conceive of.

    Those are the people we should have protecting the kids in their schools.

    Semper Fi !

  4. avatar California Richard says:

    Hate to be the cynical one here (not really), but the last two kids who shot that STEM school up in Colorado were bullied victim LGBTQ leftists who were marginalized by evil trump supporting bullies /sarc/….. YES!!! Lets all forget about the shooters and remember the heros! …… unless the shooter fits the narrative and we can advance our political objectives and attack our enemies! /sarc/

    1. avatar edward kenway's ghost says:

      I liked the student reaction to the paid gun lobbyists who tried to hijack the student vigil. The kids protested and countered the PC gun lobby with shouts about “mental health”. Even the kids seem to realize the basic issue was never really about gun control but twisted values and misplaced priorities.

    2. avatar troutbum5 says:

      According to a few of their classmates, the 2 asshats were the bullies. And as we’ve ultimately seen, many, maybe even most, of the killers were in fact not bullied.

  5. avatar former water walker says:

    In the last several school,church ,temple,mosque or factory shootings the shooter(s) has gotten little publicity. Unlike Columbine from 20 years. We ARE remembering the heroes…

    1. avatar VerendusAudeo says:

      You want to know why? Because there’s another shooting every week, if not day. We’re not remembering the shooters because they’re a dime a dozen these days. If you’re going to pretend you remember the heroes, you’re only fooling yourself.

  6. avatar Mjd says:

    Amen to the title of the post

  7. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    I have already been doing this. Here is a name worthy of remembering and repeating. And telling his story.

    https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2016/01/robert-farago/gun-hero-of-the-day-asst-chemistry-professor-syed-hamid-hussain/

  8. avatar enuf says:

    These good people that save lives, sometimes at the loss of their own, should receive the highest honor this country can award outside of military service:

    Presidential Medal of Freedom
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidential_Medal_of_Freedom

    Congressional Gold Medal
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congressional_Gold_Medal

  9. avatar edward kenway's ghost says:

    “Remember the heroes…who’s gonna fill their shoes…”

    Especially the younger ones who made a willful choice and sacrificed. They will never age a day, their friends and families will never forget them or the unrealized potential they might’ve had. It’s patently unfair given the fact a murderer can sit on Death Row for years while analysts agonize over the social issues and psychological aspects others can pin down in a minute.

  10. avatar M.Murcek says:

    French is bad news, no friend of personal freedoms. It’s sad that he’s getting props here…

  11. avatar FedUp says:

    Let’s not forget Officer Gregory Stevens of the Garland Police Department who stopped a joint FBI/ISIL planned attack.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      You sure it wasn’t the CIA?

  12. avatar John in Ohio says:

    Not mentioning the murder’s name is about the most childish nonsense yet. All of the facts, including the names of the murderers, should be presented lest propaganda and false tales be told. Censorship is never the answer.

  13. avatar NB says:

    The media causes copy cats. They need to stop reporting these tragedies.
    They do not report the mental state/problems or the prescription these pieces of shit take. Media and politicians think the tool is the problem. It is a human problem. We all know the real truth. Thanks for letting me rant.

  14. avatar LKB says:

    Will the MSM honor these heroes? Hold them up as exemplars for young people to respect, remember, and possibly emulate?

    Of course not:

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/students-who-tackle-shooters-die-heroes-some-experts-worry-we-n1003951

    Because “toxic masculinity” or something . . . .

  15. avatar Philip says:

    Heroes should be honored and rememberd, yes.

    But the perpetrators… Laws should be passed prohibiting the press to name them and publish their picture; their bodies should be incinerated and their ashes thrown in a sewer – whether they die on the scene of their crime, or years later in a forgotten cell, with a number instead of a name.

    Their families would resent that? Tough luck. Other psychos looking for a role model would not feel the thrill of fame drawing them to emulate the now nameless pieces of garbage, floating into oblivion in suitable company.

    No grave, no memories, no recognition. Flush the toilets, and good riddance.

  16. avatar Ardent says:

    I think of this as the flight 93 phenomena: If we don’t fight, we die, if we do fight, we probably still die, but others may be saved. Just as now when someone freaks out on a plane the passengers beat and subdue them, we now know enough about mass shooters to do the same; counter attack and hope to save others when we are ourselves clearly doomed.

    There is an old joke about three shipwrecked men on an island where the locals want to use their skins to waterproof canoes. They are offered their choice of death. The first, French, asked for a sword, throws himself on it “Viva la France”. The second, British, asks for a pistol, and using it declares “For the queen!”. The last, an American, requests a fork. Applying it vigorously to his body he declares ” Screw your canoe!” It is our national ethos, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of!

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