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December 18, 2003
"WITHOUT THEM, I WOULDN'T BE ALIVE:" Another pack-not-a-herd moment:
Debbie Shultz's class had just finished a Spanish II final exam Wednesday morning when the door to their trailer burst open with a bang.
Shultz's estranged husband stood wild-eyed in the doorway, teeth gritted, pausing almost for dramatic effect, she recalled. Then he rushed toward her, she said, raising a large knife toward her chest.
That's when Shultz's students, 16- and 17-year-old kids, went to her rescue. Several of the youngsters tackled the man, pinning him to the floor and wresting the knife from his hand.
Bravo. "Leaving it to the professionals" wouldn't have been an option here, as it often isn't. And here's the right attitude:
Nimesh Patel, 17, was taking a nap after finishing his final when he heard screaming and the scampering of fleeing students. He saw his teacher trying to fend off her assailant.
"I froze there for a second. Me and a couple of other guys grabbed him and threw him to the ground and basically sat on him until the cops came," he said.
Several other students helped Patel subdue the attacker. They included Austin Hutchinson, 16; John Bailey, 16; Andy Anderson, 17; Matt Battaglia, 17; and Scott Wigington, 17.
As Hutchinson saw the man pull the knife, "I thought I could run like the rest of the people or I could help," the student said. "It's just not right leaving her there."
UPDATE: Reader Richard Aubrey emails:
The kids are okay, as we used to say, when it meant The Kids (aka SDS). Our current educational system--without much in the way of a reasonable alternative--keeps kids in a state of extended adolescence, which doesn't mean they aren't capable of being adult when the time comes.
This also happened in Washington, at Thurston High School, when that kid came in and started shooting. Some folks theorized that the heroes of that incident got short media shrift after it was disclosed that several of them were NRA members.
I don't know, myself, but the view of the elites that the rest of us are and should remain victims isn't exactly hidden.
I hadn't heard that last, but I can't say it would surprise me.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Correction -- Aubrey was talking about the Springfield, Oregon school shooting, by Kip Kinkel. I didn't catch that because he said Washington, and I didn't recognize the name of the high school. Reader David Radulski sends a link to this story about the heroic actions of Jake Ryker, who stopped Kinkel. Key passage:
Ryker sprang into action - after being shot through the chest - and emerged a local hero in a tragedy that has captured national attention.
Seconds after the shooting started, Ryker and three other boys - altogether, two sets of brothers - tackled the suspect, Kipland Phillip Kinkel, knocked the rifle out of his hands, kept him from using two pistols and held him on the floor until teachers arrived. . . .
Officials said the boys' courageous action kept Kinkel from reloading his rifle and probably saved many lives.
"That's important to understand, that this shooter was under control by the time the emergency personnel began arriving at the scene," Springfield Fire Chief Dennis Murphy said.
Given the deeply unimpressive performance of the emergency personnel at Columbine, that may be just as well. At any rate, in situations like these the police will likely arrive too late. And the NRA angle appears to be true.