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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?

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