In March, after the Sandy Hook shootings, and before the Boston Marathon bombings, I had the privilege of attending a training session for law enforcement professionals with specific regard to what is known as an “active shooter event.” Its subtitle was “It couldn’t happen here.”
This week that training has taken on a sense of the surreal. Although the weapons used to kill people (whose only crime was to want to cheer on their favorite runners as they crossed the finish line) were pressure cookers, and not guns, it was a reminder that we are vulnerable. The fact that we live in a marvelous town doesn’t mean that we are impervious to insanity or evil, and I have heard from our Mayor and Sheriff that the possibility of an incident of this type is one of the things that keeps them awake at night as they are on watch.
What I most appreciated about the training, (which focused on the shooting at UAH perpetrated by Dr. Amy Bishop, or, “Offender Bishop,” as she is officially called,) was the level of honesty that was maintained by the trainer. There were things that went extraordinarily well in the UAH shooting, others, not so much, and since incidents like Columbine and Paducah much has been learned as to how to better handle the situation and save more lives.
It made my gratitude soar once again that I live in a land where there is such care taken in looking out for and protecting me and us. And so, while the investigation into the butchery in Boston continues on, and FBI agents are working around the clock to solve the case, I would like to focus on some things that “went right” at what I have come to refer to as another “Boston Massacre.”
Carlos Arrendondo, who lost one son in Iraq and another to suicide ran straight into the fray and made a makeshift tourniquet for a runner who would have otherwise bled out.
He also helped first responders and National Guardsmen take down a fence in order to make it possible for there to be more access to the wounded.
Dr. Vivek Shah heard the blast, moved straight to it in order to check on his family, and once he determined that they were alright, began to aid the wounded.
Joe Andruzzi, who used to play for the New England Patriots, was at the finish line when the bombs went off, and scooped up an injured woman and carried her to safety. He was recognized by some NFL fans who wanted to make a big deal of his heroism, and was quick to give homage to first responders of all types as well as private citizens, calling them “the true heroes.”
A veteran of the war in Afghanistan known only as Tyler got a woman out of harm’s way, calmed her down until the ambulance arrived, and is probably the most important type of hero of all, an unsung one.
This I know: If we ever have anything like this happen in Athens, I can think of countless “regular folks” as well as first responders who will put themselves in harm’s way in order to take care of their fellow Athenians. It is that type of good, in Boston, Connecticut or at UAH that will always have the legacy of fearlessness that is exactly what terrifies terrorists, and in the end, will cause the light of good to prevail over the dark of evil.