Why a Working Mom Helped Police Capture Accused Charleston Shooter (VIDEO)

debbie dillsDebbie Dills was running late for work at a florist shop yesterday morning when she saw it: The black Hyundai with a tag that she'd seen on the news. The driver was a young man with a distinctive bowl cut. What this mom of two did next helped authorities capture Charleston shooter Dylann Roof. But it could have turned out so differently.

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Other people must have seen that car. Some of the may have recognized it and wondered -- and then kept driving. But Dills knew what she was seeing. And more importantly, she took action.

Dills admits she hesitated. She pulled up behind his car and identified his car's tag number. "Everything going through my mind was what ifs, what ifs," she says.

She pulled off the highway to the florist shop and then changed her mind when she got a strong feeling that she was doing the wrong thing. She got back on the highway to find that black Hyundai again. "The only thing I could see was those people in Charleston in those prayer circles with their hands gathered around praying that that prayer would be answered."

She was also scared and nervous about what Roof could do to her. She didn't know if he would snap and take aim at her next. "But I do know I serve an almighty God, and I do know that he was with me today."

The mom of two daughters and part-time minister chased Roof for 35 miles hoping that he wouldn't realize he was being tailed. She prevailed and Roof was captured. 

There's nine people who are no longer here who can never come back. My daughter said, 'they can never come back.' But if those families can find some kind of solace and some kind of peace, and some kind of comfort just in knowing that he, the young man is caught.

Dills doesn't consider herself a hero. "It wasn't me, it was God," she told Savannah Guthrie on Good Morning America. But she'll have to forgive me if I consider her a hero anyway.

I thought of her when I watched Jon Stewart's monologue on last night's Daily Show. He admitted he felt too hopeless to write jokes for the show. "So I honestly have nothing other than just sadness once again that we have to peer into the abyss of the depraved violence that we do to each other and the nexus of a just gaping racial wound that will not heal — yet we pretend doesn't exist."

What's more, he continued, he was confident that as horrified as we are as a nation, "we still won't do jack s---" to enact changes that could stop racism and mass shootings."

I was having the same hopeless, cynical feelings this morning. But then I thought about Dills, and I read this essay a friend of mine posted on Facebook, "'Allies,' the Time for Your Silence Has Expired."

Moms, we aren't all going to get the opportunity for big heroic gestures like Dills'. But if we care about the world our children will inherit there are small heroic acts we can do every day to make a difference. What would those nine people who died want us to do? 

What will you do today to end racism and the violence we Americans commit against ourselves?

 

Image via ABC News

 

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