'Tis the holiday season, and not even Clay Duke, the ex-con who showed up with a gun at a school board meeting in Panama City, Florida this week, can undo the spirit. The school board shooting video shows Duke make a giant red symbol from the film V for Vendetta on the dry erase board wall, then order everyone but members of the board who fired his wife from her job in the district to "hit the road."
It was the first sign of the holiday spirit -- most gunmen tend to take as many hostages as they can rustle up. But Duke let the "innocents" go immediately. It almost negates the horrors that would occur later (almost).
The scene that unfolded on camera after that proved that chivalry is not dead. First came a woman, identified as Ginger Littleton, who snuck back into the room and tried to take Duke out with her purse. Already dismissed from the room, she could easily have taken off for the hills, but she came back in an attempt to help. Check out the video (warning, kick the kids out of the room first):
What she did was incredibly stupid, sure, but incredibly altruistic too. We can't help but speculate that was the spark needed for the rest of the room to keep its cool. Littleton surely inspired the remaining school officials, who you can't see on this video but can hear offering themselves up to Duke if he'll only let the others go. She reminded them they weren't alone in that room, and that helped them stay strong.
I don't know if I'd have the wherewithal of Bay City Schools Superintendent Bill Hasfelt, the guy heard telling Duke he signs off on firings, so he'll take the heat. It was ballsy. And just as stupid. But Hasfelt fought off the natural "flee" instinct and owned up to what he had done in front of a crazed man with a gun. That's promoting peace on earth and goodwill toward men.
As the video describes, Duke eventually shot himself after a confrontation with security. It's a sad way to end the story, but with everyone else in the room surviving the ordeal, I'm sure there will be a lot of people in the Bay City School District putting an extra emphasis on the true reason for the season this year -- spending time with the family they love. What about you?
Image via CNN