Thank God for heroes. Because the horror of scenes like that in a Seattle cafe this week send most of us over the edge. A gunman named Ian Stawicki opened fire and killed three innocent people in Cafe Racer and another in the parking lot on Wednesday before turning the gun on himself. But a man named Lawrence Adams had the wherewithal to prevent the tragedy from being even worse.
Adams has been singled out by Seattle cops for bravery in the face of a psychopath. He didn't back down from the crazed man with a gun. Instead, he started throwing cafe stools at him.
Put that way, it sounds bizarre, doesn't it? When you're not in a cafe, not facing down a gunman with no real means of defending yourself, you can look at a stool and think, "Well, what is that going to do ... really."
But that's what sets these "in the moment" acts of bravery apart. Because they made sense then. They were plans crafted quickly and then executed. And it worked. Stawicki retreated, and Seattle police think the bold stool-throwing move saved at least three people's lives.
We'd all like to think we could do that. But the fact is, not everyone can. Not everyone is a quick thinker. Not everyone is brave. And that's OK. There is no shame in hiding in a corner and praying that you will get home to your kids. The only one who should be shamed in situations like this is the nut with a gun.
But it's the fact that so many of us would fall to pieces that makes people like Lawrence Adams so special.
Adams is saying that he's no hero, shifting attention to a cafe employee named Leonard Meuse who was able to call police despite being shot himself. I know what he's trying to do, and it's sweet of him. But crediting Meuse doesn't mean erasing the power of what Adams did. They are both heroes because they have something rare inside them.
Could you do what Lawrence Adams did? What about Leonard Meuse?