I think it's pretty safe to say that the brave school clerk who prevented a school shooting won the week. We were all impressed by her quick thinking and her willingness to put her personal life on the line to connect with a troubled human being and save who knows how many school children. Now the 911 call of that hero, Antoinette Tuff, has been released. And we're even more impressed by her than before.
I'm amazed with her poise and calm. I mean, I could just end this post there with just that statement. Antoinette is a BOSS. I want to be like Antoinette. When a crisis arises, I want my voice to sound like her. Did you notice she's talking with Michael Brandon Hill right there in the room with her? She's in a room with a guy armed with an AK-47. And she's like, "Hey, we've got a dangerous situation here but I'm not flipping out because I know that energy would just feed into Mike here and make him to go to Crazy Town. So I'm just going to keep calm and carry on like we're just having a nice talk. But seriously, get your asses here ASAP because this guy needs to be apprehended."
Obviously she didn't literally say all of that. But what she's demonstrating, and what we could all learn from, is this important lesson about NOT feeling more crazy-pants energy into an already crazy-pants situation. When you see someone who's on the edge, about to do something harmful and cruel, our first instinct is to get angry, or frightened, or both. We get emotionally keyed up -- and that's dangerous, because that energy can go right back into the perpetrator and make them even more irrational and dangerous.
If we can respond with compassion instead and resist the temptation to react in an emotionally intense way, we have the chance to diffuse that dangerous energy. That's what we suspected Antoinette did when we first heard about her story. But listening to her calm, strong, secure voice on this recording, we really get a feel for her energy. And I've gotta say, I admire her even more now. Did you catch how she tells Hill that she loves him? It's just incredible. Compassion is not just about loving people who are easy to love -- it's about recognizing the humanity in everyone, even people who would do us harm, and daring to connect with them with your own suffering. Because we all suffer. That's something we all have in common. THIS is how you do crisis, America.
What do you think about Antoinette's way of handling Michael Hill?
Image via Oscar E./Flickr