The fact is that people are violent. Sometimes that violence unimaginably spills into the world of our children’s schools. That is horrible, and makes my eyes well up with sorrow. But this story didn’t turn out as badly as it might have, mostly because of the incredible heroism of a bookkeeper named Antoinette Tuff. She kept communications going with the gunman de jour, until, mercifully, he gave up without harming anyone.
Ms. Tuff’s collected demeanor and cool head is remarkable in its own right. But she reaches further into herself to meet the gunman where he is, in a scared, lonely place. In a stark moment of commiseration about the trials of life (minute 14:46), Ms. Tuff tells him:
Well don’t feel bad, baby, my husband just left me after 33 years
There are long, drawn out periods of silence in the video. Stunning, really. Each time the line goes down, I was afraid of what was happening there in the school office. But each time, Ms. Tuff’s reassuring voice returns, letting the gunman and us, know that it’s going to be OK.