Antoinette Tuff’s 911 call on Ga. shooting suspect is a portrait of poise, compassion ~ Petula Dvorak, Washington Post

This is not Friday leftovers. Far from it. Such an incredible story must be reblogged again and again.

America, listen to Antoinette Tuff.

Please.

Thanks to her, this time there will be no funerals with tiny caskets, no candlelit vigils and no families broken by grief.

No one was shot Tuesday after a man slipped into an elementary school just outside Atlanta with an AK-47-style assault rifle, 500 rounds of ammo and “nothing to live for.”

Why?

Not because we listened to gun advocates who said we should arm teachers with weapons.

Not because we took the advice of the National Rifle Association, which said schools should have armed officers.

Not because we heeded the school board directives to make frightening “intruder drills” part of every curriculum.

Probably, a mass shooting didn’t happen because the gunman listened to Tuff, the bookkeeper at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga. Police have identified the suspect as Michael Brandon Hill, 20.

On Thursday, President Obama identified Tuff as a hero, with a surprise phone call thanking her for her act of bravery.

As soon as the man entered the school and fired one round into the floor, Tuff called 911 and stayed smooth and calm as a computer help line operator. She kept a conversation going among herself, the gunman and the 911 dispatcher.

She calmed him. She told him that he wasn’t alone in having troubles. Her husband walked out on her after 33 years, she said, and she has a “multiple-disabled” son. She soothed that man holding an assault rifle by telling him, “We all go through something in life.”

“I’m sitting here with you and talking to you about it,” she told him when he mumbled something about no one wanting to listen to him.

As she persuaded the young man to surrender, she said: “We not going to hate you, baby. It’s a good thing that you’re giving up, so we’re not going to hate you.”

She offered to act as his human shield, to walk outside the school with him so police wouldn’t shoot.

She even told him she loved him, cared about him and was proud of him as he began to stand down.

Are you listening to her, America?

Her 911 call — listen to the whole thing; it’s riveting — is a portrait of poise, compassion and selflessness. She was exactly what America is forgetting to be.

“What do they want? Why did they do this?” we wondered after Adam Lanza ripped apart an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., and killed 20 first-graders and six staff members in December, and after every one of the mass shootings that have become unbelievably frequent in our country.

When we were doubled over in grief after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, President Obama spoke about the sickening routine that this kind of tragedy has become.

“As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it is an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children,” he said. “And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”

“The politics” proved too powerful to control the lethal arsenal that too many people believe they have a right to possess. The deaths of first-graders weren’t enough to change the gun-control debate.

Just because we dodged 500 bullets this time and all those sweet children in Georgia are alive doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go through the national soul-searching that comes after these tragedies.

In that school in Georgia, as the children and teachers began the intruder drills, the gunman gave Tuff a pretty clear list of what drove him to that school with that weapon and that plan.

“Call the news,” he told her. He wanted attention.

He said he was off his medication and “just wants to go to the hospital.” He wanted better health care.

He told her that he “wants to go on the intercom and let everybody know he’s sorry.” He wanted someone to hear him and to forgive him.

He wanted her to know it was easy to get an assault rifle when you’re on probation and mentally ill. He just took it from a friend.

After the suspect was in custody, Tuff exhaled.

“I’ve never been so scared in all the days of my life. Oh, Jesus,” she told the 911 operator.

Thank you, Antoinette Tuff, for using your head and your heart to save those kids.

“What are you?” ~ Possibly the most obnoxious question a person can be asked.

If It’s Friday, It Must Mean Leftovers . . .

I found something on my tumblr that I really wanted to share, but couldn’t figure out how to embed the slideshow in WordPress, so I’ll just have to provide the link. It’s called “The Questions People Get Asked about Their Race.” What I found so relatable is that I have had far too many of those comments/questions thrown my way. I still remember being asked as an 8-year-old child, “What are you?” How does a child answer that . . .

The adult me knows the answer: human.

Basically, people are stupid, and anyone who doesn’t think so should read the following story after looking at the NPR slideshow.

Quite frankly, the following along the same lines just blew my mind.

A Virginia couple was shocked to find a police officer in front of their home when they returned from running errands, but they were even more surprised by the reason for the cop’s visit– to question whether or not they were in fact their children’s parents.

Joseph, a white man who didn’t want his last name revealed, and his black wife Keana told Fox5DC that they were outraged after the policeman told them a security guard at their local Walmart had suspected Joseph of kidnapping his three young daughters.

“He asks us very sincerely, ‘Hey, I was sent here by Walmart security. I just need to make sure that the children that you have are your own,’” Joseph said.

“I was dumbfounded,” Keana said. “I sat there for a minute and I thought, ‘Did he just ask us if these were our kids knowing what we went through to have our children?’

The couple, who have been married for 10 years, have a four-year-old daughter and two-year-old twin girls. Joseph had taken the girls to a Walmart near their Prince William County home to cash a check and left after spending a short time in the parking lot. After speaking with the officer, they called the store demanding an explanation.

According to Keana, she was told a customer was alarmed after seeing her husband and children.

“Well, the customer was concerned because they saw the children with your husband and he didn’t think that they fit,” Keana told the news station. “And I said, ‘What do you mean by they don’t fit?’ And I was trying to get her to say it. And she says, ‘Well, they just don’t match up.’”

As interracial marriage rates increase, the birth of interracial children has soared in the past decade, with more than seven percent born in the year before the 2010 census. According to The Washington Post, Virginia leads the nation in the percentage of marriages between blacks and whites, making Joseph and Keana just one of many couples who may be subjected to similar treatment.

Although they were upset, the couple said they were not surprised by the incident. Walmart issued a statement to the TV station saying they were looking into the situation.

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.” ~ Ernest Benn

Rush Limbaugh as seen on The Daily Show (3-5-12)

                   

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” ~ H. L. Mencken

I must confess that I haven’t thought about Rush Limbaugh too much in quite a while. I mean, El Douchebag is not on the top of my things to think about. Unfortunately, maggot-head opened his mouth recently and spewed forth some vile that simply cannot be ignored. I’m referring to, of course, the Sandra Fluke tirade.

Sandra Fluke

For those of you who don’t know, let me summarize (for a full timeline, click here): Sandra Fluke is a Georgetown law student. Georgetown is a Jesuit school, by the way. Fluke, a co-president of the Georgetown chapter of Law Students for Reproductive Justice, testified before a Democratic forum on February 23, having been denied by Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) the opportunity to speak before House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s session on health reform law’s mandated coverage of contraceptives. The committee was probing whether the provision violates religious liberties. In her testimony, Fluke shared experiences by other Georgetown law students regarding access to female contraception, something the Jesuit institution does not believe that it should provide for its non-Catholic students seeking access:

Students who pay as much as $1,000 a year out-of-pocket for a birth-control prescription, a married woman who stopped taking the pill because she couldn’t afford it, and a friend who needed the prescription for a medical condition unrelated to pregnancy but gave up battling to get it.

“We did not expect that women would be told in the national media that we should have gone to school elsewhere” to receive contraception coverage, Fluke’s testimony stated.

“We refuse to pick between a quality education and our health.” (Washington Post)

Enter El Douchebag.On February 29, Limbaugh joined other right-wing politicos who likened Fluke’s testimony to women wanting to be paid to have sex. Said Limbaugh:

“She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the pimps.”

The next day, Limbaugh again brought up Fluke on his show, saying to Fluke and other women, “Here’s the deal: If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. And I’ll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.” (Washington Post)

Really Rush? Are you really that stupid or have the past decades all been an act? I would like to think that no one can be that stupid, but I know better, especially since you were not alone in the rush to judge the law student as sex crazed. Witness a headline on Hot Air: “Georgetown co-ed: Please pay for us to have sex … We’re going broke buying birth control.” In this particular post, Tina Korbe states the following:

Craig Bannister at CNSNews.com did the math — and discovered that these co-eds, assuming they’re using the cheapest possible contraception, must be having sex about three times a day every day to incur that kind of expense. What Fluke is arguing, then, is that her fellow law students have a right to consequence-free sex whenever, wherever. Why, exactly, especially if it costs other people something? When I can’t pay for something, I do without it. Fortunately, in the case of contraception, women can make lifestyle choices that render it unnecessary.

Five Male Witnesses Testifying Before House Oversight Committee

Hello? Again, really? Lifestyle choices? I know two young women who began taking birth control not so they could have sex but because they had health-related issues that could be eased with contraception.

To put it plainly, this issue, which until recently was being discussed by a group of men, is about women’s health (for more on how this issue is being discussed, click here). Women, informed women, are asking that they have access under their health insurance coverage to birth control, which is still legal in this country as far as I know. These women are not asking for someone to hand them money when they have sex. These women are not suggesting that access to birth control will make it easier for them to have sex with a wild abandon and without any thought to the consequences.

Under President Obama’s compromise, the religiously affiliated institutions that do not wish to go against their principles are not being forced to do so. The compromise calls for the contraceptives to be made available directly through the health insurer. Of course, this compromise is not good enough for those who view the issue as religious rather than health-related.

“We must . . . guarantee women control over their own reproductive decisions.” ~ Henry W. Kendall

And as for picking people’s pockets to pay for something they don’t support, let me put this in a way that you might be better able to understand:

Viagra. Yep, I’m going there. Viagra is available under prescription coverage with almost every health plan. Viagra is taken by men to help them to get and sustain erections. I’m pretty sure that erections are used for . . . shall we say sex?

And hey, I can do math too, and unlike some people, my math is based on facts: Viagra costs between $10 and $11 per pill. Using information found on just about any site on birth control pills, I calculated that the average of cost of one month’s worth of pills would be $32.50; divide that number by 28, the number of pills in a pack, and the average cost of one birth control pill is $1.16.

Now, I pay a lot for my health insurance each month. I know that my insurance plan covers the cost of both bc pills and Viagra. This means that if I look at it in the same way as Limbaugh and his cronies, which I don’t, my pocket is being picked so that some man can get an erection and have sex.

Ewwww. But let’s continue in this vein:

If I’m helping to pay for unknown males to get erections, then by Limbaugh’s logic, these same men should make videos of their sexual escapades and make them available to everyone for viewing, just like Sandra Fluke. Personally, I have no desire to see such videos.

And further, since my health insurance prescription coverage includes my medications for health issues over which I have no control, I’m not going to complain about the people who have access to Viagra any more than I’m going to complain about women having access to birth control.

As Jon Stewart points out in the video below, we all pay for things we don’t support. Our taxes are used for all kinds of things that we might find abhorrent. But trust me when I tell you that paying for birth control is a lot cheaper than paying for unwanted pregnancies. Paying for birth control is a lot cheaper than paying for surgeries to remove ovarian tumors. Paying for birth control is a lot cheaper than the time lost in productivity in the workplace by women who are completely incapacitated by their monthly periods.

And just remember when you accuse women of wanting special treatment: Viagra, for men only.

More later. Peace.

                   

Jon Stewart takes on Rush Limbaugh:

Vodpod videos no longer available.