Helping others: The Antoinette Tuffs among us

  • Article by: Elissa Hulin Peterson
  • Updated: September 3, 2013 - 7:59 PM

The Antoinette Tuffs of the world are not an abstraction. They are the goal.

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pumiceSep. 3, 13 8:58 PM

What an extraordinary essay, Ms. Peterson! It reminded me of the advice Mister Rogers' mother gave to him when he was a child: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world." Mr. Rogers' mother had the same goal as your foundation has. Her goal was realized in her son. May your efforts in recognizing the Antoinette Tuffs among us help us all define peace as something beyond "the absence of war."

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hobie2Sep. 4, 1312:50 AM

History is rife with the bodies of the Antoinette Tuffs who were killed by gunmen when they tried to mitigate the situation... from the PA school massacre of 1764 to Charlestown in 1898 to Union Mills in 1951 to Grand Rapids on 1966 to Tomah in 1969 to Columbine to Red Lake to a half dozen people who tried and died in Newtown... and in only 2-3 of all the US shootings across the centuries has someone in the school said to have talked the shooter down...

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schristeSep. 4, 13 6:54 AM

hobie2 - your point being that we shouldn't try? We should just shoot first and ask questions later? The article is about those who would lay down their lives for others, I guess you wouldn't care if there were never anyone "who tried and died". So sad.

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hobie2Sep. 4, 13 9:29 AM

"hobie2 - your point being that we shouldn't try?" That is EXACTLY the point. The odds are hugely stacked against the amateurs' try, history says you will die, and you may trigger a violent phase that has not yet begun... Barricade inside and call the professionals and let them talk the potential shooter down once they have the perpetrator's superior position neutralized and are off the power high. Amateurs trying to talk down someone who feeds on attention and power and wants media time from doing damage is stoking the attention phase - and when the potential shooter gets that fuel and wants the power rush to get more, he escalates from feeding on fear to feeding on terror. (Or he might just kill the condescending insulter to shut them up.) Amateurs have no clue about what is going on in the disturbed brain, and their actions are seen as not genuine and set the shooter off. Every move you make should be to delay the threat without feeding it or escalating it... A gun instead? You don't need to shoot them to neutralize their power - shots hitting nearby them so they become confused in their plan and move to defensive and rational lowers their state of emotion. Amateurs talking down a shooter is a romantic notion - history says you have better odds drawing to an inside straight...

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jgmanciniSep. 4, 1310:23 AM

I love how people who have never been in a situation like this have the nerve to call everyone else "amateurs". 1. Being a member of the NRA DOES NOT make you an expert in mass shooting or hostage scenarios. 2. Ms Tuffs didn't insinuate herself into the situation, the situation came to her. She did nothing wrong and everything right and no one should cast aspersions on her or suggest that she "had no clue." She had way more of a clue than the armchair posters on this site.

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circleoflifeSep. 4, 1311:45 AM

jgmancini "I love how people who have never been in a situation like this have the nerve to call everyone else "amateurs"." I love how people who don't like what they hear or read assume the people making such statements have never been in a certain situation. Kinda eliminates their credibility to even read on..........

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mspshadowSep. 4, 1312:13 PM

hobie2: "Barricade inside and call the professionals and let them talk the potential shooter down once they have the perpetrator's superior position neutralized and are off the power high."...Ms. Tuffs had no option. The gunman barged into her office. Would you have preferred she asked the gunman to hang on a minute while she called for real professionals to deal with him?

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jgmanciniSep. 4, 1312:16 PM

"I love how people who don't like what they hear or read assume the people making such statements have never been in a certain situation. Kinda eliminates their credibility to even read on.........."--------Oh, my apologies. Let's hear all about your vast experiences as a hostage negotiator.

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football24Sep. 4, 1312:59 PM

Well, nice thoughts. Would Ms. Tuffs approach have worked with the CO movie theatre shooter, or the Columbine kids? The guy who stared down the tanks (China, 1989) was arrested and executed by the Chinese government. I would praise Ms. Tuffs on her on the grit and resourcefulness that she used to save her life and the life's of other, rather than extolling the greeting card sentiments composed here by the author.

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twspt7Sep. 4, 13 3:07 PM

"The guy who stared down the tanks (China, 1989) was arrested and executed by the Chinese government" So what was the lesson of the "tank man" then? Live your life in fear and acceptance of injustice, or stand up for your beliefs? History celebrates those who stand out from the crowd and provide an example of the human spirit at it's finest, not those who stay safely in the crowd, waiting for someone else to take care of things. If you don't aspire to greatness, you certainly will not achieve it. "The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark" - Michelangelo

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