Sadly, this is not the first time I have written about a senseless act of gun violence. Having been a near gun victim myself, these events always stir in me a sense of helplessness against the blasé indifference of far too many politicians and gun enthusiasts who refuse to see the need for a major overhaul of gun laws and the mental health system our society is crying out for.
The purpose of this post however, is to praise the two teachers hailed heroes for having the presence of mind to save many more lives at the Grand Theater Complex and to remember the victims. Teacher Jena Legnon Meaux jumped in front of her colleague Ali Viator Martin taking the bullet headed for Ali. That action gave Ali the chance to pull the fire alarm prompting all theater goers to evacuate.
My first thought when hearing this is that their actions were not out of the norm for teachers. Split second decisions, but decisions that teachers train for. How can I save as many students as possible if I need to? Teachers are always aware of surroundings and thinking ahead in any arena.
It will come as no surprise to me if both Jena and Ali say they knew exactly where that fire alarm was. If fact, it will be no surprise to me to hear them say they chose their seats on the basis of where that fire alarm was.
Though their instinctive actions could not save the lives of two beautiful young women that night, their actions did save the lives of many more who might have unwittingly fallen prey to the shooter’s troubled soul.
Thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by this tragic event – those killed, those wounded, and their families and friends. Hopefully, we will all remember the lesson that teachers Jena and Ali so artfully taught us – to always be aware of our surroundings in today’s increasingly uncertain world.