Tuesday, April 4

A quick-thinking train operator saves lives in the St. Petersburg metro bombing

In what is becoming almost a weekly occurrence I offer my condolences to relatives of the victims of a terrorist attack, this time in Russia. But I've noticed again what was first evident to me even as far back as the 9/11 mass attack, and which became strikingly evident during the November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai when a policeman willingly gave his life to insure that a perpetrator of the attack was taken alive -- an act that allowed the authorities to immediately identify the masterminds of the attack.   

Here is what I have noticed:

There is almost always at least one quick-thinking person of courage who intervenes in some fashion in a mass casualty terrorist attack (or attempted one) or its immediate aftermath in the effort to save lives. 

Such was the case during the terrorist attack yesterday, when the operator of the train in the St. Petersburg metro kept the train going, stopping only at the next station, after a bomb went off while the train was moving between stations. The authorities noted that by refusing to stop the train he possibly saved lives by getting the injured to help as quickly as possible. I don't think there was any "possibly" about it. He surely saved lives. 

But take a look the condition of the bombed train he kept going through the tunnel! 

So great was the force of the explosion that it might have derailed the train, and of course the operator had no idea how many perps were involved and whether any of them would break into his cab, and whether there would be more explosions. He couldn't even have been certain in those first crucial seconds what caused the explosion.  

But instead of panicking and running from the train he kept his wits about him.

So in the midst of mourning the victims and decrying the march of terrorism, remember the passengers of Flight #93, remember Rick Rescorla charging back into the collapsing tower, remember Officer Tukaram Omble refusing to die until he'd gotten his man, remember the Frenchman who gave his life in the attempt to stop a truck mowing down pedestrians in Nice, and remember that Russian train conductor. 

Remember, too, the Mexican rancher who refused to be run off his property by a gang in the pay of a crime cartel, as had happened to countless other ranchers in the region. When the Mexican marines finally got to his ranch they couldn't believe at first that one old man, alone, had shot dead so many of the thugs before the gang had finally taken him out with grenades.  

When the incident became news many Mexicans came to consider him a saint and prayed to him as their protector. I'd say you could do worse than to pray to Don Alejo Garza Tamez, whose word, it was said, was as good as a contract.     

There is no destroying evil. Yet when you look back, and if you look carefully, you'll see there are always a few among us who demonstrate that evil doesn't run our show. It's because of such people that the human race can hold its head high.


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