This past Tuesday, a man with an assault rifle, other weapons, and over 500 rounds of ammunition was able to bypass security and gain access to the inside of Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur. Amazingly, he didn’t get very far, getting snagged in the main office here he ended up taking some staff members hostage for several hours. He finally gave himself up to police with the help of school employee Antoinette Tuff:
“I just started praying for him,” Antoinette Tuff . “I just started talking to him … and let him know what was going on with me and that it would be OK. And then [I] let him know that he could just give himself up. … I told him to put [the guns] on the table, empty his pockets. He had me actually get on the intercom and tell everybody he was sorry, too. But I told them, ‘He was sorry, but do not come out of their rooms.’ … I give it all to God, I’m not the hero. I was terrified.”
This woman managed to talk an armed assailant into dropping his weapons and giving himself up to police without injury or death. That’s quite an accomplishment for the most seasoned hostage negotiators in America’s police force, to say nothing of some random office worker in a public elementary school. Now, from a statistical demographic perspective, it’s almost expected for an African American woman living in Georgia to attribute the outcome of an ordeal like this to God – and for anyone to publicly refuse the label of “hero”. There’s no surprise there … but for my entire life as a Christian I always found it insulting that we’re supposed to praise God for the strength He supposedly gives us in (some of) our times of need, yet when we fall short or make bad decisions we have no one to blame but ourselves. It perpetually reinforces the ridiculous idea that humans are worthless and weak with moments of strength and heroism only coming to us from a divine source, and even then only at His convenience. What more effective way to ensure loyalty to a god when you have it drilled into your head that you’re nothing without them?
“Jeez, Senator … all this over some little comment? Lighten up!”
Yeah, I know. Miss Pink can tell you the number of times per day I’ll whip out my soapbox and start going down my latest list of What is Wrong With All the Things, wondering all the while what good my blog does since it was supposed to be an outlet for things like that.
I’m not really complaining about Antoinette. She did good, and deserves her fame and all the credit that comes with quite possibly saving the lives hundreds of people by spontaneously ad-libbing the bejeezus out of a life or death situation. My concern is that we, as a society consisting mostly of believers, need to stop attributing to God that which is well within our own capabilities.
(And, while we’re at it, stop thanking Him for preventing another Newtown or Columbine since He obviously was asleep at the wheel for both of those horror stories … but I’ve already gone there, and I won’t bore you further.)