The TV and general media coverage of the past 24 hours has been dominated by the tragedy that occurred in Oregon. It is becoming an all-too-familiar storyline in this country. This happens regularly and the shooters often get so much more attention than they actually deserve.
In fact, the name we should all be remembering is not that of the shooter, but of the man who risked his life to bring him down - Chris Mintz.
Chris Mintz, 30, was shot seven times during the Thursday rampage, but he says his main concern was about the others who were injured.
"I just hope that everyone else is okay," he told ABC News this morning.
"I'm just worried about everyone else.Ã¢ÂÂ
According to his cousin, Ariana Earnhardt, Mintz heard gunshots coming from the classroom next door and decided to put his own life on the line in order to save others:
He told the people in his classroom just be calm. He met the shooter at the door and said to calm down. He tried to talk to him and talk him out of it.
Mintz, who served in the military for 10 years, fought to prevent the gunman entering the classroom and was shot three times in the process.
According to his aunt, Wanda Mintz:
(He) hit the floor, looks up at gunman, and says, 'It's my son's birthday today.' (And he) gets shot two more times.
Like so many Americans, Chris was just a man who wanted to make it work. He was already a really accomplished guy, as a father, student, Army veteran, and now hero. There are laws that incentivize companies to hire veterans, and this is further proof why. At least in Mintz' case, his bravery, sense of duty and desire to help any way he can is clear.
Our media coverage of these events is super tricky, and I don't think anyone is to blame for the amount of attention each of these individual shootings (which are almost becoming too frequent to keep track of) gets. However, I think highlighting the heroes and first responders (professional and otherwise) who put themselves in harm's way to help is more important.
It was the teachers at Sandy Hook who saved children's lives, the first responders during 9/11, all of the people who helped one another at the Boston Marathon bombing, etc who need to be focused on. Because the human will always triumphs in these scenarios - every time.
The disenfranchised individual who causes the tragedy shouldn't be the focal point. Rather, let's find a silver lining in these tragic and horrible situations. While the government sorts out how to prevent this from happening again, all we can do is deal with what is in front of us. Hug one another, pray for each other - or just send good thoughts if you aren't the praying type, and try to be as brave as Chris Mintz is.
Please help spread the word of Mr. Mintz' courageous story.
(Via: ABC News, USA Today)