Within the deep, dark cloud of the Oregon mass shooting, there is the silver lining of this act of courage:
An Army veteran who bravely blocked the door as the Oregon gunman barged into a community college classroom Thursday, then took at least five bullets while pleading that it was his young son’s birthday, is recovering – and being hailed as a hero, according to his family.
Chris Mintz, 30, a North Carolina native who had moved to the Roseburg, Ore., area and is studying at Umpqua Community College to become a fitness trainer, hurled himself against the door in an effort to stop the gunman, identified as Christopher Harper Mercer, from entering. When Mercer, who killed at least nine people and injured at least seven before being killed by police, shot his way inside, hitting Mintz at least three time, the former soldier called out that it was his son Tyrek’s sixth birthday, according to Mintz’s aunt. His plea was rewarded with two more shots, Wanda Mintz told The Daily Beast.
In virtually every mass shooting incident, there are stories of incredible courage — of unarmed men charging shooters, of men shielding loved ones with their bodies — and these stories should give us great hope about the character of our citizens. After all, Chris Mintz did not wake up this morning planning to be a hero. It was just any other day for him, yet his immediate reaction to a shocking, horrifying event was not to flee but to protect. While mass shooters are a tiny few, when they attack their random samples of the American population, there are always people who show courage and resolve. Thankfully, while these acts of courage are often fatal, it looks like Mintz will recover:
None of the five shots that hit Mintz struck any vital organs, and he is expected to recover.
“His vital signs are OK. He’s going to have to learn to walk again,” cousin Ariana Earnhardt told Q13Fox, “but he walked away with his life and that’s more than so many other people did.”
Men have a duty to defend the weak and the vulnerable. Mintz did his duty under the worst possible circumstances. We should all salute him — and pray that we could show similar courage if the worst happens in our own lives.