Public Employee Hero (Number 1) Hero Teacher Tackled Colorado Gunman (via CBS Evening News)

This is a list of ten heroic figures among the many self sacrificing workers who train our children and protect our streets. I have given each his own post entry. It’s the least I can do. My comment is the same on each one but I give you fair warning of this in each post. I was more interested in the heroism than my comments.

February 24, 2010

Kids from Deer Creek Middle School were heading home. Fifty-seven-year-old math teacher Dr. David Benke was outside helping at the crosswalk when he heard a shot, saw a gunman, and instinct drove his next move.

“I noticed that he was working a bolt action rifle and realized that I had time to get him before he could chamber another round,” said Benke.

He ran and tackled the suspect.

“The next thing I know, I’m on the ground. I’ve got my legs wrapped around his legs. I’ve got my arms wrapped around him.

Suspect Bruco Eastwood, 32, is being held on $1 million bond on two counts of attempted murder, reports CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen.

One of the things that makes this nation function are those whose goal in life is not just about the money. They are school teachers, policemen, firemen, social workers, forest rangers, prison guards, etc. Their willingness to work in jobs that many would find less than economically rewarding (school teaching) or often depressing (social workers and policemen) or  dangerous (firemen and policemen), make this society function. There appears to be considerable sentiment running around the Internet and around the various state capitals that these people aren’t worth a damn.

For instance –

From the Rush Limbaugh Show

TEACHER:  I think we’ve lost the sense of democracy.  I feel like what people in Egypt are fighting for right now, that’s exactly what I feel like I’m fighting for right now.

RUSH:  What an absolute idiot.  It’s a crying shame that this glittering jewel of colossal ignorance is teaching students. Comparing this to Egypt?  “I feel like that’s exactly what I’m fighting right now.”  What was Egypt even about?  Do you even know, ma’am?  Bottom line, it’s not about what they want.  We all “want” things.  Very few of us run around demanding that somebody give us everything we want! Most of us have more class, most of us have more understanding, most of us are more mature than to run around whining (sobbing), “This is what we want! (sobbing) I want my dignity! I want my respect, and I want my benefits (sniffle), I want my health care!” Well, go earn it! It’s not about what you want.  In your case, it’s about what can be afforded.  They’re trying to make themselves out to be oppressed. You’re not in Egypt. You’re a bunch of people who feel entitled to be freeloaders.

I have had the pleasure of dealing with policemen, firemen, teachers, probation officers and quite a few other public employees. I like them. I feel they do essential work.

I also am an attorney. I believe that when you sign up for a difficult job and one of your reasons is that there will be a good pension or good medical benefits, that’s your decision. It was also a decision by the State or local government that attracting people to do these difficult jobs was hard and required incentives. It’s a contract.

We are supposed to believe those.

When these people doing difficult work for many years are demonized as freeloaders – How about another comment from Rush Limbaugh about teachers –

RUSH:  Let’s put one thing to rest right now, and that is: The last people they care about are the children.  The last people they care about are the kids.  The last thing they teach about is education.  This is not about students.  This is not about education.  This is not about teaching.  This is not about learning.  This is about themselves.

CALLER:  It’s narcissistic.

RUSH:  It is narcissistic.  It’s also hypocritical.  These people have been getting by for years on the notion that they are devoted, that they are sacrificing, that they are subordinating themselves to the lofty ideals of the children and their education and so forth — and it isn’t about that at all.  It is about them.  The children are just pawns. They’re just pawns, as so many of the so-called “little guys” the Democrats are trying to help, they’re just pawns in the game of how these people take care of themselves.

… it makes me unhappy.

One of my teachers was Mr. Thompson. He taught me American Government and Social Studies. He went to college on the G.I. Bill. He was a quartermaster in an artillery unit, 155mm howitzers. He landed in Sicily and served through the Italian Campaign. He saw Mussolini’s body. He admitted it was quick, he was a passenger in a jeep down the street, but he did see him.

He only talked about combat once. His unit was attacked by Italian infantry. Thompson’s artillery unit lowered the muzzles of their field pieces and fired point blank into the attackers. He paused, “Those Italians, …” Then he just shook his head and changed the subject.

After I left school and went to college, he retired. I lost touch with him after that. If he is alive today, he would be well over 110 years old. That would have been a long time collecting his retirement from the State of Oklahoma.

I don’t begrudge him it.

James Pilant