As many of us hang our heads this week in prayer for those victims of the Las Vegas massacre, we can’t help but worry for our world, our children and ourselves. It seems like every week on the news we hear about some crazed gunman who took down ten people before taking out himself, or some terrorist who bombed another busload of people because he didn’t agree with their religious beliefs. I’m not sure about you, but I’m getting so very wary of the world we live in and the people who occupy it.
However, right when I was about to let despair overcome me, I stumbled across an article about a teacher who recently risked her own life to save the lives of many. It was definitely a story I needed to hear yesterday, and it’s probably that many of your need to hear today.
(McQueen on far left)
Just last Wednesday, on Sep. 20, 2017, a high school in Illinois became yet another victim to a depraved gunman. At 11:30 AM, a student opened fire on Mattoon High School’s cafeteria during their lunch hour. He was able to get several shots off and wound one student in his rampage, but thankfully, nothing more. This was entirely in part due to the bravery of Angela McQueen–a 40-year-old PE teacher–who decided that a school shooting would not mess up her day, and that her students would walk away scotch-free, thank you very much.
According to eyewitnesses, McQueen “overwhelmed” the shooter by tackling him. One student recounts the incident in detail, telling reporters that “McQueen saw the gun come and she was going to tackle him and she did, and he still had his finger on the trigger and it was flying up and hitting the ceiling.”
As five or six rounds fired into the ceiling, panicked students fled the building. A school resource officer heard the shots and raced in to help McQueen, eventually disarming the student and taking him into custody.
Fortunately, only one student was shot and injured; however, according to the school’s superintendent, the victim was “smiling, in stable condition, in good spirits and joked about catching some slack on his grades.”
Police Chief Jeff Branson said what everyone else was thinking – that if it weren’t for McQueen,
“I think the situation would have been a lot different.”
After she saved the day, McQueen went around the cafeteria making sure everyone was intact and unharmed. Some people are calling her a superhero, alleging that her courage and strength came from somewhere (or someone) otherworldly. “Superwoman and hero, thank God for giving her courage and strength,” Tami Aumann Clymer, a teacher in a nearby school district, wrote.
And McQueen is a superhero for so many people: students, other teachers, students’ parents…
“I’m being told the PE teacher McQueen stopped the shooter. If this is true, that woman should never pay for another drink or meal in this town again. Ever. That’s just the beginning. She’s a true bright light in this dark day. Treat her with due honor and gratitude,” parent Lonnie Scott wrote on Facebook. “That gun was pointing at my daughter and her friends when the teacher stopped the shooter. So McQueen is nothing short of honored rock star status in my home.”
“Lives were saved by the quick response of a teacher,” Branson told reporters. “You just don’t know what’s going to happen until it’s happened.”
Though there aren’t going to be McQueen’s at every horrific event in our country, if even just a few shootings are thwarted by brave individuals, hundreds of lives could be saved each year. McQueen did what many others could not, preventing Wednesday, Sep. 20, 2017 from becoming yet another day of mourning.
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