On August 20th, an armed gunman walked into a Georgia elementary school with an AK-47 and a number of other weapons. With nothing to lose, the gunman barricaded himself in one of the school’s offices. Unfortunately, we know all to well how these stories end, but this story does not end that way. Instead, this story ends with every single life in tact and not one single physical injury inflicted upon a child or school employee. This story has a different ending. And all because one woman had the courage to tell the gunman, “I love you.”
It’s obvious that this gunman had lost every sense of hope and faith. He lost his will to believe in something higher than himself. The purpose of this article is not to profile this gunman, who was a hurt soul. This is a story of victory and the power of love. Love allowed this situation to circumvent complete tragedy and join the ranks of Columbine and Virginia Tech. This victory belongs to Antoinette Tuff. She used her courage and love to conquer the hate, sadness and personal turmoil brewing inside of this gunman. How did she accomplish this amazing feat? She TALKED to him.
In an interview with ABC News, Tuff revealed pieces of the conversation she had with Michael Brandon Hill, the 20 year old gunman, and it was the unbelievably human side of Ms. Tuff that appealed to the hurt soul in Hill.
Michael revealed that he “had no reason to live and that he knew he was going to die today.” Instead of letting the hurt inside of Michael win, Ms. Tuff revealed her most vulnerable and human emotions to Hill. She told him her story, which included some of her personal tragedies and challenges—raising a disabled child and losing her husband, the love of her life. She also told him about how she has WON-- raising a daughter who is currently enrolled in college and reaching deep inside of herself and finding the strength to love. She was not only able to convince him to surrender, but he asked her to use the school intercom system to tell everyone he was sorry for his actions.
As the police apprehended Hill, Ms. Tuff left the gunman with a few words that not many people in her situation would be able to utter to a crazed gunman who had just threatened her life and the lives of hundreds of children. Ms. Tuff reached deep down into her unbelievably human heart, and told the gunman “If No One Else Tells You, I Love You.”
Credit: ABC News and IBI Times
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