I don’t know about you, but sometimes I sit in my house or a movie theater and mentally go over how I’ll react if shit goes down.
What do I mean by shit? Anything, I guess. Gunman. A flock of rogue crows. A herd of aggressive Jehovah’s Witnesses. Gunman. Crazy clown. Marching band invasion. Gunman.
I don’t know why I do this, and I’m fully aware that in reality, I’m probably going to pee my pants, fall down, cover my head and scream ‘NOT THE FACE.’
I’ve probably read too many books or seen too many movies but really, the possibilities for crazy to happen are endless and (sadly) becoming real life for far too many people. Just like it did for these 5 folks, who were just going about their average days when life suddenly asked them to become Bruce Willis or Liam Neeson in the blink of an eye. Thank goodness they were up to the task in the actual world and not just in their kooky imaginations.
5. Jesus Garcia
In a scene straight out of an old Western, engineer Jesus Garcia (age 23) was chilling in a train yard in the middle of Nacozari, Mexico, a town boasting a population of about 5,000 people in 1907. While taking his break, he noticed probably the worst thing a person in close proximity to a shit-ton of dynamite could imagine – a fire. The blaze had started in some hay-filled compartments of his train, which also carried 70 crates of dynamite. Not only was the train a tinderbox itself, but it sat in the midst of gas tanks, more dynamite, and bunch of other stuff the 5,000 people of Nacozari definitely didn’t want flying about after an explosion.
Instead of doing the logical thing or practicing any degree of self-preservation, Garcia instead ran to the train, jumped in, and started to drive it backward out of town. He made it less than a mile before the train went ka-boom, killing Garcia and 13 other people. Sad, to be sure, but not the mass tragedy of hundreds that would have taken place had the locomotivce exploded in that train yard.
Garcia died a hero. The only difference between him and John Wayne was, obviously, that Wayne would have managed to take the train away and parachute to safety at the last minute. We can’t all be The Duke.
4. Reeshemah Taylor
You’ve heard about women falling in love with men who are in prison, but I can’t say that (before now) I’ve heard tales of a guard falling for one of the inmates. But that’s exactly what happened in Florida’s Osceola Country Jail when corrections officer Michelle Hung devised a plan to help her lover, convicted felon Angel Santiago. The plan ended with one of her fellow guards dead and another one, our heroine Reeshemah Taylor, with a gun to her head.
Hung had smuggled Santiago both a gun and a cell phone, and he managed to get himself to the infirmary before making an escape bid. That’s when he encountered Taylor…and was probably never the same for it.
Instead of freezing at the feeling of a cold gun to her temple, Taylor managed to get ahold of the piece and then deliver a swift knee to Santiago’s balls. The plan foiled, Santiago and Hung were arrested and sent to jail, while Taylor was awarded a medal of valor.
For kicking someone in the balls.
3. Allen Crum
You’ve almost definitely heard of Charles Whitman, the homicidal nutcase who climbed the clock tower at the University of Texas with a sniper rifle and killed 17 people before he was stopped. You might not have heard the name Allen Crum – but maybe you never realized you needed to recall the name of a bookseller from Austin. And without Charles Whitman, perhaps you never would have.
Crum got involved that day in 1966 when he stepped outside his bookshop to the sight of a bloody kid being dragged down the street, and the sound of a cacophony of screams. He also heard the sound of gunfire and followed it (because he’s obviously a better person than I) to the base of the clock tower. There, he encountered state troopers getting ready to storm the castle and – maybe worried they weren’t going to do a good enough job of killing the asshole at the top – he asked for a gun and a deputy’s badge. They gave him both (it was obviously a different time), and up he went.
The officers wasted no time putting an end to Whitman’s life when they reached the top. However, since our tale takes place in the great state of Texas, the story doesn’t end there. There were people in the crowd below toting their own weapons (shocker) and they took aim at the tower, not realizing that they were now shooting at officers of the law and an already dispatched Charles Whitman.
In the end, it wasn’t a trooper but Allen Crum who dared to lean out the window and wave a white handkerchief, probably saving himself and the troopers around him at least minor injuries from stray bullets. Crum was rewarded by Ned Beatty playing him in the film version of events, so that’s pretty cool, I guess.
2. Brendon Malovrh
Here we have another kid who ended up putting the kibosh on a person intent on using a sniper rifle to wipe out a bunch of college students – and another guy who heard suspicious sounds and saw people scrambling to get away, but decided to go check things out for himself anyhow.
In Brendon Malovrh’s case, he thought he heard fireworks. It’s unclear whether he was going to tell the hoodlums to knock it off or to join in the fun (because dudes and fireworks) but either way, what he found was not some good old-fashioned summer fun, but cold-blooded killer Jillian Robbins and her telescopic rifle.
Instead of screaming and crapping himself (my preferred method of dealing with homicidal maniacs), Malovrh ripped the rifle from her hands while she was reloading. Not one to go quietly, Robbins then snatched up a knife and began to lunge crazily at him.
In the end, Robbins managed only to stab herself in the leg – a wound that might have killed her if Malovrh (a hero to the end) hadn’t whipped off his belt and made a tourniquet.
1. Yonatan Azarihab
If they say the charity business is an easy gig, don’t believe it – Yonatan Azarihab was collecting money from local Israeli businesses when he was jumped from behind and stabbed several times with a knife that can safely be described as huge.
He stumbled outside bleeding copiously, but instead of running, he went back into the fray after seeing the assailant turn on the shopkeeper. Using the weapon so kindly put at his disposal, Azarihab pulled the knife from his neck (you read that right) and took down the attacker.
Later, the police confirmed that the knife-wielding douchebag wasn’t acting alone but was part of a larger plot, so Yonatan didn’t just save the life of a store owner, he basically helped foil a terrorist attack.
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