By now, everyone should know the name Antoinette Tuff. She is the school bookkeeper who managed to talk down Michael Brandon Hill before he harmed anyone when he entered the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy armed with an assault rifle as per NPR.
Did Hill intend to turn McNair into another Newtown? Did he intend to turn yet another school into a haunted space? There is a chance even he does not know. Hill was off his medication, as he told Tuff. So perhaps he was different from other school shooters, although so much was terribly similar as Jim Galloway of the Atlanta Journal-Consitution wrote. Galloway goes on to note the differences, namely that Hill made no move toward any of the classrooms and that thus far, there have not been any renewed calls to arm school employees, something that is being debated in Georgia following Newtown, although the sheriff in DeKalb County opposes the idea.
Perhaps it is because, as Galloway noted, Tuff is yet another familiar note in the story, that of the school employee willing to place herself in harm's way to protect the children in her care, and she did not do it with a weapon, not one covered by the Second Amendment at any rate. She did it with the First. With calm,compassion and empathy, she disarmed Hill. She told him "we're not gonna hate you, baby. It's a good thing that you're giving up." She told him "I love you, and I'm proud of you" for giving up without hurting anyone. She told him that everyone goes through trials, and told him of her own. It is impossible moving, knowing how terrified she must have been.
Somehow, Tuff kept it together until the police came in to arrest Hill. It is really astounding. Enough cannot be said about her grace under such extreme pressure. That kind of strength might not be teachable, but perhaps her negotiation skills can. Hopefully that is something good that can come out of this.
You can find video of the actual 911 recording on CBS.