She stayed

Dear President Trump,

When I wrote yesterday about the lethal attack by Jeremy Christian in Portland, I was primarily focused on my sense that his actions were fueled by the permission you’ve given white supremacists. This needs to be called out as the sneaky “who me?” bullying it truly is. Fortunately though, Christian and those who paved the way for his hateful actions are not the whole story here. In addition to the three who placed themselves between Christian and the girls he was attacking, there were a dozen more who stepped up and were heroes that day. There was the woman who stayed with Mr. Meche, trying to stop the bleeding, helping him stay calm and letting him know he was not alone. There were those who followed Christian as he fled, keeping him in sight to tell police where he was. Sure, some tried to be invisible so Christian wouldn’t turn on them and some left the scene without doing anything to help. But people also stepped up and took care of each other. People stepped up and were brave and effective and loving.

I bet a lot of us wonder whether we would have had the courage to step up like this. I know I’ve wondered this about myself. Actually, I’ve wondered this for years because I have seen firsthand what it looks like since my partner, Laura, has been that one who has rushed in and tried to help in such situations. The first time was when a man collapsed in front of our house. She had me call 911 while she administered CPR only to find out later he’d been shot in a traffic argument. He died. The smell of his cologne stayed with her for years. The second time was on campus when she came upon a man who had set himself on fire in the main square. She tried to put the fire out with her coat, but he died too. The burn smells stayed with her for years. She doesn’t see herself as a hero; she just did what she had to do in the moment for people in dire need. And she’s paid dearly in nightmares and worry. But people like her and the others lead me to believe we are going to be ok; there are enough people with strong, true pro-life and pro-love instincts to help the rest of us find our way together.

May you get on board and honor the heroes and stand up to the bullies, starting with the ones who confront the bully you see in the mirror every day.

May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May your life unfold and intersect peacefully.

Tracy Simpson

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