Family members and co-workers at the Capital Gazette held a memorial Saturday for the brave writer who charged the deranged gunman who took aim at the newspaper. Listening to their stories about her, it’s easy to see just how remarkable and courageous Waters truly was.
Weeks before the June 28 attack in Annapolis, Winters had taken active shooter training at her church, where a police officer presented the options: Run if you can run. Hide if you can hide. Fight only if you must.
Janel Cooley, a survivor of the shooting that killed Winters and four others, spoke about her experience for the first time in an interview with The Capital. She said she watched from under her desk as the 20-year newspaper veteran rose to meet her attacker.
Winters charged forward holding a trash can and recycling bin, said Cooley, a sales consultant. Winters shouted something like, “No! You stop that!” or “You get out of here!” like she was warding off an unwanted dog.
“She may have distracted him enough that he forgot about me because I definitely stood up and was looking at the door,” Cooley said. “I’m sure he wasn’t expecting … anyone to charge him.”
What an amazing culture we Americans have that we have such lion-heart people to confront so many vicious attackers right in the act. So many angels among us.
I am struggling to think of any other examples of this seen elsewhere in the world. We know that courage is not foreign to people in other countries – we see it often in Europe, for one thing. Think of Fabrizio Quattrochi of Italy, who confronted the terrorists in the act of shooting him, refusing to yield, or Arnaud Beltrame, the French policeman who put his life on the line and lost it in a terrorist hostage exchange not long ago.