Friday, February 19, 2010

On Heroes

First: Debra Moriarty in the Alabama University case:

Joseph Ng, an associate professor who worked with Bishop in the biology department, was in the cramped faculty conference room when gunfire erupted Friday afternoon during a monthly meeting.

About a dozen teachers and staff members were sitting elbow-to-elbow at a long table when Ng heard the "pop-pop-pop" of a 9 mm handgun.

He watched several of his colleagues go down, starting with the ones close to Bishop. He and the rest of the survivors dived under the table desperate for cover. Three people were wounded.

Within seconds, the shooting stopped. During the lull, Debra Moriarity, a biochemistry professor, scrambled toward Bishop and urged her to stop, he said.

Bishop aimed at Moriarity and attempted to fire but the gun did not go off. Moriarity then led the charge that forced Bishop out the door into a hallway. Her colleagues barricaded themselves in the room, and Bishop was arrested moments later outside the building.

"Moriarity was probably the one that saved our lives. She was the one that initiated the rush," Ng said. "It took a lot of guts to just go up to her."

Second: Robin Dehaven in the IRS Austin case:

Robin Dehaven, a glazer at Binswanger Glass, was on his way to a job site when he saw the small plane approaching the seven-story building that houses the Internal Revenue Service offices in Austin.


Dehaven extended his ladder up to the stranded workers and tried to instruct them on how to secure it, but they were unable to. So, rather than have them climb down an unsecure ladder, he climbed up.

"I climbed inside the broken-out window into the building with them," said Dehaven, who has a 3-year-old son.

"My ladder slipped a little bit actually," he added.

With the help of one of the men inside, he then broke another window near a ledge, and secured the ladder there so he could get five people out safely.

"I held onto their waists and their backs so they wouldn't fall if they slipped," he said.

Dehaven said the woman and four men he rescued all appeared to have been uninjured, with the exception of one man who cut his hand trying to break the window.