Home / Blog / Article


November 7 2017

Praise for Two Small Town Heroes

by Charlotte Hays

Quote of the Day:

The harsh reality of mass murders is that often only the presence of someone with a legal weapon to shoot back can stop the rampage.

--Wall Street Journal editorial on the plumber who pursued and shot the killer

 

Keith Olbermann has told Speaker Paul Ryan where to put his thoughts and prayers for victims of the mass murder Sunday at the Baptist church in Texas. It was one of the most shocking  massacres in U.S. history.

Olberman's response, unfortunately, isn't that different from the responses of many on the left, which in the wake of the killings is engaging in an orgy of smugness and anger. One Democratic congressman stalked out of Congress to avoid a moment of silence for the Texas victims.

We've come to this.

But there were two heroes of the church killings and we can still be glad that small town decency isn't a thing of the past.

I don't know how the two heroes, who chased the shooter Devin Patrick Kelley in a truck and likely prevented more carnage, voted. But just on the surface, they look like the sorts of ordinary Americans some of the elites would not hesitate to call deplorables in ordinary circumstances.

Rich Lowry describes their intrinsic decency:

The response by the two bystanders who refused to stand by is something else entirely. It was a characteristically small-town American act of self-reliance that shows, no matter how tattered our civil society may be, it still produces people who will risk life and limb for others without hesitation, unbidden by anything other than their own sense of obligation.

When Stephen Willeford, 55, heard of the shooting, he left his house barefoot with his AR-15 and started exchanging fire with Kelley outside the church. An expert shot, Willeford hit Kelley and reportedly aimed for the gaps on his body armor. When Kelley got in an SUV and sped off, Willeford jumped in Johnnie Langendorff’s truck and told him to give chase.

Langendorff, 27, didn’t ask any questions. He followed Kelley at 95 mph down the highway, until the perpetrator ran off the road. Willeford jumped out of the truck and rested his rifle on top of Langendorff’s hood and shouted for Kelley to “get out.” The murderer apparently took his own life with a gunshot. Willeford and Langendorff would have been justified in considering their work done when the shooter left the scene of his massacre. They would have been justified in considering it done when he crashed his vehicle.

They instead were prepared for another gunfight in the cause of incapacitating him themselves. This showed an extraordinarily well-developed “sheepdog” instinct, to use the term from American Sniper, the movie about legendary Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, also a Texan. In his interviews, Langendorff, with a scraggly beard and a tattoo of a bull skull on his neck, invariably wears a cowboy hat. He is polite and matter-of-fact (“he said ‘chase him’ and so that’s what I did — I just chased him”), implying that anyone would have done it.

This isn’t true, although it is almost certainly more true in America’s out-of-the-way places. Self-help is imperative in these areas because the alternative is no help, at least not on a timely basis. Small towns might not even have a police department, and the police tend to be for after-the-fact investigations rather than real-time responses.



Lowry points out that people who live in small towns often need guns to protect themselves against people who would do harm.

Also read the Wall Street Journal editorial headlined "A Plumber with a Rifle" (it focuses on Mr. Willeford).

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
Follow us