Thursday, January 21, 2016

An Unknown Hero

It seems like every day there is some new report of a terrorist attack somewhere in the world. Sadly, such incidents have become so commonplace that we tend to skim them briefly, or ignore them altogether - especially when they occur in remote places that we have little knowledge of or connection to.

The latest example is an attack on a university in Pakistan.
Militants raided a university in northwest Pakistan Wednesday, timing their attack to a ceremony at the school to ensure maximum casualties. They slaughtered at least 19 people, authorities said.

... analysts say the attack probably is the work of the (Pakistani Taliban).

The attackers threw grenades, pushed their way onto campus and opened fire, army spokesman Lt. Gen. Asim Bajwa said.

(A student at the school, Zahoor) Khan said he saw his chemistry professor shot while advising students to stay inside.
The above excerpt is from a CNN story on the attack. At first glance, it seems thorough enough. The story answers the "who, what, where, when, and why" questions. But I happened to stumble across another story on the same incident that included some additional facts.

An armed Pakistani teacher is hailed as a hero after Taliban terrorist attack
After terrorists killed about 150 people at a school in northwestern Pakistan 13 months ago, officials started arming teachers and gave them weapons training.

Like the debate over guns in schools in the United States and elsewhere, the move was controversial and divided parents and academic officials. But a Pakistani teacher armed with a pistol is being credited with saving lives during a terrorist attack Wednesday at Bacha Khan University in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

According to Agence France-Presse, Syed Hamid Husain, an assistant chemistry professor, pulled out his pistol and began firing at two of the attackers as they neared a classroom. But the 27-year-old teacher was outgunned by the militants, who were armed with assault rifles. After a gun battle, Husain was killed, students said.
Husain is the same chemistry professor who was mentioned in the CNN story. There was, however, no mention there of his heroic actions.
... students at the college in Charsadda, about 30 miles from Peshawar, say Husain is a hero. By pulling out his weapon, they told reporters, their teacher gave them time to escape.

“I saw a bullet hit him,” a student told AFP. “I saw two militants were firing. I ran inside and then managed to flee by jumping over the back wall.”

In an interview with The Washington Post, another student confirmed that Husain took out his pistol as the attack unfolded.

Shaid Malik, 22, a geology student, said he and some friends rushed out of their room when they heard gunfire.

“We saw the professor standing there with a gun in his hand,” he said. “He told us to rush back to our rooms and do not open the door for anyone.

“When the firing stopped, after a while, we came down and saw the professor dead, lying on the ground with the same gun in his hand.”

Another student, Mohammad Shabeer, said Husain held off the attackers for 15 minutes before he was killed.
I'm not a big fan of Pakistan, but give that country credit for one thing. After the attack 13 months ago that killed 150 people, Pakistani officials realized they didn't have the resources to protect every school. So they began voluntary training courses for teachers who wanted to bring firearms into the classroom.

We here in America would do well to consider similar action.

The wisdom of that move was proven by Syed Hamid Husain, a hero who deserves recognition and acclaim beyond a footnote by CNN.


Bag Blog said...

We had a teacher inservice on Monday. Part of the inservice was what to do in case of a shooter on campus. Pretty much, you should run like hell (as my husband said without a teacher inservice). It seems that these campus shootings usually end when someone else with a gun shows up, and that someone is usually a policeman. So why do we have to wait? Why can't someone on campus have a gun? Seems perfectly logical.

CenTexTim said...

When I was still teaching at the university level we had to go through state-mandated active shooter training, which was basically the same as yours: run, hide, fight back, in that order. And of course guns were strictly forbidden.

At one point they actually told us to throw staplers at an armed attacker. This despite the fact that college classrooms generally don't have staplers.