(Chris Mintz, pictured above)
In the midst of a terrible tragedy, a truly heroic act of defiance, bravery and selflessness can come to define the mass shooting in Oregon this week. Forget the rage and violence of Chris Harper Mercer - another tragic figure consumed by hate and cowardice - let us remember the amazing courage army veteran Chris Mintz displayed in the face of incredible danger. From Business Insider:
An Army veteran who made it through a combat deployment without sustaining any serious injuries was shot several times as he rushed toward the gunman who opened fire at a community college in Oregon on Thursday.
Chris Mintz, 30, was in his first week of class at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, on Thursday when a man, identified by officials as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, walked into Snyder Hall, where classes are held, and started shooting.
Mintz reportedly tried "to block the door to keep the gunman from coming in," Mintz's aunt, Wanda Mintz, told Q13 Fox News in Oregon.
In 911 tapes from the shooting, a dispatcher said the shooter was "outside one of the doors shooting through the door," according to The Oregonian. The shooting was reportedly confined to one classroom.
After the gunman gained entry to the classroom, Mintz got shot three times, hit the floor, and then looked up at the gunman and said "it's my son's birthday today," according to Wanda Mintz. He then reportedly got shot two more times.
Thankfully, Mintz survived the shooting and is recovering in hospital with two broken legs.
Of course Mintz's story of heroism doesn't negate the urgency of gun reform legislation, but it does given those grieving a small glimmer of respite from the fear and horror of the all too familiar American tragedy.