Up until mid afternoon, the greatest drama today was discovering my car’s cooling system overflowing with oil. I managed to nurse it over to the local service centre, just across from where we live, and was discussing it outside with the bloke there when all hell broke loose.
A man went charging past us with another in close pursuit – yelling something incomprehensible and aiming a pistol. A car screamed around the corner and four burly blokes jumped out, heading the man off and waving pistols. They all jumped on him in a rugby scrum, quickly subdued him and cuffed him. A helicopter hovered overhead. It was all over, but for many more plain clothes officers appearing from every direction.
By that time I was beginning to review my response. As soon as I saw the first gun, I shouted to the fellow I was talking to, “Come on – inside!” and (setting an example of inspired leadership, of course) ran into the service station. I turned to see the scrum and saw my conversation partner running away from me towards it – to get a closer look! Sheepishly, I returned to where we had been standing.
And now I reflect on what motivated my instinctive reaction to what was indeed a highly risky situation. I can see it all in slow motion as the options ran through my head. “Is the guy with the gun a good guy or a crook? Whatever, we don’t need to stop any bullets. We need to hit the dirt. Can I pull this guy I’m talking to down without drawing attention to us? No that’s too dramatic. Let’s get inside and out of the way. Come on – inside!”
Self and/or other preservation? Common sense? Over-reaction? It’s interesting to mull over one’s reactions when danger suddenly arises. What would you have done? And as the American evangelicals constantly ask “What would Jesus do?”