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Despite Today’s Bad News, Good People Offer Good Reasons to Give Thanks

Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

In a world boiling over with bad news, you can find it increasingly hard to pause and seriously ponder the value of giving thanks, even on the holiday created for that solemn purpose.

Yet, even in darkest times, we still have homegrown heroes who remind us how, at the very least, things could be worse.

Take, for example, the newsmaker who just in time for Thanksgiving offers us the memorable self-deprecating quote, “I’m not a hero. I’m just some dude.”

“Some dude,” indeed. That was Richard Fierro, 45, the retired Army major who helped save lives at Saturday’s mass shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ bar in Colorado Springs, where he tackled the gunman who killed five people and injured at least 18 others.

In the club for a family outing, Fierro was credited by police with grabbing the gunman, tackling him as his AR-15-style rifle fell to the floor. Fierro shouted for another patron to grab the rifle and ordered a drag dancer passing by to stomp the attacker while he grabbed the gunman’s handgun and pummeled him with it.

Police arrested Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, on charges of first-degree murder and committing a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury.

 

Dictionaries define “hero” as a person of distinguished courage, who is admired for his or her brave deeds, noble qualities and sacrifices.

After four combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, Fierro shied away from the H-word, a reluctance that, whether he likes it or not, only makes him sound more heroic.

“I don’t know how I got the weapon away from that guy, no idea,” he told a New York Times reporter. “I’m just a dude, I’m a fat old vet, but I knew I had to do something.”

After months of constant exposure to the hyperinflated egos of self-regarding politicians, it is sobering and refreshing to hear someone who faced danger, came out alive and doesn’t want to grab credit for everything that’s good in the world.

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