MikeD on Amber Bahr, Ft. Hood Hero

Good morning. In comments on this post Friday, MikeD wrote something so moving about Ft. Hood that I thought it deserved a post of its own. Here’s a condensed version that I hope does justice to both its author and its subject.

I realize this has been publicized nationally by now, but I just want to offer an opportunity to pause to get our heads around this. On Thursday, a 19-year old girl (I’d say she’s a woman now, though) from Random Lake, Wisc. named Amber Bahr, who joined the Reserves at 17 and now serves as a cook, found herself in the middle one of the most shocking incidents of violence (because of its setting) to occur in this country in recent years. Blood, murder, and chaos spun around her as she saw her friends and coworkers gunned down one after the next. Like any good Wisconsinite, her first thought was apparently not for her own safety but instead to determine what she could do to help.

It is reported that she tore up her blouse (blouse? That’s the report…) to use as a tourniquet to aid a fellow wounded soldier, and carried another to get medical attention before she realized she herself had been shot in the back and was leaking blood from an exit wound in her abdomen. [This story was drawn from AP and Wisconsin State Journal accounts and has been dramatized, but given the facts we know it can’t be all that much so…].

At the time of the incident, Amber had not seen her mother since May. I presume she is now recovering with her mother by her side.

Andrew Sullivan wrote Friday morning that there is no silver lining to this incident. In terms of the effect on our society and discourse, that may well be true. In that case, however, I am not sure what to make of Amber’s story.

Scoundrels will be scoundrels. They prey on the weak: the weak in society, and the weak of mind. Let them be chased into the shadows whence they came, as is being done here. Let that be so in order that we not terrorize a peace-loving and essential part of our own nation. But let it also be so in order to preserve our ability to remember with dignity at moments like this both those lost, and to celebrate those, like Amber Bahr, who at critical times rise to show us the best of what we humans can be.


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Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman