The other day I was reading an obituary of Tom Christian, descendent of the Bounty mutineer. It was in the New York Times and written by my very favorite obituary writer, Margalit Fox.
So, right up top the obit included this line:
Mr. Christian, who for his services to Pitcairn was named a Member of the British Empire in 1983, was long considered an elder statesman on the island. He served for years on the Island Council, the local governing body, and was a lay elder in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, to which most islanders belong.
Thank you! It’s a common refrain here, but oh how frustrating it is to not learn the basics of someone’s religious affiliation. It seems like such a modest expectation, but one that is frequently unmet.
Which gets us to this follow-up about my new favorite person: Antoinette Tuff.
You may remember that she’s the bookkeeper who talked a deranged man out of shooting up any students or faculty at an Atlanta area school. Listening to her 9-1-1 call is wonderfully inspirational. She’s so realistic about the threat but she just manages her fear and speaks to the gunman with love. We talked about some early coverage here.
A long-time GetReligion reader sent in this CNN story that explored some of her religious views, headlined “CNN Exclusive: A hug, then ‘We made it!’ as school bookkeeper, dispatcher reunite.” The story is about Tuff and 9-1-1 dispatcher Kendra McCray:
In their voices, both women sounded calm throughout the call — even as gunshots were ringing out around Tuff, and later when the suspect reached into a bag to reload his AK-47-type assault rifle.
But inside, they now admit, they were terrified.
McCray recalled Thursday how her hands were shaking, though she knew that she couldn’t reveal her fears in her voice. And Tuff said she was trying to incorporate the lessons she’d learned in church to stay strong for herself, the 800-plus elementary school students in the classrooms behind her — and for the gunman whom she came to feel for.
“I was actually praying on the inside,” she recalled. “I was terrified, but I just started praying.”