Antoinette Tuff: America’s newest hero

Do you want to know what a hero looks like?

She looks like Antoinette Tuff, a Decatur, Ga., elementary school bookkeeper who talked a gunman out of doing tragic damage in the school where she works.

The stunning 9-1-1 call contains a riveting conversation between Tuff and the gunman who eventually surrendered to police. He did fire a shot, but no one was injured.

Pardon my repeating myself, but we use the word “hero” a bit too loosely these days. The term doesn’t belong to athletes or politicians. It belongs to those who put themselves into harm’s way to prevent injury — or worse — from happening to others.

They are police officers, firefighters, military personnel and now, a remarkably brave and calm school bookkeeper.

“Let me tell you something, babe,” Tuff said to the police dispatcher after the crisis had passed. “I’ve never been so scared in all the days of my life. Oh, Jesus.”

That’s quite all right, Ms. Tuff. Heroes are allowed to afraid.