Posted by: ginalazenby | August 28, 2013

The Power of One Woman …


The Power of One Woman: Antoinette Tuff’s encouraging words to would-be gunman “We all have situations in our lives …. If I could recover, he could, too.”

Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 9.40.59 AMThe headlines around the world all shout out the same news: school secretary talks man out of school shooting plan.  Unbelievably, after all the tragic massacres of schoolchildren in the USA we are still reading about gunmen targeting kids so they can make some kind of statement or release their demons. A few days ago in Atlanta, a 20 year old man with a history of mental problems loaded himself up with 500 rounds of ammunition (beats me how they can still make it so easy for anyone to do this!) and took a woman hostage.

Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 9.43.19 AMThe whole country, and people across the globe, are now praising the heroism of Antoinette Tuff who calmed down the gunman as she alerted the 911 operator at his request (he had a death wish to be taken out by police in a shoot-out. I wonder what movies might have contributed to that aspiration?!).   Antoinette told him about her problems and how she had a disabled son, and how her marriage of 33 years had ended.  Her story of heartbreak and hardship distracted him, while the school apparently had time to evacuate all the children with the fire department cutting a whole in a back fence so they could slip out to safety. She convinced him to stop and surrender so he would not be killed. “I just explained to him that I loved him,” she said. “I didn’t know his name, I didn’t know much about him, but I did love him.”  ‘I told him, “we all have situations in our lives,“‘ she said. ‘It was going to be OK. If I could recover, he could, too.’

Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 9.41.41 AMYou can just imagine the drama unfolding outside the school as police and parents feared for the lives and safety of all inside and in that moment, Antoinette draws from within herself the capacity to engage with this man and  connect with him. She said she gave it all to God and her calmness came from her faith in God and the wisdom shared with her by her pastor. She even got the gunman to apologise, with him asking to use the school’s public address system saying he was sorry for what he’d done and didn’t want to hurt anyone.

Praise & insights on the web
The internet commentary is full of praise for her with folks suggesting that she is invited to the White House to be recognised personally by the President … someone also quipped “maybe she should be IN the whitehouse. Seems like she would be better with negotiating than most.”  Another added:  “She should be negotiating with Iran, N Korea and everyone who hates us”   Amen ….. I agree!

Other women’s acts of heroism

Talking about angels walking this earth, do you recall the Angels of Woolwich earlier this summer in London?   Amanda Donnelly and her daughter Gemini courageously sat and comforted the dying soldier, Drummer Lee Rigby in full sight of his assailants. She later said ‘No man should have to die like that in the street with no-one around him.’  Her son commented that she just showed a bit of motherly love. “She just did what any mother would have done.”    At the same time, Cub Scout leader and mother of two, Ingrid Loyau-Kennett quietly stepped forward to engage with the killers and distract them from killing again, while the police came to the scene.  Apparently, she stood there and listened to their hate-filled tirade about wanting to ignite ‘war in London’.

We read about these amazing selfless acts by women and I have to wonder where are the women, where are the mothers, when it comes to talking peace between nations and in conflict zones?  No doubt there were hundreds of police in Atlanta this week and it took one woman’s listening and the power of her faith to dissolve the situation.

I heard about Antoinette after I had just been reading an article and call to action by ex HP CEO Carly Fiorina in the Harvard Business Review about the power of one woman when she is given resources to bring her family out of poverty and also to help shift her community.  We seemed to have tried billion dollar rescue packages for the banks and other costly solutions to some of the large problems facing our world. Maybe it’s time to see what one woman can do … especially united with other women. It’s worth thinking about.



  1. Makes you hope that should you ever be confronted with this kind of situation, that you would have the presence of spirit to handle it as beautifully as Antoinette, Amanda, Gemini, and Ingrid did. Thanks for sharing!

    • I know! I agree Diana ….. Antoinette said that she channelled God, I am going to channel Antoinette!

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