On September 16, 2013 a madman was on a murderous rampage through the Washington Navy Yard. During the shooting Navy Capt. Edward Zawislak (also an Eagle Scout and Scoutmaster) came across a woman who had been shot and he sprang into action.
As this Washington Post story explains, Zawislak and two co-workers carried Bennett up some stairs to the only open door they could find. It led to the building’s roof. Still unsure whether the shooter knew they were up there, Zawislak stayed focused and applied pressure to Bennett’s wounds for more than an hour.
Zawislak, 45, told another civilian to write a note saying there were four people on the roof and throw it down to police. Soon after, a police officer arrived, helped stabilize Bennett and guarded the door while the four civilians were rescued by helicopter.
Zawislak had made a pre-determined decision to act in an emergency.
“you are trained to just respond. I didn’t think about anything. I just did it.”
Whether it’s an active shooter, a flat tire, medical emergency, or some other thing, made a decision NOW that you will act. Several times in the past I’ve been dealing with an emergency at work, and I’ve said to someone “Go call 911!” only to find them still standing there watching what was happening moments later. It’s called the bystander effect, don’t fall victim to it, be a person of action.