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Finding heroism and solace in the details

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

After the initial stories of terror at Franklin Regional Senior High School came the stories of heroism.

Sophomore Brett Hurt stepping in front of the attacker to shield a friend. Nate Scimio smartly warning others by activating the school fire alarm. Security guard John “Sarge” Resetar confronting the attacker, assistant principal Sam King disarming him, senior Ian Griffith helping to restrain him.

And of course, the countless students, school staff, first responders and doctors who stabilized the victims and saved lives.

As remarkable as it is, their response is to be expected. There always seems to be brave people who confront danger. We know this because Americans have witnessed too many acts of violence — including school violence — over the years. And though we've come to expect people to rise to the occasion, that expectation does not make their actions any less remarkable.

We've also come to expect a familiar narrative: tragedy strikes, heroes emerge, vigils are held, funerals are attended, a community grieves and is left with the task of healing.

Franklin Regional has deviated from that script.

This attack has not resulted in a single funeral.

Think about that for a moment. Someone entered the high school with weapons and harmed 21 people before being subdued.

And there's not one new grave.

Certainly, there are serious injuries. A doctor said in the case of one victim, the knife wound was within millimeters of his heart and aorta, with trauma to his liver, diaphragm and major blood vessels.

He and the other victims will bear the physical and emotional scars of this attack for a long time.

But they will live. That thought likely brings cheer and perhaps a little envy to families who have lost loved ones to school violence.

We don't yet know why the attacker chose knives. Was it because more-lethal weapons weren't available to him? Or did he make a conscious effort to not use guns?

Perhaps we'll never know. The suspect hasn't talked to investigators, and who knows if he'll testify in court.

We do know that despite being traumatized by what happened last week, this community was damaged less than it could have been. We should find solace in that.

Now that Franklin Regional has joined the reluctant fraternity of communities where school violence took place, we should be thankful that there is asterisk next to its name: * Knife attack. No fatalities.

Brian Estadt is a news editor with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400 or

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