Not sure what you thought when you first saw the video of three women and a teen girl allegedly brawling at the Dollar Tree on Buena Vista Road.
Maybe you thought, “Allegedly, my eye!”
Or maybe you thought if people are going to destroy property, the place to do it is inside a dollar store. You wipe out an entire shelf of goods and incur $17.42 in damages.
Here’s what I thought: That video wouldn’t have been nearly as exciting if somebody had stepped up and taken charge.
Never miss a local story.
Like a soldier.
I’m not kidding. When chaos breaks out, soldiers know exactly what to do, because they’re trained to respond to everything — even women allegedly fighting in the Dollar Tree.
From watching the video, I’m guessing no soldiers were around. Instead, there’s a guy saying, “Y’all need to go on and get off the floor now! Ya’ll fixing to go to jail for nothing!”
But nobody took charge. I’m not sure what the proper procedure would have been, but I’m pretty sure a combat soldier would have known what to do.
We know this from living in Columbus. Sure, good civilian people live everywhere, and they care about others and want everybody around them to be safe and happy. But a lot of these same people freak out when something crazy happens. That’s when it’s nice to have soldiers around.
Years ago, when I was living in Clarksville, Tenn., my next-door neighbor was a special operations guy who had a job so top secret that he’d have to kill me if he told me what it was. So I didn’t ask.
Anyway, early one morning a tornado ripped through the darkness and destroyed a good part of the city.
But Bess and the kids and I were able to take cover because just before the storm hit my phone rang and my special ops neighbor said, “Take cover.” He wasn’t excited and he didn’t yell. He just said it like it was something he said every day.
His coolness somehow transferred to me, and I woke up Bess and we woke up the kids and we took cover and everything was OK.
By the way, the newsroom where I worked was destroyed and we moved to an abandoned grocery store where I wrote articles in an aisle marked “Snacks & Nuts.” But that’s another story.
Less than a year earlier, I was driving through icy fog on I-75 near Chattanooga when an elderly couple in an RV in front of me lost control and flipped upside down in the middle of the interstate.
I dodged them and pulled over on the shoulder and put on my flashers. That was the extent of what I knew to do. Sure, I was in the Army once, but I was an intelligence officer whose training consisted of learning everything about Soviet weapons and tactics — as the Soviet Union was ceasing to exist.
Like I said, it was foggy. Somebody was going to hit that camper, and then somebody else was going to hit them, and so on and so forth until we had a huge pileup and everybody died.
Except that’s not what happened. Instead, a gigantic four-wheel-drive pickup pulled up out of nowhere, and a gigantic man wearing a battle dress uniform leaped out and started popping flares and shouting out instructions to me and radioing for help, and nobody was injured, including the couple, and none of the other vehicles suffered so much as a dent.
You’ve probably got stories like that too, because you live around soldiers.
So during this unusually long holiday weekend, we salute the men and women who are calm, cool and collected enough to fight for our freedom, or keep us out of news videos.