Peggy Noonan wrote The amazing story of how Ashley Smith stopped Brian Nichols's killing spree. Ashley Smith and Brian Nichols were together for seven hours. This is Nichols's mug shot. This is Nichols's face after he gave himself up to police Saturday. Something changed. Something happened.
Then as blogger Vanderleun: said she steps gracefully aside and let Ashley Smith tell it in her own words.... Read it carefully and thoughtfully. You say you don't believe in miracles? You will.
I agree with Vanderleun. The only thing I will do is show you the pictures (reduced to fit) side by side so you can see the difference. You can click on the picture to see it full size.
As blogger Ann Althouse wrote: Noonan adds:
It is an idiot's errand to follow such testimony with commentary. It's too big. There is nothing newspaper-eloquent to say. We have entered Flannery O'Connor country, and only geniuses need apply.Noonan's absolutely right. It was so clear that the "negotiated like a pro" explanation was not at all what happened. Maybe there are some pros who can feign such things, but I doubt it. It's even hard to imagine anyone telling the story in such beautiful sentences as those in the Smith transcript at the link. Fiction writers can only hope to labor to produce lines that good.
Here are mere facts. They were together seven hours and each emerged transformed. He gave himself up without a fight and is now in prison. She reported to police all that had transpired, the police told the press, and now she is famous.
Tuesday evening on the news a "hostage rescue expert" explained that she "negotiated like a pro." Actually what she did is give Christian witness. It wasn't negotiation. It had to do with being human.