The Peacekeeper in Action

The Peacekeeper: A Simple but Powerful Gesture

Herman Engel was out for a walk with his wife in lower Manhattan. As the couple was crossing the street at the corner, a speeding car screeched to a halt, missing them by inches. In fear and rage, Engel slammed his fist on the hood of the car. Furious, the young man driving the car got out, shouting, "Why'd you hit my car?" Engel shouted back, "You nearly killed my wife and me!" A crowd gathered. Engel was white, the driver was black, and suddenly the scene took on racial overtones. As people began to take sides, it looked as if the situation might escalate into a ...

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The Peacekeeper: Risking Life to Save Life

In August 1993, Sophelia White entered a hospital in southern California with a gun, proceeded up to the third-floor nursery, and wildly fired six shots at nurse Elizabeth Staten whom she accused of stealing her husband and children. Wounded, Staten fled downstairs, but White caught up with her at the chart desk and told her, "Prepare to die. Open your mouth." As she took aim, Nurse Joan Black intervened. She crossed the room, wrapped her right arm around White. "I figured if she could feel my body, maybe she wouldn't kill me." Tightening the hug, she placed her ...

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The Peacekeeper: Halting a Murder

May 20, 1961. A group of African-American civil rights protesters led by John Lewis had just arrived at the bus station in Montgomery, Alabama, where a hate-filled white mob awaited them. As the mob closed in to attack with heavy clubs, Lewis urged his people: "Stand together. Don't run. Just stand together!" The mob yelled, "Kill him. Kill him." Murder might have ensued had not Floyd Mann charged into the bus station. Mann, Alabama's public safety commissioner, was a committed segregationist but tough on law and order. He fired his gun into the air and shouted, ...

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