March 14, 2005

God, family, pancakes.

How Ashley Smith, taken hostage, talked Brian Nichols, the man accused in the Atlanta courthouse murders, into surrendering peacefully:
"You're here in my apartment for some reason," she told him, saying he might be destined to be caught and to spread the word of God to fellow prisoners. She told him his escape from authorities had been a "miracle."...

[S]he said she told Nichols that her husband died four years ago and if he hurt her, her little girl wouldn't have a mother or father. Smith's attorney, Josh Archer, said her husband died in her arms after being stabbed.

The two talked about the Bible and she handed him photos of her family. When morning came, Nichols was "overwhelmed" when Smith made him pancakes with real butter, she said. He told her he "just wanted some normalness to his life," she said.

I expect a book and a movie about Smith soon enough, but for now, I'm sending out waves of admiration to the woman. Like Uli Derickson, she had the presence of mind and the inner resources to respond brilliantly to an irrational, desperate man. To think that her husband, murdered, died in her arms! She must have processed that shocking event through her religious beliefs and come to a place in her mind where she could speak calmly and directly to Nichols.

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