Many of us hesitate to get involved when faced with potentially dangerous situations. Maybe when we see someone driving erratically or even witness an accident, we assume someone else will call the police. If we notice an individual engaging in what appears to be suspicious activity, we may not want to speak up in case we are bothering an innocent person or if this person is not innocent, we could be putting ourselves in danger by pointing him out. But one woman in a small town in Minnesota did choose to get involved, and she likely saved dozens of lives.
Chelsie Shellhas saw a young man struggling to get inside a storage shed while she was in her home washing dishes last week. She eventually saw him disappear inside the shed and her gut told her something was not quite right, so she called the authorities.
The police who arrived on the scene found seventeen-year-old John LaDue sitting amongst a large supply of gunpowder and chemicals and a pressure cooker. The warrant then ordered for his home revealed that LaDue had bomb materials and many guns in his bedroom.
LaDue admitted to authorities that he had planned to kill his family, set a fire as a diversion, and then head to the Waseca Junior/Senior High with the goal of killing as many people as possible. The aftermath of such a plot being successful is horrific to imagine.
Shellhas observed activity that struck her as odd and did something about it. Are we as aware of our surroundings? I wonder if I would have made the same call if I noticed some teenage kid messing around near a storage locker. While I don’t want to walk around imagining the likelihood of every man and woman on the street being some sort of criminal, this story and Chelsie Shellhas’ quick thinking certainly has reminded me that we all have a responsibility to be aware of our surroundings and to look out for one another in our communities.
Please join me:
I have, and will always, stress situational awareness to my family. This young man is a good example of keeping such an attitude. What was chilling to me was reading in one news report how the young man told the responding officer that if he’d known the police were coming, he would have killed as many as he could. I don’t know what bred this type of callous attitude, but I really would like to find out.
Waseca, MN is a small quiet place, much like my own town of Milaca, MN. People here tend to be trusting, but curious and loyal to our community and neighbors. Chelsie was dubious about interfering, but that good old community spirit was too strong. She say’s she’s no hero, and if she’s not, then she’s just a damn good neighbor.