A hero in the eyes of many

Published 12:46 am Sunday, March 15, 2009

Perhaps the best definition of a hero is anyone who risks – or gives up – his life for another. That be the case, Bruce Maloy of Samson fits the bill.

Maloy was the 10th and final victim of Tuesday’s shooting spree by Michael McLendon before McLendon fled to a former workplace, Reliable Products, and shot himself in the head.

Maloy had followed the shooter out of town in his older model pickup truck, ramming McLendon’s car, a dark red Mitsubishi, at least once.

McLendon shot the 51-year-old welder to death on State Highway 52 before eluding police in Geneva, the Associated Press reported Friday.

In Samson, Maloy had a reputation of being the town comedian, but his aspirations never got him into the spotlight. Some were said to even be slightly annoyed by his outspokenness, making him somewhat of an unlikely hero. His selfless actions during Tuesday’s rampage, however, have caused people to think of him as just that – but at a costly price.

“The car came by and Bruce was right behind him. He wasn’t two car lengths away from him,” witnessed Craig Harrison, who formerly employed Maloy at Craig’s Cycle and Marine.

While there is no way to know how this incident might have ended, Maloy should be recognized for some important reasons. He likely slowed down the shooter and allowed police more time to catch up with him. This man may well have prevented others from becoming victims that day.

While we would have much preferred that no one lost their life Tuesday, the giving of one man’s life may have kept the state’s worst mass shooting in history from becoming even worse.

Thank God for the town comedian.