Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Defusing a Molotov Cocktail

"I thought it was silly of me at the time, suspecting anything. Maybe his face is cold. It's legitimate to wear a ski mask in January."
"He said, 'All right boys'. That's the only thing he said. At the time I wasn't sure if he meant, 'All right, this is my protest statement against Esso', or, 'All right, give me your money before this fireball goes off'."
"I believed if I could hold his arms above his head he wouldn't be able to throw it. It was either that or have him drop it in the gas station convenience store. That's a pretty small space."
"In the moment, I didn't think about how much worse it could have gone. As we were fighting I could feel the flames singeing my face and hands, but I didn't really register it until after it was done."
"He was swearing at me pretty profusely, and in the midst of it all I could think to say was, 'No'. And I didn't even say it in a dramatic way, I said it like a teacher would."
"I don't go looking for the dangerous situations. I just seem to find myself in them."
Brennan Richardson, Ottawa
Man who stopped Molotov cocktail attack at gas station to get bravery award
Brennan Richardson is to receive a Medal of Bravery from Gov.-General David Johnston on Thursday. Richardson stopped a man who threatened to blow up a gas station with a Molotov cocktail.    Photograph by: Jean Levac , Ottawa Citizen
Brennan Richardson is 28, and he, along with forty others will be receiving official acknowledgement that the country recognizes their selfless service to society. For Mr. Richardson, it is an appreciation for his having reacted swiftly to a situation that could quite easily have gotten out of hand resulting in great harm to everyone involved. Although the situation concluded with a question in that the person who sought to perpetrate a crime was never apprehended, all turned out well in the end.

The young man's visceral reaction to a sinister threat that confronted him as he was in the process of buying an energy drink in January around the midnight hour at an Esso gas station did him great credit as he confronted a black-clad, balaclava-masked man holding a lit Molotov cocktail. His action defused the threat through an infusion of testosterone and adrenalin.

When he first noticed the man he hadn't yet seen the bottle with flammable liquid afire as his mind processed the reason anyone might cover their face on an Ottawa winter night. Anyone might have been forgiven for doing so, in fact, given the starkly frigid winter we'd gone through.

But this was an occasion when an attempted crime was apprehended by the swift-thinking (although in his mind he felt himself plodding through exculpatory reasons for the man's presence; during times of stress the mind and time often seem to stall) of an alert and capable young man. He lunged at the intruder as soon as he realized the visual and spoken threat, to relieve him of his weapon.

His purpose was to prevent him from tossing the flaming cocktail at the gas station employees. In their struggle Mr. Richardson was able to shove the man outside toward the gas pumps. The masked man managed to break his opponent's grip and he threw the cocktail directly toward one of the gas pumps. It shattered -- but luck was with everyone but the would-be attacker that night, for nothing ignited to result in a conflagration of fire-gas-and-oil.

At that juncture the manager of the gas station appeared and managed to pull the mask off the man's face, and he ran off. For his pains, Mr. Richardson will be one among forty others to receive a Medal of Bravery tomorrow through a formal presentation presided over by Canada's Governor-General David Johnston.

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