Letters: Rim Fire, Antoinette Tuff

Robert Siegel and Melissa Block read emails from listeners about the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park and Antoinette Tuff.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It's time now for your letters and a clarification.

Yesterday, during our coverage of the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, we said that parts of a major highway were closed making popular park attractions like Half Dome nearly inaccessible. Well, that angered some locals who wrote in to say that there are plenty of other ways to reach Yosemite and that it is still very much open for business.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Last week, we brought you the story of elementary school clerk Antoinette Tuff. She called 911 when a mentally unstable man with an AK-47 walked into the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in DeKalb, Georgia.

(SOUNDBITE OF 911 CALL)

ANTOINETTE TUFF: I'm in the front office. Ooh, he just went outside and started shooting.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: OK.

TUFF: Hold on.

BLOCK: Tuff stayed on the line. And when the gunman returned, she began relaying his messages to police.

(SOUNDBITE OF 911 CALL)

TUFF: He said he should've just went to the mental hospital instead of doing this because he's not on his medication.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: OK.

TUFF: Or do you want me to try? I can help you. Let's see if we can work it out so that you don't have to go away them with them for a long time.

BLOCK: Eventually, Tuff bonded with the gunman and convinced him to put down his weapon.

(SOUNDBITE OF 911 CALL)

TUFF: It's going to be all right, sweetie. I just want you to know that I love you, though, OK, and I'm proud of you. That's a good thing that you've just given up. And don't worry about it. We all go through something in life.

SIEGEL: Hiram Fuchs of Westbrook, Connecticut, heard our story and writes this: This was one of the most amazing stories I've ever heard on NPR. Antoinette Tuff is a courageous and caring person who surely saved many lives. Thank you for sharing this act of heroism.

BLOCK: And Teri Phillips of Tacoma, Washington, calls Tuff her new heroine. She writes this: Wow. I only hope that I could show the kindness and strength she exemplified if ever facing such a horrific situation. Well done, Ms. Tuff. Well done.

SIEGEL: We appreciate your letters. Please keep them coming. You can write to us by visiting npr.org. Click on Contact at the bottom of the page.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BLOCK: This is NPR.

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