While waiting to see the premier of “Dark Knight,” four men became white knights, defending their girlfriends and giving their lives. James Holmes, the enigmatic figure who allegedly shot dozens of people at the tragic event, did inspire heroism and valor in Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn, Alex Teves, and John Larimer, who ultimately were killed protecting those they love.
It may seem naïve or empty for President Obama to claim that Friday’s tragic event will be remembered for the “good people” who heroically defended the safety of those they love, and that the James Holmes would be forgotten – after all, painful things are especially memorable, and the ancient arsonist Herostratus, who deliberately burned down a temple to make a lasting name for himself, is remembered despite the fact that it was made illegal to even breathe his name – nevertheless, perhaps the instances of heroism will ultimately prove more inspiring than the recurrence of mass shootings is depressing.
Jon Blunk, a former member of the Navy planning on re-enlisting, pushed his girlfriend, 26-year-old Jansen Young, to safety before he was himself shot. “Jon just took a bullet for me,” Young said. “He knew and threw me on the ground, and was like, ‘We have to get down and stay safe.’”
She further relates that as she crawled out to pull on Blunk, she realized what had happened. “I guess I didn’t really know he had passed, up until I started shaking him and saying, ‘Jon, Jon, we have to go … It’s time for us to get out of here.’”
Young’s mother characterized Blunk as “loving, the kind of guy you want your daughter to be with.”
27-year-old Matt McQuinn likewise shielded his girlfriend, Samantha Yowler. “When the gunman started shooting, Matt and Nick [her brother] … pulled Samantha to the ground and shielded her,” said McQuinn’s attorney. Samantha was shot in the ankle, her brother Nick escaped injury, but McQuinn died after receiving three shots.
Alex Teves, 24, also shielded his girlfriend, Amanda Lindgren, from the assault. “He was gonna hit the floor himself, but he never made it,” said his aunt. Teves had mastered in counseling psychology and it was reported by his adviser at the University of Denver that his “top priority was his relationships. His loyalty is admirable and he always put his friends first.”
John Larimer, 27, a sailor for Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colorado, was gunned down when shielding his girlfriend, Julia Vojtsek, 23. He “immediately and instinctively covered me and brought me to the ground in order to protect me from any danger.
“Moments later, John knowingly shielded me from a spray of gunshots. It was then I believe John was hit with a bullet that would have very possibly struck me. I feel very strongly I was saved by John and his ultimate kindness.”
His best friend, Adam Kavaluauskas, characterized him as “always serving others,” and “never selfish.”
“His pride for his country was both endless and fearless,” Kavalauskas continued. He was “fun-loving and gracious on the outside, proud and self-sacrificing on the inside. … He was a gentle soldier.”