Army veterans deserve a lot more recognition than they receive.
They have fought brave battles and exhibited endless courage – and, often, they continue to do so long after they’re done with their service.
James Vernon, who is 75 years old, is one such retired veteran – and he’s not someone anyone in their right mind would mess with!
The man, who hails from Morton, Illinois, is also an avid chess player – and that’s how he found himself in the position to save multiple young lives.
In 2015, Vernon was teaching some lessons for this strategic board game to a class of children, 16 in total.
They were having a normal and enjoyable session – but that suddenly changed when a 19-year-old boy arrived and crashed the lesson.
The boy was Dustin Brown, and he was carrying a pair of knives.
He was bad news from the beginning, and he made sure everyone knew what he wanted to do the second he stepped into the library – he felt like killing children, and he was going to do it.
When Vernon heard Brown’s bold cries, he sprung into action, remembering some of his military training.
Though he had never actually been in any form of combat during his service, he had gone through a good amount of practice and training, and he could remember some of it.
To begin with, Vernon tried to calm Brown down. He distracted him so his attention wasn’t on the young kids, asking where Brown was from and why he was doing this.
Brown replied that his life is horrible, and that’s what his entire issue is.
He then began to attempt to attack, but by then, Vernon had been able to give the kids in his care a safe escape route.
Vernon then leaped into action, trying to recall the training he received regarding knife fighting.
It was five decades ago, so he was rusty and unfortunately was injured in the tussle.
(Later, he would remark that he should have gone for Brown’s wrist, but it had been so long since his training that it was no longer automatic for him!)
Luckily, though, Vernon’s Army background still paid off.
He was able to pin Brown down, though he was bleeding after Brown slashed open a tendon and two arteries of his in his left arm, and a staff member at the library was able to get Brown’s knives away from him.
Brown was then arrested by police. A court affidavit revealed some troubling things that Brown said in his statements.
He expressed regret at failing on what he referred to as his “mission”, which had been to murder everyone he could find.
In addition, Brown said that he had been planning this attack for 2 weeks and, had it gone well for him and succeeded, he would have killed himself afterwards.
Meanwhile, Vernon got all stitched up and was hailed as a local hero – and his wife was very proud, too! It’s fair to say that you should never underestimate an elderly man.