It's hard to believe, but the tragedy in Tucson might have been much worse if it had not been for some people who demonstrated bravery in the face of extreme danger.
One of those heroes was retired Army Col. Bill Badger. While shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner tried to reload his 9mm Glock with a magazine containing another 33 bullets, the 74-year-old forced the gunman to the ground.
"Never in my life would I have thought that I would have to take action like that, you know, in a strip mall, parking lot, or in front of a Safeway grocery store," Badger said on MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. "It was just a reaction."
A bullet grazed the side of Badger's head and he hit the ground. "I stayed down as he was firing his gun — just bang, bang, bang, bang, " described Badger. "When he stopped shooting, I stood up. When I stood up, I didn't realize it, but he was walking by right in front of me, going from my right to my left."
Another bystander hit the alleged killer over the head with a folding chair, which gave Badger the opening to "take him down."
Then, Badger explained, "his left arm came out a little bit away from his side and he had his gun in his right hand. It gave me the opportunity to just grab his left arm. I grabbed it right by the wrist and took my right hand and hit him right in the top — in the center of his back, up high, and forced him right to the ground."
Loughner is being accused of attempting to assassinate Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who remains in critical condition, and killing six others, including a federal judge. He made his first appearance in court yesterday.