Of Sharks and Samaritans – WSJ

Monterey Bay, California.


Brian Baer/Associated Press

It must be difficult to feel happy after being attacked by a shark. But after surviving last month’s harrowing encounter off Lovers Point Beach in Monterey Bay, California, Steve Bruemmer seems to feel nothing but a sense of gratitude.

In a video attributed to the Natividad Medical Center in Salinas, Josh Copitch of the Action News team at KSBW-TV released Mr Bruemmer’s account of the attack and its aftermath.

Mr. Bruemmer describes how he was swimming about 150 meters from shore when suddenly he was “savagely bitten by a shark across my thighs and stomach and grabbed me and pulled me up” and then “down into the water” and then ” he spat at me.”

He suspects this is because the shark prefers to eat seals over humans. But the shark didn’t go away. Mr Brummer continues:

…it looked at me…and I thought it might bite me again so I pushed it with my hand and kicked it with my foot and it went away. I came back to the surface and started screaming for help and then all my luck changed… I started screaming and… two people… on paddle boards… turned over to me, one one nurse and one a police officer who had his cell phone with him and immediately called 911.

Another Good Samaritan brought a surfboard from the beach to save Mr. Brümmer. He continues the story:

The three in the damn water put me on the surfboard and dragged me to the beach. Heroes – how do you get into bloody waters when maybe a shark is circling under you to save a stranger? They are amazing. I got to the beach and there were two ICU nurses and a doctor on the beach taking their own shirts and doing tourniquets. I had tourniquets on my legs and arms within five minutes to stop the bleeding. Otherwise I’ll bleed to death… They carried me to the ambulance. 40 minutes after the 911 call, I had walked the 28 miles to the Natividad trauma center… They saved my life in a two-hour operation that used 28 units of blood. Thank you blood donor. I can’t do it without you. you saved me Two days later, they fixed my thighs so that one day I could walk again.

In the video, Mr. Brümmer continues to thank everyone involved in his rescue and recovery, from the people on the beach to the hospital’s cleaning team. And why shouldn’t he? With one rather glaring exception, it was his lucky day.

There is an old saying that you make your own luck. Thank God, after the attack, Mr. Brümmer met people who were willing and able to do it for him. Felix Cortez of KSBW reported last month:

The Good Samaritans were identified as Heath Braddock, a surfer from Moss Landing, Aimee Johns, a nurse from Folsom, and her husband Paul Bandy, a Sacramento police officer. Everyone was in the water that day and Bandy said he did what he was trained to do.

“As a cop, I’m responding to emergencies all the time, so I don’t think there was ever a question of whether we were going or not,” Bandy said on the day of the rescue. “That’s how fast we would get there.”


“Strong progressives clearly live in a different world”
Democrats are very popular with college-educated whites these days, writes Ruy Teixeira on Substack. The bad news for the party is that such voters make up a large segment of the progressive left, which seems to have increasingly little in common with the rest of the country.

Mr. Teixeira uses data from Echelon Insights to show disagreements:

America is not the greatest country in the world vs. America is the greatest country in the world. At 66 percent to 28 percent, strong progressives say America isn’t the greatest country in the world. At 70-23, Hispanics say the opposite and working-class voters as a whole agree at 69-23.

Racism is built into our society, including its politics and institutions vs. Racism comes from individuals holding racist views, not from our society and institutions. Strong progressives are very, very sure of America’s systemic racism and support the first statement by a staggering 94-6. But Hispanics disagree and support the second statement, that racism originates in individuals at 58-36, as do working-class voters at 57-33.

… Hard work and determination is no guarantee of success for most people vs. Most people who want to get ahead can make it if they are willing to work hard. Strong progressives don’t show much confidence in upper mobility, supporting the first statement about the questionable effectiveness of hard work from 88-12. Hispanic voters, on the other hand, take the view that hard-working people are likely to advance 55-39, as do working-class voters 55-40.


A “Reagan moment” in Virginia?
Dean Karayanis writes in the New York Sun:

The resignation of hundreds of Virginia state employees is shaping up to be a Reagan moment for Gov. Youngkin. Like air traffic controllers 40 years ago, Virginia employees have been reminded that they serve the people – and if they refuse, they are free to find work elsewhere.

On May 5th, Mr. Youngkin announced that on July 5th, the staff of the Old Dominion would return to their jobs in person, face-to-face with the citizens paying their salaries…

Those of us who have learned to stop worrying and love the couch during Covid-19 have two options if our company wants us back in the booth: market our talents on LinkedIn or start a business and our be your own boss.

When the rules went back into effect, 300 Virginia employees decided on options along those lines. The state continues with a smaller government until those positions need to be filled, if that ever happens.


James Freeman is co-author of The Cost: Trump, China and American Revival.


Keep following James Freeman Twitter.

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