When confronted with random acts of violence, the first reflex of most humans is to seek safety. But when Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, a 48-year-old mother of two and a Cub scout leader, came face-to-face with a knife-wielding Islamist attacker at Woolwich in southeast London who wanted to "start a war in London tonight", she calmly talked to him - and urged him to surrender.
For her selfless act of bravery, overlooking the risk to her own life, she is being celebrated on social media platforms as a hero.
Loyau-Kennett was one of the first people to arrive at the scene in Woolwich where two men - evidently in a fit of jihadist rage - butchered a British soldier with machetes and butcher's knives.
She told The Telegraph of London that she was in a passing bus and saw the bloodied body of the soldier on the streetside, and since she, as a Cub scout leader, had received training in administering first-aid and had a kit at hand, she hopped off the bus to attend to him. She had assumed it was an accident scene, but soon realised that the man was dead - and that it was not exactly an accident.
"When I went up there, there was this black guy with a revolver and a kitchen knife... He had what looked like butcher's tools and he had a little axe, to cut the bones, and two large knives. And he said, 'Move off the body'," Loyau-Kennett told newspaper.
She said she didn't quite know what was going on, but she felt that it would be better to keep the blood-covered attacker distracted and keep him from attacking more people. She asked him if he had killed the man, and why. To which he said: "Because he has killed Muslim people in Muslim countries... I am fed up with people killing Muslims in Afghanistan..."
And when the attacker said that he wanted to "start a war in London tonight," Loyau-Kennett patiently sought to dissuade him and urged him to surrender his weapons. "I said: 'Right now it is only you versus many people, you are going to lose'," she recalled.
She then went over to the other attacker - who seemed "much shier" - and urged him to hand over "what you have in your hands."
"I did not want to say 'weapons', but I thought it was better having them aimed on one person like me rather than everybody there," she told the newspaper.
The attackers didn't quite hand over their knives, but in a larger sense, Loyau-Kennett had - by standing face-to-face with them and by plainly telling them that they would "lose" - metaphorically disarmed them and calmed them down and, most importantly, ensured they didn't attack anyone else.
On Twitter, Loyau-Kennett's selfless act of bravery has many people in awe.
Tarek Fatah, who is known for his commentaries against Islamic jihadists, had this to say of Loyau-Kennett:
— Tarek Fatah (@TarekFatah) May 22, 2013
And Layou-Kennett's daughter offered a most unlikely tribute...
My mum is a motherfucking badass twitter.com/SiibillamLaw/s…
— Basil Baradaran (@SiibillamLaw) May 22, 2013
Others chipped in with similar sentiments
— Sophie King (@King_Soph) May 23, 2013
— SimonNRicketts (@SimonNRicketts) May 22, 2013
— simon carter (@Scoutsscarter) May 22, 2013
— Luke Bozier (@LukeBozier) May 22, 2013
This woman, Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, is the reason why, if women ran the world, terrorists wouldn't stand a chance businessinsider.com/ingrid-loyau-k…
— Roland Scahill (@rolandscahill) May 23, 2013
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Updated Date: May 23, 2013 08:25:09 IST