Kathryn Jean Lopez / August 10, 2019

Heroism Amid the Gunshots

An icon of charity and courage in the midst of suffering and fear.

I wasn’t quite sure what the chaos was about as I sat at an open-air diner on the West Side of Manhattan the other night, trying to stay away from news and get a little work done. Times Square was sent into a panic when people thought a motorcycle backfiring was a gunshot. Broadway shows emptied prematurely and sirens were everywhere, but it proved to be a false alarm and everyone went on with their nights. But the confusion captured the anxiety of the times. People are overwhelmed. Which is why Kendrick Castillo should be a household name.

He was the 18-year-old who in May rushed to stop a fellow student who walked into his British literature class with a gun.

Kendrick Castillo wanted to be a Knight of Columbus. The Catholic fraternal organization describes itself as “Catholic men striving to better ourselves and our world by building a bridge back to faith, assisting the sick and disabled, and protecting those who can’t protect themselves – whether they are next door or around the world.” At the Knights’ annual convention on Aug. 6, alongside announcements about major initiatives to help refugees and Native Americans, 2,000 men declared their desire to be more like Kendrick Castillo, while also posthumously inaugurating him into the order.

Castillo’s action gave classmates the opportunity to run or otherwise seek shelter. Though Castillo was shot and killed, his heroism allowed everyone else in that room to survive. Carl Anderson, head of the Knights, described Castillo as one of “the best men of our day.”

From all accounts, this was typical of the way he lived his life. As Anderson put it, Kendrick “wanted to be a Knight of Columbus because he wanted to help not only people, but his community.”

And in his last moments, Castillo did both.

“In a better world, Kendrick Castillo would still be with us,” Anderson writes in the Knights’ magazine, Columbia: “That Tuesday would have gone like any other, no shooting, no grief, no resulting search for answers. Sadly, that is not the world we live in. Ours is marred with sin and strife and suffering. But that doesn’t mean we have no hope. Heroes give us hope.”

Castillo is also a martyr to our culture of death and a patron saint for these times. He’s an icon of charity and courage in the midst of suffering and fear.

At the Knights’ convention in Minneapolis, Castillo’s father voiced his hope that young people in particular will continue to hear about his son and that the way he lived his short life will inspire them to live virtuously, even heroically, and be drawn to faith in God. “He was the angel and the saint in my life who taught me how to live,” John Castillo said.

John Castillo and those 2,000 men who posthumously made Kendrick a Knight of Columbus know that the example of lives like Kendrick Castillo’s can inspire others. In the midst of all the violence and death in our culture, despite the hate-mongers and propagandists preying on fear and despair, it’s possible to be a hero. And it has the potential to be contagious.

“Heroism lives in ordinary people who do extraordinary things,” Anderson writes. “They practice the timeless principles of courage, truthfulness, humility and self-sacrifice. Like Kendrick Castillo, they put the interests of others ahead of themselves, even if it costs them everything.” Heroes don’t have to be famous; Anderson writes that they can be “often unknown or unacknowledged because they don’t seek publicity. They also come from unexpected places and their heroism emerges at unforeseen times.”

In the wake of the shootings, while at a premiere of a new project of hers, Oprah Winfrey suggested we need to explore a “new religion” of storytelling. The Knights have the right idea though: Celebrate saintly living. That will help us get real religion again.

COPYRIGHT 2019 United Feature Syndicate

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2022 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.