When the shit really hits the fan, you can't predict how you'll act. In your imagination, you're definitely an unflinching badass who drop-kicks terrorists and delivers devil-may-care bon mots at oncoming nuclear explosions, but in real life? Let's just say most ambulances don't usually carry a spare pair of fresh pants in your size.

But then again, there are real folks out there who, when danger came a-knocking, mustered the mental steel to uppercut danger in its goddamn stupid idiot fart face. These are those paragons.

6
Stabbing Victim Pulls The Knife Out Of His Neck (And Returns The Favor)

Yonatan Azarihab was collecting charity money from businesses in the Israeli city of Petah Tikva when, upon entering a wine shop, he was jumped from behind by a total stranger. This new piggyback buddy introduced himself by stabbing Azarihab several times with a knife that we could calmly describe as "obscene."

Israeli Police
And much less calmly as "shiterrifygasming."

Seriously wounded, Azarihab stumbled from the store with the assailant's knife still lodged in his neck. This was an opportune moment to get the hell out of Dodge or, at the very least, play dead (by falling into real unconsciousness). But Azarihab wasn't having it -- after noticing that the stick-up man had turned his attention to the shopkeeper, the victim rose to his feet, pulled the fucking knife out of his neck, and stabbed that asshole right in his fucking sense of poetic justice. Also, his body.

The attacker was later shot dead by police, who confirmed that this "random" stabbing was actually one element of a coordinated attack against the city that day. Azarihab didn't just take on a street mugger and win: he took on a terrorist berserker and won.

Ben Sales/Times of Israel
Also, he apparently , so maybe those 48 times you watched Road House are training enough?

5
Florida Officer Foils A Prison Break With A Knee To The Dick

Corrections officer Reeshemah Taylor was patrolling the hallways of Osceola County Jail's medical ward one night when her colleague abruptly disappeared from radio contact. But her coworker wasn't enjoying some "incognito browsing" time -- Taylor turned a corner and found him lying unconscious. This was surprising, but probably not as surprising as the gun she suddenly felt pressed against her head.

And to make this scenario even more like the opening minutes of an AXN movie, Taylor had stumbled into an inside job. The gunman was Angel Santiago, a violent criminal serving three life sentences. The insider who planned the escape was Michelle Hung, a fellow corrections officer. It turns out that the combination of disinfectant and the constant threat of being shanked makes for a powerful aphrodisiac, since the two quickly became an item and planned a romantic getaway.

Florida Department of Correction
They had to be tried in separate courthouses because the raw sexual magnetism was giving juries the vapors.

After smuggling in a cellphone and gun to her love, Hung was waiting outside the prison when Santiago called to say that he was coming out and that nothing could go wrong now ...

It's at this point that our hero, Officer Taylor, grabbed the gun and delivered a world-ending knee to Santiago's balls. With the wind knocked from his sails (and dick), she dropped him to the ground and put him into a killer headlock as he tried to reach for his pistol. It was only after Santiago was subdued that they learnt the full workings of his escape plan: to steal a guard's uniform and walk away undetected, killing anyone who tried to stop him -- which they certainly would have, because real life isn't goddamn Hitman.

Santiago and Hung were arrested and incarcerated like a dimestore version of Joker and Harley Quinn, whilst Taylor was awarded the Medal Of Valor for her bravery and nuts-cracking skills.

NBC News
As reward, she got to meet the VP most likely to appreciate a good nut shot story.

4
College Kid Subdues School Shooter (With His Bare Hands)

When Brendon Malovrh saw students panicking and fleeing his college's campus, he just attributed it to some jerks setting off fireworks from behind some nearby bushes. What else could it be? Being the curious type, he went to investigate and found himself face-to-face not with a gang of surly rebels trying to freak out the squares, but Jillian Robbins and her telescopic rifle. This Jillian Robbins:

Deseret News

Spokesman.com
We have good news and bad news about what most people will associate with you in the future, Penn State.

Can you even imagine how you'd handle that? If you're Malovrh, you nod politely (because, uh, everyone in the '90s was chill?) and then suddenly rip the gun from her hands before she can finish reloading. Robbins' response wasn't meek surrender, however: it was to pull out a fucking hunting knife and start lunging at our hero.

Collegian.psu.edu
"Do you mind if we pause for a moment while I look up a tutorial? It will only take five hours to download."

Getting progressively angrier that her stabhurricane wasn't working out, Robbins doubled down on the tactic and wound up stabbing her own leg. Their confrontation ended when Malovrh used his belt as a tourniquet, saving Robbins from bleeding out. The fact that more people weren't killed is a testament to what can be accomplished by one man and his zeal for the unsanctioned usage of fireworks.

3
Cub Scout Mom Tells Terrorists How Much They Suck (To Their Faces)

On May 22, 2013, in the Woolwich district of London, 48-year-old Ingrid Loyau-Kennett was riding the bus when she saw a man lying in the street. She jumped off to assist him and found that he had no pulse -- and no head. Then she realized she was standing next to a pair of men with a revolver, a hand axe, and huge, bloody knives. At which point Loyau-Kennett did not avert her eyes and jaywalk the fuck outta there like so many of us would've.

Nope, as a leader of boys' survival and leadership groups, she was a veteran of dealing with the rude and irrational. Two armed men standing over a corpse? Positively tickety-boo. And so, drawing from a reservoir of bravery so deep we can barely fathom its fathoms, Loyau-Kennett decided to investigate these two exceedingly armed men and see what they had to say for themselves.

iTV News
"Trust me, there are no merit badges to be gained here."

The first man told her to get away from the body so they could hack at it some more, but she just asked him what his goal there was. "We want to start a war in London tonight," was the answer. The killers, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, were homegrown Islamist radicals angry about Western military action in Afghanistan. While bystanders began to clump together more and more, Loyau-Kennett flat-out told the terrorists, "Right now it is only you versus many people, you are going to lose, what would you like to do?" The killer again said he wanted to stay and fight. All righty then. No sale. So, she turned to the second man and calmly asked, "What about you? Would you like to give me what you have in your hands?"

BBC News
That was a knife, for the record.

In a movie, this would be the villain's chance to say, "Sure!" and stab/shoot/bash the brave heroine with his weapon. In real life, he was too shy to do much more than continue to be cowed by Loyau-Kennett's can-do, no-nonsense courage. She kept both men at bay for endless minutes. (That is, until police finally turned up and gave them what they wanted: some brand new bullet-shaped holes.)

2
A Totally Random Volunteer Takes Down Clock Tower Sniper

In 1966, Charles Whitman (an ex-sharpshooter with the USMC) gave everyone a new metaphor for being slightly disgruntled with your colleagues by climbing the clock tower in the center of the University of Texas campus and opening fire on the people below. By the end of his rampage, 17 people were dead and another 30 were injured -- a total that could've easily been a lot higher if the police hadn't managed to storm his impenetrable sniper's nest and take him out.

And by "the police," we mean "the police and some random dude that they ran into on the street": Allen Crum, full-time bookseller and extra-full-time badass.

Ted Powers/AP
And fantastic tie-buyer.

Crum was working in his store when he saw a bloodied 17-year-old being dragged to cover. Thinking that there'd been a fight and that there were hoodlums to disperse, he stepped outside ... and heard the unmistakable sound of gunfire alongside a shitload of screaming. Crum promptly made his way to the base of the clock tower and got himself a rifle by just asking a trooper for one. Since he was on a roll, he also asked to be deputized as he and a small posse of officers ascended towards the madman's lair. They complied. And that's how he became the substitute teacher-equivalent of the police assault squad.

The group finished climbing the tower and stormed the observation desk, where a police shotgun soon put paid to Whitman. The danger wasn't over yet, however. The police then came under fire from the gun-toting members of the crowd below who wanted to help out any way they could, even if it meant accidentally landing a shot inches from an officer's head (which really happened). It was Crum who stopped the onslaught by dangling himself over the side of the deck and waving a handkerchief. Ned Beatty would later portray him in the inevitable movie, which is the best thing any of us can ever hope to get out of life.

MGM Television
So Christopher Reeve wasn't the most badass hero in Superman.

1
Insanely Brave Guy Sacrifices Himself By Driving A Burning Train Of TNT

Jesus Garcia was only 23 -- by Millennial reckoning, that's somewhere between college and that room mom and stepdad can't wait to turn into an Airbnb -- when his heroic moment arrived. It was 1907, a time of trains, dynamite, and sepia. (Think Mad Max: Fury Road in early 20th Century Mexico.) He worked in a world in which things could (and did) blow up with enough regularity to cement that aspect of life into western movies forever.

Wiki Commons
He looks more rugged at 23 than Charles Bronson at 73.

Garcia was a brakeman at a train yard in the center of the town of Nacozari, an old-timey metropolis with a population of 5,000. While on break on November 7, 1907, Garcia noticed the absolute last thing a man driving a train full of 70 crates of dynamite needs: burning hay. Several of the cars were carrying the stuff, and sparks from the chimney stack had blown into them and set them a-blazin'. And that's just half of the equation. The train was surrounded by gas tanks, dynamite stores, and other desert train yard accoutrements in the center of Sonora's heritage hotspot.

Full clench mode: activated.

Dr. James Douglas
Next time someone asks "WWJD?" feel free to answer, "Dynamite train."

The young worker had a lot of options: running, screaming, hiding, taking cover, accepting the inevitable and making last-minute confessions, etc. Instead, he sprang into action, leaped onto that train, threw her into reverse, and sped away. No one can say for certain how far he intended to take this, but the consensus is that he was going do a parachute roll and run like hell at the last minute. What we do know is that his one goal was to get the train and its flaming cargo as far away from the town as possible.

He got about four miles before the train exploded, killing 13 people, including himself ... instead of the thousands who would have died had he been any less amazing. He could have jumped sooner, saved his own life, and heroically saved a chunk of the town, but hundreds or more would still have died. Without an engineer, he knew, the train might well have started sliding back to town. Nope, he rode that goddamn locomotive straight to Valhalla.

Popular Mechanics
They got the spirit of the thing, at least, and isn't that what counts most?

All that was ever found of him was a single boot, as if to signify: "This is the boot of Jesus Garcia -- he used it to kick the ass of reality itself."

When Marina and Adam aren't being research heroes, you can find them on Twitter.

Also check out 21 Amazing Times Nobodies Saved The Hell Out Of The Day and 6 Nobodies Who Turned Into Superheroes Without Warning.

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