The world lost a hero on Sunday when Dr. John Cheng died saving others at a church in Southern California. Known as simply “Dr. John” by all who knew him, he was a family and sports medicine physician who also mentored kids in kung fu and taught the importance of self-defense. Dr. John was concerned about the increasing number of mass shootings and had taken safety courses to prepare for such situations. His calm demeanor and training likely made him a hero when a gunman entered the church and began firing.
Dr. John’s quick action saved potentially dozens of lives at the church luncheon attended by mostly older Taiwanese people, including his recently widowed mother. The shooter, motivated by hatred of Taiwan, had no connection to the church but targeted the large group of Taiwanese attendees. When the shooter began firing, Dr. John charged him and was shot but his bravery disrupted the shooter and prevented further casualties.
Dr. John lived a life of selflessness, always looking for ways to protect people. He introduced himself to the community as their new family doctor by knocking on doors, gave physicals to student athletes and donated the money he earned to the high school, and taught kung fu to those around him to help them protect themselves. He was remembered by his patients as a kind and concerned listener and by his friends as someone who didn’t want to feel helpless in a world where people were losing their minds and shooting others for no reason.
In a world filled with so much violence and hate, it is heroes like Dr. John who remind us of the good that still exists. He died a hero, and his selflessness and bravery will never be forgotten. It is a meeting of good versus evil, as Sheriff Don Barnes put it, and Dr. John’s selfless love for others stopped a hate-filled act from claiming more lives.