Cory Booker’s heroism not unusual to long-time observers

When I learned that Newark Mayor Cory Booker rescued a woman from a burning house Thursday, I wasn’t surprised.

I covered his beginnings as a council member when I worked at The Star-Ledger in New Jersey before coming to The Washington Post.

More from PostPolitics

Republicans have a demographic problem. And it’s going to get worse.

Republicans have a demographic problem. And it’s going to get worse.

2016 will be a tough election for the GOP to win. 2024 might be impossible.

IRS paid bonuses to tax-delinquent employees, report says

IRS paid bonuses to tax-delinquent employees, report says

The IRS doled out more than $2.8 million to workers with recent conduct issues including nonpayment of taxes, an inspector general said.

America, you have issues. Talk to us.

America, you have issues. Talk to us.

Share which issues are important to you, your community and the country.​​

Read more

Almost exactly eight years ago, Booker tried to come to the aid of a 19-year-old boy who died in his arms - a heartwrenching story not only about Booker but about a cycle of violence and social ills in Newark.

The latest news of his heroism took me back to the day I interviewed him about his chance decision to take a walk with his father one evening near where had parked and lived in a camper to draw attention to crime there. They heard shots ring out in the city’s Central ward.

Booker ran to the scene, finding Wazn Miller, a teenager whose parents had died of AIDS. Wazn was being raised by an older brother who was trying to keep him off the city’s streets.

This is what I wrote in a story published in The Star-Ledger on April 21, 2004:

“Booker said he cradled Wazn and applied pressure to the wound to his stomach to stop the bleeding. He also kept checking the young man’s pulse.

‘The first time, I felt a weak pulse. The second time, I felt really strange sensations. Then there was no pulse at all,’ Booker said.

Booker said he tried to talk to Wazn until the ambulance arrived.

‘I said, ‘Hold tight. Stay with me. You’re going to be okay,’ Booker recalled.”

Booker has his faults as a politician. I’ve documented that as a journalist.

But I must admit, he often puts himself in harm’s way - from rushing into burning buildings to shoveling snow to holding the young man until his last breath.

They are the kinds of acts of heroism made for TV — and indeed, he’s on TV: “Brick City.”

 
Read what others are saying