On January 12, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi stated the following about the Tucson shootings:

Whether it’s the people who responded immediately very courageously, whether it’s the first responders who came to the scene in a matter of minutes, whether it’s the hospital staff that’s taking such beautiful care of all of those who were endangered – we are deeply grateful to all of them.

In other words, the people whom she calls “the first responders” didn’t respond first. That’s not a knock on them. They couldn’t. The first responders were the Congresswoman Gifford’s intern, Daniel Hernandez and the people in the crowd who ran at Jared Loughner and held him down. Here’s what Wikipedia says about the latter:

After the gunman ran out of ammunition in the first magazine, he stopped to reload, but dropped the loaded magazine from his pocket to the sidewalk, from where bystander Patricia Maisch grabbed it. A bystander clubbed the back of the assailant’s head with a folding chair. The gunman was then tackled to the ground by 74-year-old retired colonel Bill Badger, who himself had been shot, and was further subdued by Maisch and bystanders Roger Sulzgeber and Joseph Zamudio.

This illustrates one of my themes that I push in my classes and on this blog: that the people in the position to act on information are typically people who are present and not those who are distant. That’s one of Hayek’s big points in his 1945 classic article, “The Use of Knowledge in Society.”