In five seconds

In five seconds.

In five seconds. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Russell Stewart/Released)


What can you do in five seconds?  In five seconds, the average person blinks once.  Every five seconds, 500,000 chemical reactions have taken place in every single cell of your body.  Every five seconds, 17 million emails are sent worldwide.

Every five seconds, about 21 babies are born in the world.


Five seconds mattered on June 9, 1990, to Officer Stacy Lim from the Los Angeles Police Department, who was heading home after a softball game. That night, five gang members followed her, intending to carjack her vehicle.


Officer Lim pulled in front of her house, she gathered her belongings, stuffing her police gear and softball equipment into her bag.  She also grabbed her handgun, which she was about to place under her left arm as she exited her vehicle.


"The first thing I see when I step out of my car is the barrel of a .357 magnum," she said.


Her immediate response was to call out and identify herself as a police officer.  The gang member holding the gun responded by firing a .357 magnum into her chest, cracking her ribs, hitting her heart, diaphragm, liver, intestine, and spleen before exiting her back leaving a tennis-ball size exit wound.     

Officer Lim described the pain, “If you take a javelin, heat it up about 1,000 degrees, shove the thing through your chest, that’s about what it feels like- a real burning sensation.”  But in that moment, if she were to survive, she could not think about the pain, so she continued to fight.  She became the aggressor and pursued the would-be carjackers.  She fired her weapon, neutralizing the gunman while the other gang members wisely fled for their lives. With the immediate threat defused, Officer Lim realized the others may come back and that she needed to seek shelter.  Slowly, she walked toward her house before collapsing in her driveway.  Her roommate came out thinking the neighborhood kids were shooting off firecrackers, but found Officer Lim and called 9-1-1.


Stacey Lim’s heart stopped three times, once in her driveway, and twice on the operating table.  But she kept fighting.  And eight months after that fateful night, she returned to duty.          

 Five seconds is not a lot of time.  But it is enough time to change a life.  Five seconds of positive or negative interaction can make a difference to someone.  Taking five seconds to show you care, or asking someone how they’re doing, or even taking time to correct something wrong.  Five seconds to fight for what is right.  Your heart can be stopped by a bullet and you still have five to seven seconds left before you cannot continue.  What will you do with the time you have left?  Will you roll over and give up?  Or will you continue to fight?