STATESIDE STORIES: To Be a Hero / Could Trump be a Trump Card?

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The Legion of Honor medal awarded by French President Francoise Hollande to Alek Skarlatos,
Spencer Stone, and Anthony Sadler. (President Hollande: “
You gave a lesson in
courage, in the will, and thus in hope.”)


by Mary Foran

To Be a Hero

Three Americans and a British man received the French Legion of Honor medal on Monday, August 24, at the hands of the French President Francoise Hollande.

The men were honored for their heroic role in subduing an armed gunman who was aboard a high-speed train heading from the Netherlands to Paris.

According to the Associated Press, Hollande said the men showed that “faced with terror, we have the power to resist,” adding that “You also gave a lesson in courage, in will, and thus in hope.”

The gunman, identified as Ayoub El-Kazzani, 26, was a Moroccan with ties to Islamist radicals.

The U.S. Ambassador to France, Jane Hartley, presented the men at a news conference held at the U.S. Embassy in Paris Sunday.

U.S. Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone said that he’d just woken up from a deep sleep when he saw the gunman carrying and AK-47 through the train car, adding that the gun “looked like it had jammed and wasn’t working.”

He wrestled the gunman to the floor as the gunman pulled out various weapons which he grabbed. The gunman got to a box cutter and began slashing Stone.

Stone appeared at the news conference with his arm in a sling and an injury to his right eye, and had had extensive surgery on his thumb which had been cut badly. Stone thanked the French doctors for their care and attention.

Stone was quoted as saying that he acted “to survive and for my friends and everyone else on the train to make it.”

The assailant was taken down with the help of Stone’s friends and traveling companions Alek Skarlatos, U.S. Army National Guardsman, and Anthony Sadler, a student at Sacramento State University, and a British man living in France, Chris Norman. A Frenchman first confronted the gunman in the train.

At the press conference, Sadler was asked for advice in similar circumstances. He responded that the answer was “to do something. Hiding or sitting back is not going to accomplish anything. And the gunman would have been successful if my friend Spencer hadn’t gotten up.”

This story shows that heroes can be found anywhere there is a need, that tourists can be helpful, and that terror can be resisted and defeated.


Featured image (Original image of the Chevalier légiond’honneur by République française. Derivative work: Titimaster talk via Wikimedia Commons), CC BY-SA3.0. Frame supplied



Is Trump in the Cards as President?

The polls show that Donald Trump, billionaire real estate mogul, TV show producer and entrepreneur, is frontrunner in the chase for the position of Republican Presidential nominee.

In spite of his bold and brash and at times bawdy statements, he is more popular than ever for his tell-it-like-it-is directness, something that the politicians he is running against could learn from him.DONAL TRUMP book

The people he is popular with find his attitude of self-confidence refreshing, as are his promises to fix the problems plaguing America: the National Debt, the economy, the position of the U.S. in the world, the border crisis and the tax code, which would be a relief to many.

The argument for a Donald Trump presidency is that he is so rich he can’t be bought and that he is a true patriot concerned about the future of the country. He is seen as a winner who would bring his winning streak to the White House and the nation.

He wrote a book called The Art of the Deal which he would translate into world diplomacy situations such as in the recent nuclear talks with Iran, and the situation in Iraq and Syria.

But others see him as less than diplomatic, at least in the traditional understanding of the word. As he says, he is a businessman, and would negotiate better relations with China and Mexico, on better U.S. terms.

The Media is jumping on his every statement and by now taking him seriously as a possible nominee, much to their chagrin. Like water off a duck’s back, The Donald’s comments are not hurting his chances for the presidency at all.

The people are fed up with politics as usual, and it shows.

Cover, The Art of the Deal, Fair use via Wikipedia