Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone & Anthony Sadler / You Make Us Proud to be Americans
“Europe's media is still abuzz with the extraordinary story of three Americans who tackled a suspected terrorist on Friday on a train in Northern France. The question being asked is this: Were they displaying a distinctly American can-do spirit?” (Bloomberg View)
True’s comment: Well, maybe. But, “can-do spirit” “distinctly American;” what does that mean?
All of us proud Americans have heard the back-story. Sunday, French President Francis Hollade awarded the Legion of Honor to three, young American men (Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, and Anthony Sadler) for subduing a 26-year-old Moroccan, would-be terrorist, who was apparently intent on killing an untold number of passengers on a French commuter train.
Skarlatos and Stone are members of the American military; and Sadler is a friend of theirs and a college student. The award they received from the French government and any subsequent adulation is, in my opinion, justly deserved. These three are remarkable young men - saving countless lives.
The would-be terrorist, Ayoub El-Khazzani, claimed that he had earlier found the AK-47 and other weapons in a French park and simply wanted to rob the train’s passengers. This explanation / alibi is so incredibly unlikely that it is kind of funny. Hopefully, the French authorities will sit on him until he squeaks. Some others are involved – almost certainly.
Of interest (food for thought - at least for me) was a comment, by a former British Army colonel, writing in the United Kingdom's Daily Telegraph, who declared: "It's an American thing. I salute it." He was referring, I imagine, to the courage displayed by these young men. And, there is no denying that a great deal of courage was involved.
Nonetheless, it caused me to wonder why it was principally Americans, and not French citizens, that reacted first and most decisively. Perhaps, it was simply chance. But, there must have been many French passengers in the immediate area.
I don’t believe that Americans are necessarily more courageous than the French. Culturally speaking, I suppose some cultures are more aggressive and impulsive. That said, the American culture is about as diverse as any in the world. So, “It’s an American thing, I salute it” doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. What is it about this “American thing?”
I’ve got a theory.
To be continued…