The story about the three Americans who stopped a terrorist on a European train is a ray of sunshine in an otherwise dismal news period. It reminds us that, in a world of big governments and big corporations, individuals who seize the initiative can still make a crucial difference.
The three Americans — one from the Air Force, one from the National Guard, and one a civilian — were middle school chums who were traveling on a train from Amsterdam to Paris when they saw an Islamic terrorist begin shooting. The airman, Spencer Stone, rushed at the shooter, tackled him, and was slashed by a boxcutter before his friends Alec Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler joined him in subduing the shooter. The authorities believe their courageous, selfless actions prevented another deadly terrorist incident, and the three Americans were decorated by a grateful French government.
I cannot help but wonder how I would react if I were put in such a situation and whether my instinct would be to duck and cover, or to act. I’d like to think it would be the latter — with luck, we’ll never be put to that test — but it’s nice to know that there are still people out there who have that impulse. We would like to think that, in the right circumstances, we could all be heroes.