3 unarmed Americans stop armed terrorist in France

re pinned via  3 unarmed Americans stop armed terrorist in France.

L to R: Anthony Sadler, Aleck Sharlatos and Chris Norman, pose with medals they received for their bravery
L to R: Anthony Sadler, Aleck Sharlatos and Chris Norman, pose with medals they received for their bravery

This morning, dozens, if not hundreds or people in France are alive and uninjured because of the actions of three Americans who, despite being unarmed, stopped an armed attack on a passenger train.

(Note: this article is based on facts known at the time of publishing. Some details may change over time, but the principles won’t.)

Airman, Spencer Stone
US Air Force Airman Spencer Stone

By now you’ve probably heard the story. If not, the quick recap: US Air Force airman Spencer Stone, Army National Guardsman and Afghanistan veteran Alek Skarlatos and civilian Anthony Sadler were on a passenger train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris. According to witnesses, there was a gunshot and breaking glass. That’s when the three Americans’ reacted.

Sadler described the situation this way:

 “As he was cocking it to shoot it, Alek just yells, ‘Spencer, go!’ And Spencer runs down the aisle,” Sadler said. “Spencer makes first contact, he tackles the guy, Alek wrestles the gun away from him, and the gunman pulls out a boxcutter and slices Spencer a few times. And the three of us beat him until he was unconscious.”

One witness, a British national named Chris Norman said “I heard one guy, an American, say, ‘Go get him,’ and I heard another American say, ‘Don’t you do that, buddy.’”  Norman later helped restrain the terrorist. The NY Times said “…grabbed him by the neck and beat him over the head with his own automatic rifle until he was unconscious.”

By the time the suspect was subdued, three people had nonlife-threatening injuries, including Stone. He was slashed by the box cutter in the head and neck multiple times.

The terrorist, a 26-year-old Moroccan, hasn’t been named but was known to be a member of “the radical Islamist movement.” He was armed with a AK-47, a total of 10 magazines (approximately 300 rounds), a 9mm pistol (and extra mags), a knife and a box cutter.

 So what can we take away from this?

  • These guys were not in condition white: These three weren’t dozing off with ear buds in, unaware of their surroundings, like so many people in public or on public transportation are. They were aware of their surroundings and able to respond effectively and quickly because of it. You should always be in at least Condition Yellow while in public.
  • They didn’t get stuck in the OODA Loop: As I mentioned in a previous article about the OODA Loop, it needs to be a fast process. If these three had gotten stuck in the Decision part of the loop, this would have probably ended much differently. Because they were able to work through the loop faster than the terrorist, they were able to win.
  • These guys are Sheepdogs: Just like we talked about in a previous article, being a Sheepdog is the way you think and react. Their instinct was to protect people by taking action. They didn’t have a meeting, take a vote and draft a policy. They acted to protect. After it was over, Stone immediately attended to another wounded passenger who was bleeding profusely from the neck before getting his own wounds looked at.
  • They inspired others: Chris Norman admitted that “My first reaction was to sit down and hide” but when he heard the three reacting, he got involved. He wasn’t optimistic, “My thought was, ‘OK, I’m probably going to die anyway, so let’s go.’“, but he didn’t lie down and take it.
  • You’re not out of the fight until you’re out of the fight: Stone was cut up, but he stayed in the fight. When you face a gun, you may get shot. When you face a knife, you may get cut. Fights get you bruised, battered and bleeding. Know that, accept that and it won’t be a shock to you when it happens. Once you’re in the fight, stay in it until you win.

Well done gentleman, well done.


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