Emanuel Skarlatos, father of National Guard specialist — and now French Legion d’Honneur recipient —Alek Skarlatos, appeared on MSNBC’s News Nation with Tamron Hall to discuss his son’s role in thwarting a jihad attack on a high-speed train en route to Paris, saving dozens of lives. Clearly the apple did not fall far from the tree in this family.
The elder Skarlatos said he wasn’t sure when he would see his son again, guessing that he would spend a little time at the Ramstein Air Force Base hospital in Germany getting his injuries looked at before he would be able to return home.
His closing statement is the part of the interview that’s going viral. “Can I just say one quick thing?” Mr. Skarlatos asked, after Hall thanked him for his time. “It’s better to die like a lion that be slaughtered like sheep. And this terrorist coward deserved what he got, and the PC crowd needs to recognize terrorism for what it is. And I thank you for having me on.”
The people on that train were very fortunate Alek Skarlatos and his friends, along with the anonymous French citizen who first engaged the terrorist and others who joined in the struggle, were in the right place at the right time. The train heroes, in turn, were fortunate that the would-be killer’s gun appears to have jammed.
If not for some remarkable marksmanship in Garland, Texas, the “Everybody Draw Mohammed Art Exhibit” would have turned into an Islamist bloodbath. If not for the heroes of United 93, 9/11 would have been even worse.
We cannot rely on such good fortune to protect us from jihad killers. As the IRA famously declared after narrowly failing to assassinate British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: “Today we were unlucky, but remember we only have to be lucky once. You will have to be lucky always.”
The courage of these heroes should inspire us all, but we also need something better from anti-terrorism authorities across the Western world than that every “lone wolf” was known to them ages ago, but nothing happened except a few dossiers being tossed back and forth between agencies. U.S. authorities became noticeably more aggressive about locating potential threats and taking preemptive action, after the Garland shootings.
There aren’t any easy answers to the threat of organized, fanatical terrorism, but as Emanuel Skarlatos helpfully reminds us, there are some wrong answers. We’ll never be safe from a threat we can’t even discuss clearly.