Authors Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos appeared on Monday’s Breitbart News Daily to discuss their new book, The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Heroes. If their names sound familiar, it is because they are the subjects of the book, as well as its authors: two of the three Americans who saved countless lives by stepping forward when terrorist Ayoub el-Khazzani attempted to stage a massacre on a train from Brussels to Paris in August 2015.
After recounting how they and their friend Spencer Stone sprang into action when Khazzani stormed into their train car with an AK-47 rifle, handgun, and box cutter, Sadler and Skarlatos talked about the lessons society should draw from the incident.
“As Americans, you always hear about terrorism, but it’s kind of like in the back of your mind, you don’t think it’s going to happen where you are, especially when you’re traveling internationally,” said Sadler. “It’s just a risk you’re taking, and we were just kind of ignorant to it at first, and then, of course, something like that happened to us and changed our whole perspective. I think it’s just something that we hope our situation provides a unique twist to the narrative on terrorism, that, you know, these things can be thwarted. I wouldn’t suggest everybody go running at a guy wielding a gun, but if there’s something you can do, I would say do. I don’t know exactly what that is because every situation’s different, but I think as Americans we just need to be aware of the world we live in today.”
When SiriusXM host Alex Marlow brought up the gun rights debate in the United States and asked if the heroes of the Brussels to Paris train would have benefited from carrying firearms, Skarlatos replied with a laugh: “It would have made it a lot easier, that’s for sure.”
“I’m totally all about gun rights,” he continued. “Europe is a totally different place than the United States, obviously. But I just don’t think gun-free zones work because, I mean, all of Europe is a gun-free zone, and this guy still got an AK and a handgun.”
Sadler added that Skarlatos and Spencer, who have military experience, are often portrayed as “these combat veteran guys, and that’s why we were able to take down the gunman,” but he noted, “That’s the most action any of us have ever seen, even the guys in the military.”
“The narrative is often, ‘Oh, yeah, the military is why these guys were able to do that,’ but I think the book portrays us as just the three regular friends, twenty-something friends that we were, and that we were just put in an extraordinary situation. The circumstances just kind of fell into place where we were able to act and not only save ourselves, but everybody else.”
“I’ve always been very patriotic,” said Skarlatos. “To be honest, it hasn’t really changed my outlook on anything. It’s just made me kind of, I guess, a little bit more worldly and appreciative of the United States because, I mean, honestly, Europe is going through a lot of issues right now, especially France, and I guess it’s just made me appreciate what I have here more because the rest of the world has it a lot rougher than we do, in a lot of ways.”
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