Courage Boys: Tank Man

Courage Boys features stories to inspire and leave you feeling hopeful. Making a difference is not only possible, but something we’re all capable of accomplishing. These are the stories of ordinary people making the decision to be extraordinary with bravery, resilience and principle. This is Courage Boys.

Tank Man

Nobody really wanted to see what happened last night, but as people go, everybody was looking. And when the haze lifted from Tiananmen Square in Beijing, there were no answers. Only more questions.

Because last night, a revolution died in this spot. Thousands of unarmed students were crying out for a free press, human rights, and government transparency.

Now, men in uniform, hunkered down, scrubbing the students' blood from the pavement, removing any signs of yesterday's incident.

The papier-mâché Statue of Liberty that the Chinese students built in the middle of the square had been crushed and wiped from the streets. A division of Type 59 tanks, Soviet model, rumbled down the Avenue of Eternal Peace, patrolling Tiananmen Square.

Thousands of people stared vacantly from the sidewalk, careful not to talk, not to make eye contact with anyone, or be noticed by an official.

Among those people, we find a hero. Not a physical specimen. In fact, he seemed to just blend in with everyone else. Blend in, that is, until he stepped forward. Out, into the street.

Alone.

And in front of a rumbling tank. Humbly, he stood in front of the lead tank, the tank that didn't stop. And a man that didn't move.

He flung his right arm. His eyes said, "Turn back because I'm not leaving."

The army's orders from two days earlier still stood: Clear the square at all costs. Evidence of that cost was still splattered all over the pavement.

He was likely unaware that CNN and at least four still photographers were discreetly filming from hotel balconies above the street.

Epic imagery: A single skinny man squaring off against an army, a nation, a system of oppression. The tank kept rolling. 15 feet. 10 feet. About 5 feet from the man, the tank finally stopped. The line of tanks behind it forced to stop as well.

It maneuvered to its right to go around the man. But the man stepped sideways to block it. He never once stepped backward.

The tank stopped and redirected itself forward. It was coming toward the man. Again, 5 feet, 4 feet, 3 feet. At about 2 feet, the tank stopped and turned off its engine.

Our man then climbed on top of the tank. He spoke to the gunner who was on top.

He then banged on the hatch. The driver opened. Poked his head out. And spoke for a moment.

Nobody knows what was said. The man climbed down off the tank and the tanks restarted their engines. It appeared as though the man would return to the sidewalk. But no.

He pivoted and stepped right back in front of the tank. Our man would not yield.

Finally, a small group from the sidewalk walked out, grabbed the man, and walked to the other side of the street, where he disappeared.

Nobody knows his name. Press, governments, human rights agencies have all tried and failed to find this tank man. His image covered the front page of newspapers internationally by the very next week.

Later that fall, as Germans and Russians took hammers to the Berlin Wall, they talked about the tank man. People all over the world recognized the image of the tank man. All the world, that is, except for China.

You see, in China, Google allows the pictures and any words about the tank man to be censored. The tank man himself has disappeared as well. Nobody knows if he's dead or alive. But by stepping off the sidewalk that June 5th morning, he assured his immortality.

And so, Courage Boys. Because nobody has ever changed the world by staying on the sidewalk.

Christmas has arrived early for mainstream media. They have their first sentencing of a major player in President Trump's inner circle. Yesterday, Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced by a federal judge in Manhattan. How did it come to this and how did Cohen explain himself to the judge? We start there next…

President Trump's former attorney, 52-year-old Michael Cohen, is going to jail. Well, it will probably be one of those federal prison camps with a dorm that's more like a college campus. But he's going to be locked up. A federal judge sentenced him to three years in prison for financial crimes, and two months for lying to Congress. He also ordered Cohen to pay $2 million in financial penalties. The judge called Cohen's misdeeds a "veritable smorgasbord of criminal conduct."

RELATED: Michael Cohen's plea deal won't lessen Trump's support. Here's why.

The judge said:

As a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better. While Mr. Cohen is taking steps to mitigate his criminal conduct by pleading guilty and volunteering useful information to prosecutors, that does not wipe the slate clean.

Cohen pled guilty in August to eight criminal charges in two different cases. One brought by special counsel Robert Muller for Cohen's lying to Congress about a potential Trump Tower project in Moscow. The second was for bank-fraud, tax, and campaign finance violations brought by federal prosecutors in New York.

President Trump said recently that Cohen has simply been lying to get a reduced sentence for crimes that have nothing to do with him. Cohen was very emotional as he apologized to the judge, saying:

It was my own weakness and a blind loyalty to this man that led me to choose a path of darkness over light. Time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds rather than to listen to my own inner voice and my moral compass.

The left thinks that Cohen's sentencing marks the beginning of the end for Trump's presidency. They may be ultimately disappointed in that regard. But this does intensify the long national nightmare of the Muller investigation that seems to have no end in sight.

How long until we follow in Europe's footsteps?

JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE/AFP/Getty Images

Christmas should be a time of happiness and celebration the world over. But in Europe, it is now the season of terror. The sounds at Europe's famous Christmas Markets of "Merry Christmas!" and laughter are rapidly being replaced with the sounds of "Allahu Ackbar!" and gunfire. Two years ago ISIS attacked a Christmas Market in Berlin, killing twelve and injuring another forty-eight. And tragically, the sound of automatic gunfire and the chant of "Allahu Ackbar!" was heard at another Christmas Market in Europe yesterday afternoon… this time in France.

Two people are dead and thirteen are battling for their lives right now in Strasbourg, France. The attacker walked into the city's Christmas Market shortly after 8pm, shouted "Allahu Ackbar" and began shooting indiscriminately. He then proceeded to battle the police in four separate locations while he fled the scene. As of this moment, he still hasn't been caught. The city of Strasbourg is on full lockdown, and France's terror level has been elevated.

RELATED: Paris pandemonium: Here's what happens when people feel ignored

A man of Middle Eastern descent has been identified as the suspect. He was already on a terror watchlist and had been deported from Germany recently with twenty criminal convictions. He's well known in Islamist circles and was reportedly radicalized after spending time in prison. Apparently he was too radical for the Germans… but not for France.

What is it going to take for progressive governments like France to wake up to their failed policies? Nearly 300 people have been killed in terror attacks in France over the past three years. 300 in three years! But despite that, the French government refuses to address immigration, they continue their open border policy and - more importantly - they refuse to listen to their people when they try and tell them that they're scared to death over this issue. Instead they get a lecture on Islamophobia… "that's the real problem."

Outrage has replaced baseball as our national pastime.

This is one of the reasons why the Yellow Vests are tearing the country apart. The government refuses to listen to their fears on terrorism, unchecked immigration, open borders, the failing economy, high taxes and out of control spending. Wow... do these issues sound at all familiar? How many years behind France are we? Just listen to ourselves.

Outrage has replaced baseball as our national pastime. People have lost the ability to engage in peaceful protest. Street demonstrations have turned into street brawls. Have you seen the images from places like Portland lately? European governments are losing the social contract with their people. After years of broken promises and outright lies from Washington, how long before that happens here?