Courage Boys: School Terror

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.

School Terror

1,100 people were inside a school in Beslan Russia, mostly kids. Their fathers had the school surrounded, aiming their hunting rifles into the windows. The dads were held back only by bombs attached to Chechen terrorists that were standing in the middle of their kids.

A thousand miles away in a Moscow airport, Anna pushed through the ticket line. She needed to get to Beslan fast. Aeroflot claimed the flight was full, but Ann knew that there was room. And she had a trump card. Her phone was watched closely by the Russian government. She was sure of it. She picked it up and called her editor at the paper.

"I need Maskhadov," she spoke loudly and clearly. "Get me Maskhadov." Maskhadov was a Chechen resistance fighter. She knew him from the days covering the Second Chechen War. Putin hated him.

She had a plan to broker a deal that just might save the kids. But she also knew that this would set off bells at the Kremlin and possibly get her on the plane.

It was worth a shot. And she was right. Within minutes, an executive from the airlines appeared and pulled her out of line. He put her on a shuttle to the plane.

In privacy, the shuttle driver leaned back to her, "The FSB told me to get you on this plane." The FSB is the new Russian version of the new Russian version of KGB. Putin's guys.

Less you think that the phone tap heard her plan to save the kids and was moved into action, you should have some background.

Putin hates the Chechens, but he hates Anna too. She was a Soviet diplomat's kid who grew up reading American newspapers, smuggled into the Soviet Union by her parents.

As an adult, she craved American-style free speech and journalism. When Putin became president of Russia, Anna decided to test the alleged freedoms of the new Russian system, and so she wrote a book that compared him to Stalin. It somehow or another wasn't published in Russian, but the world bought it.

When Anna bordered the plane, she sat across from three men and ordered tea. A little while after takeoff, her tea came. She drank it and then began sweating profusely, losing consciousness. When she awoke, she was in a hospital in Rostov, still hundreds of miles from Beslan.

"They tried to poison you," the nurse whispered in her ear. This was not the first attempt on her life. If only Anna would get on board with the government. Oh, if only she could once again live like a diplomat.

By the time Anna regained her strength, the school crisis was over. The state-friendly press reported that the fathers had opened fire and the terrorists had retaliated and then the military jumped in and saved them.

But Anna knew differently. It was Russian military action first. More than 300 dead. Most of them kids.

So with her throat still burning from the poison, Anna picked up her pen. She sent her story about Beslan to all of the world's major newspapers, and most of them published it. And at the end, she made a plea: We are hurling back into the Soviet abyss, she wrote. All we have left is the internet, where information is still freely available. For the rest, if you want to go on working as a journalist, it's total servitude to Putin. Otherwise, it could be death, the bullet, poison, or trial.

On October 7th, 2006, Putin's birthday, Anna was found dead in the elevator of her apartment building. She was shot in the head and chest four times. According to the Russian officials, the investigation is ongoing, but it's not so urgent.

So courage, boys. The truth may be scary, but never let the truth be silenced.

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?