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French Immigrant Goes Into SEAL Mode To Rescue Dangling Toddler
Immigrants: always doing the low-paying jobs nobody else wants, right? Keep that in old cliché mind while watching this video:
And keep it in mind while reading this gripping lede from the New York Times about the hero you just saw springing into action as the crowd goes nuts below — not a French commando or gendarme, but a 22-year-old Malian immigrant named Mamadou Sassama:
PARIS — The 4-year-old boy seemed to be suspended from a balcony. An adult standing on a nearby balcony seemed powerless to help. Disaster seemed the only possible outcome.
Then, to the nimble rescue on the streets of Paris on Saturday evening, came a young man whom some French people have started to call the Spider-Man of the 18th, referring to the arrondissement of Paris where the episode unfolded.
With a combination of grit, agility and muscle, the man hauled himself hand over hand from one balcony to another, springing from one parapet to grasp the next one up. A crowd that had gathered before he began his daring exploit urged him ever upward, according to onlookers’ video that was shared widely on social media.
Finally, after scaling four balconies, the man reached the child and pulled him to safety. And suddenly, an act of individual courage and resourcefulness began to play into Europe’s fraught and polarized debate about outsiders, immigrants and refugees.
Sassama "journeyed through Burkina Faso, Niger and Libya before making the dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossing to Italy and arriving in France in September, without documentation," the Times explains. Which, depending on your perspective, either makes him a dirty criminal invader or a pretty compelling BUD/S candidate. Based on his work this week, I'm inclined to think the latter.
French President Emmanuel Macron apparently agrees, having met with Sassama Monday and decreed that he will be fast-tracked for French citizenship.
Macron and Sassama meet at the French presidential palace on Monday.Pool photo by Thibault Camus via NYTimes
Which is appropriate and terrific, but given France's tightening immigration rules in the wake of the Syrian refugee crisis, it's also kind of nuts that you have to literally save a native-born child to get your rights. But that's where humanity's at these days. To win the presidency last year, Macron had to tack hard right on immigration, blocking out the nativist candidate, Marine Le Pen. "Mass immigration is not an opportunity for France, it's a tragedy for France," Le Pen had said, vowing that in the face of "savage globalization... I will protect you."
Turns out the best protection France could have this week was a 22-year-old border-crosser.
‘I made promises to the people that I lost’— How the Iraq war forged a Navy SEAL’s path to Harvard Medical School and NASA
Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.
However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:
You can almost smell the gunpowder in the scene captured by a Marine photographer over the weekend, showing a Marine grunt firing a shotgun during non-lethal weapons training.
A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.
Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.
"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."
New Vietnam War movie 'The Last Full Measure' takes some well-deserved shots at the military’s award process
Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.
With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.