Capable Moments of the Year 2015

The end of the year draws closer, and we at Capable Men would like to mark our first ever Capable Moments of the year list. So what defines a capable moment over any other moment? Read on.

Monumental moments of 2015

2015 was a year that was subject to many eventful political issues that had strong global ramifications for many people here on earth. Amongst some of the more sombre political & economic events that took place worldwide this year, were moments of brilliance, inspiration and selflessness that are worthy of a highlight reel that we would like to bring to you in the form of our Capable Moments of the Year 2015

So what defines a capable moment over any other moment? Here we outline 4 carefully selected moments of the year that must fall into any one or more of the following categories below to be determined as a capable moment: 

  • Greatly benefited humankind
  • Spectacular innovative idea or project 

  • Extraordinary feat of excellence performed by an individual

  • Extreme act of selflessness for the benefit of others

So without further delay, in no apparent order I present the 4 most Capable Moments of the Year 2015.

Most interesting news of 2015

Khaled al-Asaad - refusing to lead Isis to hidden Palmyra antiquities

Khaled al-Asaad, was 82 years old before he was tortured and beheaded by Isis in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra on the 18th of August this year. Khaled al-Asaad was a Syrian archaeologist and the head of antiquities for the ancient city of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a position he held for over 40 years.

In May of this year, Palmyra fell under Isis control and Khaled al-Asaad was among many of the captured at this time. (Not before helping to evacuate the city museum prior to ISIS's takeover of the city.) 

During his capture, Isis used torture in the attempt to get al-Asaad to reveal the exact location of the ancient artefacts that he had helped hide prior to Isis gaining control of the city. Khaled al-Asaad held out, and refused to give Isis the information they desired in order to destroy the antiquities.  

After detaining him for weeks, the jihadists dragged him on Tuesday to a public square where a masked swordsman cut off his head in front of a crowd, Mr. Asaad’s relatives said. His blood-soaked body was then suspended with red twine by its wrists from a traffic light, his head resting on the ground between his feet, his glasses still on, according to a photo distributed on social media by Islamic State supporters.
— Ben Hubbard, New York Times

Khaled al-Asaad's moment of defiance against the barbaric bastards was an easy choice to include in our list, he is a true hero. The sheer amount of strength and bravery that it must've taken, for one man to hold out for a month, to defy torture and interrogation by ISIS, all to protect the ancient antiquities of our civilisation is astounding and selfless beyond apprehension.

Most fascinating news of 2015

New Horizons - Incredible images of a celestial body over 4.8 billion kilometres away

The amazing journey of a probe made by the talented folks at NASA to the far end of our solar system took nine and a half years and 3bn miles (4.8bn km). The significance of these images are not only impressive by ability but the successful mission of New Horizons meant humans, have now reached all of the original nine planets of our solar system. (Don't worry Neil DeGrasse Tyson, we know Pluto isn't a planet anymore.)

New Horizons stands as an outstanding display of our capabilities as a civilisation while offering great inspiration for many and paving the way for future endeavours into the cosmos. The mind-blowing calculations and engineering that was required to make such a thing possible is truly an extraordinary display of human ingenuity. I leave you with this quote which sums up the absolute inconceivable calculations that must have been required by the New Horizon's project. 

Because the observations are all run on an automated command sequence, New Horizons had to fly a perfect path past Pluto, and with perfect timing - otherwise its cameras would have shot empty sky where the dwarf or its moons were expected to be. This necessitated aiming New Horizons at a “keyhole” in space just 100km by 150km (60miles by 90 miles), and arriving at that location within a set margin of 100 seconds. All this was achieved after a multi-billion-km flight across the Solar System lasting nine and a half years.
— Alan Stern, principal investigator of the New Horizons mission

Akon Lighting Africa - Bringing power to 600 million Africans 

American rapper & songwriter Akon seeks to provide an incredible response to Africa’s energy crisis and lay the foundations for future development. Launched in February 2014 by Akon, leader Thione Niang and entrepreneur Samba Bathily, this capable initiative aims to develop an innovative solar-powered solution that will provide African villages with access to a clean and affordable source of electricity. This year has witnessed the mission gaining excellent momentum and truly changing the lives of many people. 

The Akon Lighting Africa project has meant that a large number of households, villages, community houses, schools and health centres located in rural areas have been connected to electricity for the first time ever. Check out the astounding progress the mission achieved this year here: Timeline - Akon Lighting Africa

It really reinforced solidarity and social bonds.
Before solar panels, everyone used to go back
home at 7.00 P.M., now we can gather and chat
— Father, Olosho-Oibor, Kenya

From left to right: Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, President Obama and Anthony Sadler

From left to right: Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, President Obama and Anthony Sadler

France train shooting - The men that foiled a determined gunman

Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler are 3 friends who grew up together in California, USA. On the 21st of August this year, the trio had been snoozing in their first-class seats on a Thalys train in France on its way to Paris from Amsterdam. 

Unbeknown to them, A man armed with an AKM assault rifle, pistol, a box cutter and a bottle of petrol had entered the train with bad intentions. The armed gunman firstly bumped into a 28 year frenchman, known only to the public as "Damien A. The incident began with Damien making a swift effort to disarm the gunman but fell to the floor in the confrontation. Next up on the list of badass guys who are attempting to stop this madman was Frenchman, 51-year-old Mark Moogalian. He immediately got stuck into the clash and attempted to grab the rifle from the gunman, who then drew an automatic 9mm Luger pistol. Moogalian took a bullet through the back of the neck; went down, and proceeded to play dead.

Our American trio situated in 1st class are now fully awake as a result of the ongoing conflict on the train. When they look up, they witness a shirtless man coming into their carriage with an assault rifle at the ready. 

Skarlatos yelled “Get him!” after which “Spencer immediately gets up to charge the guy, followed by Alek, then myself
— Anthony Sadler, speaking to CNN

Spencer Stone (Airman First Class of the USAF) was the first of the trio to fight the gunman head-on and was slashed multiple times in the resulting skirmish. Stone sustained injuries to the hand, head, and neck. Stone proceeded to put the gunman in a chokehold, holding on even while the gunman was cutting him up with a box cutter. Alek Skarlatos then seized the rifle and proceeded to beat the gunman in the the head with its muzzle until he went unconscious.

A British passenger and a French train driver also came to help at this point to hold the gunman down. They used a T-shirt to tie the gunman's arms behind his back. With the gunman down, our story continues with the dynamic team of heroes helping the wounded. Spencer Stone (Who is also a Medic) now found himself examining the train and spotted Moogalian losing substantial blood as a result of the gunshot wound. 

Injured himself, Stone initially wrapped his shirt around Moogalian's neck wound. However, he realised it was not going to be enough to stop the heavy bleeding. Instead, he stuck two of his fingers into Moogalian's wound and pushed down on what he thought was an artery, which stopped the bleeding.

The actions of the aforementioned people in this act of terror resulted in an inconceivable 0 deaths on a busy train, which was carrying 554 passengers at the time. These men truly performed a heroic display which undoubtedly saved the lives of many that day.  

The founder of Capable Men. 

Currently operating personal projects while he simultaneously attempts to develop the Capable Men platform. John served five years in the British army, with a tour of duty in Afghanistan before eventually departing the forces to begin a career in the private security sector.

John attended several private protection courses dealing with security strategy, close-quarters combat training, firearms and advanced driving. This new profession took him worldwide Including the protection of government assets in South America, VIP tasks on the Côte d'Azur and security work within the French Alps.

His interests include global affairs, philosophy, hiking, sports and fitness.