It was the first day of school for children in the southern Russian town of Beslan. As children and their parents arrived, more than 30 armed terrorists stormed the area and forced more than 1,000 defenseless children and parents into the gym. They were held captive inside the stifling hot building, with no food or water, for 62 hours before Russian soldiers stormed the school. The terrorists set off bombs and as the madness ensued, the roof collapsed, killing hundreds.
Kim Murphy and Sergei Loiko of the Los Angeles Times jumped on the story immediately.
Kim: The entire town seemed to have been taken hostage. … Everyone was waiting. Everyone was agonizing. Everybody was just hoping that there was a way out of this situation. And they waited there day and night.
Oprah: What was going on in the hearts and minds of the Russian people?
Sergei: Unfortunately, [they] have grown accustomed to living in the atmosphere of constant terrorist threats… But this time—this time it's a horrible tragedy.