"All the news that's fit to print about fighting Terrorism with Vigilance!"


July 26, 2004

STORY SUMMARY: So what do we do when we face a one-ounce Terrorist in our home, skulking about at will, invading our privacy, threatening the safety and security of our peaceful abode? We scream! We panic! And we learn that Complacency is our worst enemy.


GROUND ZERO, NEW YORK, New York, July 26, 2004--One wouldn't think a tiny mouse could become a vicious Terrorist running from one "spider hole" to another, but that's exactly the case, at least in our apartment.

We've been invaded by a furry little rodent with a will to live that is stronger than any trap or the ingenuity of those with "mouse phobia." My wife and younger daughter are mouse screamers. When they see the little rodent's gray body and long tail scooting along the baseboards, loud screeches wail from some primordial ooze of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, as though they had looked directly upon the face of the Beast of Terror.My wife and daughter are terrorized by a tiny mouse

The irony of their fear or phobia is that both are strong women. My wife comes from strong Germanic stock and has faced many forms of terror in her life, including three different types of cancer. To anyone looking in, they would say she is a strong woman, fearful of nothing.

Then there is our younger daughter. She is fearless too about many things--especially life and death. She works as a federal special agent, packs two 9mm Glocks, and spends most of her time hunting down the "bad guy" in the most dangerous of places. Many times she has looked down the barrel of her weapon at someone who would just as soon shoot her as go to jail.

But, when it comes to mice--ah--that's another story.

All the resources of Courage, Conviction and Right Action--the tools of Vigilance--crumble when the beady eyes of a mouse or rat stare their way, or when, out of the corner of their vision, they see the streaking bodies of the rodent shoveling his or her nose along the floor as though traveling a free highway filled with goodies that hide behind the stove, near the refrigerator, or behind the cabinets.

Such a scene happened just night.

Below our apartment a major renovation project is underway. A tenant who lived there for many years died, and the apartment is being gutted. That means the home for any creatures who took up nesting space one flight below is gone, and the eviction for the cockroaches and rodents who once called the "older people's" apartment "home" have been in search of new digs.

Our apartment has been chosen.Mouse (or mice?) escaping prosecution for illegal entry and mouse squatting

These mice are not stupid. Despite the idea of putting cheese in a trap and catching one because it blunders into the trap, the mice below are of the higher intelligence echelon. They eat the cheese, snap the trap, but escape prosecution for their crimes of illegal entry and mouse squatting.

This morning I awoke to check the trap. It was set on top of the stove because the mouse was discovered by my wife hiding under the burners of our gas stove. She was moving something on the stove while talking to our mouse-phobic daughter when she let out a horrid scream--as though she had just seen some monster at the window.

It was only the mouse, obviously afflicted with a taste for grease and warmth. I don't think I've known a mouse to live inside a gas stove, but then these are New York City mice, with endless generations of genetic information bred into them regarding how to avoid capture and traps.

The skill of avoiding capture for a mouse is akin to that of Osama bin Laden. Terrorists have a way of hiding and avoiding all conventions of modern tracking.

Take Teddy Roosevelt, for example. He was born a few blocks from where we live in 1858 and is renowned as one of the great hunters of our time, as well as a great leader. He became our 36th President after the assassination of President McKinley, the youngest President in history at age 43. He served from 1901 until 1909 and won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to bring resolution to warring nations.Teddy Roosevelt's philosophy of "Walk softly and carry a big stick" might have come from his attempts to eliminate mice in NYC

But, he was befuddled by mice. The great hunter faced the same challenges that modern 21st Century New Yorkers find perplexing--how to destroy a vermin living in your residence! His philosophy: "Walk softly and carry a big stick" may have come from his attempts to stalk and eliminate mice in his New York home, and then was used to tell the world that America wouldn't put up with any Terrorism.

Our current President has adapted that statement: "Walk loudly and carry a giant stick!" But does that scare a mouse? Not hardly.

A mouse weighs about a half to a full ounce. But it packs the punch of sarin gas in the hearts of those who fear it, such as my wife and gun-toting, criminal-hunting daughter.

And, these New York mice are strong and ferocious. Just the other morning I awoke and went into the kitchen to find a six-pack of Sprite scattered in the middle of the floor. Next to it was a glue trap, one of those sticky pieces of paper designed to snare a mouse. Gingerly, I lifted up the glue trap thinking that stuck under it would be the mouse. But no--no mouse. There were pieces of mouse hair over the glue trap where it had fought to escape, dragging itself and the six-pack of Sprite that sits on the floor near the refrigerator, into the middle of the kitchen.

I was amazed at the power of "escape." Here, this little terrorist was not to be caught. He or she was much smarter than we, the humans who think we can protect ourselves from the invasion of a cockroach or a rodent, or, for that matter, a terrorist bent on turning us all (especially my wife and daughter) into quivering chunks of Jell-O.

But the event did point up a problem. The problem is that I got Complacent about the mice. Instead of setting traps all the time to ward off a potential invasion, I thought our home was "mouse safe." Little did I know the Beast of Mouse Terror was lurking just an apartment below, waiting to camp out in our home when the one below was gutted.

Homeland Mouse Security, just as Homeland Vigilance Security, cannot be left in the hands of others. Every couple of weeks we have an exterminator come and he sets traps. But, if you miss him, you go maybe four or six weeks, or even longer if he comes and you're not there to let him in.

In the interim, the mice play while the exterminator is away. And that's where I fell on my face. I am supposed to be a Terror Hunter, but instead, I became a victim of Complacency. I abdicated the right of Sentinel of Vigilance to the mouse hunter, as we all seem to be doing when we turn the safety of our family, our neighborhood, our community, state and nation over to Homeland Security.

Terrorism is fought at home, by the people who live in the home. I forgot that in relation to the mouse. If I had my wits about me, I would have taken the Pledge of Mouse Vigilance, recognizing that if I didn't protect our home from mice invasion, that Fear, Intimidation and Complacency would slip through the cracks.

Well, it did, in the form a furry little body with a long tail and a clam shovel shaped nose.

So what lesson have I learned?Terrorism  takes the form of even a mouse

First, Terrorism continues to take many forms--even that of a mouse. Secondly, the terrorists are smart. They live in the cracks of society. Third, to ward off Mouse Terrorism I need to be offensive rather than defensive. Now, I spend my time not hunting down corporate terrorists, or seeking out Family Terrorism, but instead, chasing a one-ounce mouse around, trying to outwit it. Ha, good luck, Lone Ranger.

The bigger lesson of course is about personal duty and responsibility to Vigilance. The mouse incident is not so much about a mouse as it is about what happens when I let down my guard and allow the walls of the castle to crack. When I stop being Vigilant automatically I am subject to Terrorism.

We can all stand up to Terrorism in our lives as long as we are offensive and not defensive. If we think Vigilance we think in terms of protecting ourselves from Fear, Intimidation and Complacency--whether it involves a mouse or emotional and physical Terrorism.

The key to staying alert is to take the Pledge of Vigilance and apply it to our many issues in life--our family, our work, our relationships with others, our finances and our commitment to taking charge of our own lives, and teaching our children and loved ones to do the same.

I failed in relationship to the mouse. But now I am on track.

I even found a website full of "mouse phobia" information, including a test one can take to see what level of phobia one has. If you're interested, you can find it at this link: "Mouse Phobia" http://www.changethatsrightnow.com/problem_detail.asp?PhobiaID=1696&SDID=842

So, if you run into a mouse in your house or apartment, and you scream in Fear or Intimidation, remember, it's time to take the Pledge of Vigilance. Fight Terrorism at home. Even if the Terrorist weighs only one ounce.

Go To July 25 Story-- Lack Of Imagination Flaw In 9-11 Report

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