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



OVERVIEW: Just when you think the water's safe...the sharks return. Last night I awoke in a horrible scream. Terror raged through my mind and hurled from lips as I bolted upright, spewing out the Beast of Terror within. Why? I do not know. That's the scary part.

GROUND ZERO PLUS 1082 DAYS--New York, NY, Thursday, August 26, 2004--Waking in the middle of the night to hear yourself scream isn't a pleasant experience--especially if you are an alleged Terror Hunter as I proclaim myself to be.

But that's what happened last night.

I couldn't constrain the Beast Within and screamed into the night
II couldn't constrain the Beast Within and screamed into the night the night

In the middle of the night I felt the suffocating Fear of the Beast Within. I cannot recall the psyche surrounding the prelude to the scream. That part is a total blank. All I remember is the scream, a guttural, primal force rising out of my guts and blasting into the air.

It was a slow scream as I remember, roiling up from deep within some well of human pain, the unraveling of some knot of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency that one tries to stuff, hide and deceive the world into thinking we fragile human beings can control the power of the Beast Within.

Perhaps we can in our waking hours constrain the Beast so that we can coexist in a somewhat peaceful state. But when we sleep the Beast roams within the dark crevices of our mind, scratching and sniffing about in search of some thought, memory or emotional pustule he can pierce with his fangs and claws, infecting us with his venom.

Last night the Beast landed on such a spot within my psyche. My scream was his roar, the evidence of his presence within me, skulking, seeking, finding and ravaging some vulnerable part of me with such ferocity that I howled like a banshee in the nether land of unconsciousness.

My wife grabbed hold of me and settled me down, mothering me with words: "It's going to be okay. You're okay. It's all right."

I rested back on the pillow, an icy chill surging through me. I was under attack again. I work hard to build my defenses daily, to establish my own Homeland Security against the Beast of Terror by writing about his presence and those who overcome his attempts to force them into his servitude through Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.

I felt for a moment I had failed last night to protect myself. The child in me that counts on the man in me was victimized, not unlike the innocent youth who believes there are monsters in the closet and muffles his or her scream for fear the "monster" will know where he or she is at and come and eat them.

I am usually quiet in my terror - like the children who mufffle their screams so the Night Monster in the closet won't eat them
More often than not, I am quiet in my terror, like the children who muffle their screams so the monster in the closet won't eat them

I know there is a scared little boy inside me that hasn't yet matured and may never. Perhaps in all of us there is that same child, the one who never grows beyond the belief of bogeymen, who never quite reaches that state where he or she can flick on the lights of reality and cast forever the shadows of the unknown into oblivion.

Maybe that was the lesson I learned last night--that no matter how hard I try to expel the Beast of Terror, he is still there doing push-ups waiting for my arrogance to slip into Complacency so that he can burst through the walls of my feeble defenses and remind me that I am just as vulnerable as a five-year-old to the things that go "bump in the night."

The Terrorists who attacked the U.S. on September 11, 2001, reminded us all that our children aren't safe--the ones we have given life to and the ones that reside deep within our own selves.

Evidence of that truth for me was my scream.

It was so long. It seemed to last for eternity, crawling out of my viscera like a centipede until finally it erupted as a volcano might, hurling its molten lava throughout the bedroom, piercing the quiet of the night with such force as to awaken the deepest sleeper.

One might think that after such a scream there is relief, similar to the heaving process that makes one feel relieved in the aftermath.

That sensation did not occur for me.

I felt branded rather than relieved.

Perhaps the presence of The Beast Night Monster reminds me of the work yet to do
Perhaps the presence of The Beast Night Monster reminds me of the work yet to do

Inside, I was marked. The Beast was alive in me as cancer cells spin about in non-malignant form within me waiting for that precise moment to metastasize.

Maybe it was a reflection of "Rescue Me," the Denis Leary show I watched last night. There was this heavy scene about the difference of people who were at Ground Zero and those would-be's who claim to have PTSD simply by watching the events on television.

Maybe I was angry at those who deny my right to be in pain.

Maybe my pain is self imposed.


All I know for sure is that the Beast lives within me.

Perhaps the presence of the Beast is more good than bad
Perhaps the presence of the Beast is more good than bad

That is not a reason for me to surrender my Vigilance, or to stop my quest to have others become Sentinels of Vigilance and take the Pledge of Vigilance.

Perhaps the presence of the Beast is more good than bad, for it reminds me of the roads I have yet to travel, and the work I have yet to do.

If you have ever awakened screaming, you know the Beast. You know him on a personal level far beyond your ability to describe.

You know him as the child knows the shadows in the night that move about in such a manner as to make the child's skin crawl.

You should be first in line to become a Sentinel of Vigilance if you have ever screamed.

When your child screams, let it be a reminder to not let up on your Acts of Vigilance
When your child screams, let it be a reminder to not let up on your Acts of Vigilance

Then, when your child screams, you'll know it is a reminder to not let up on your Acts of Vigilance, for the Beast is somewhere stalking another child, and maybe something you can do or say will help that child become a Sentinel of Vigilance to ward off the Beast's attack.

Screaming isn't so bad. Not if we learn how to become more Vigilant as a result.



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