Can Big Government protect the children in a community from
Terrorism? Or, is that a community challenge? Is the growth of
Homeland Security an appeasement to quench our thirst for protection,
or a warning that we, the citizens of America have just abdicated to
government the protection of our children? Form your opinion as you
read how Homeland Security threatens the rights of the children's
children's children by breeding Complacency.
Wednesday--November 20, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 434
How Homeland Security Endangers A Child's Safety
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, Nov. 20 --
Yesterday's Senate vote of 90-9 in favor of the Homeland Security
Department reminds me of a Band Aid trying to stop the gushing blood of a
severed artery. It suggests that Terrorism can be stopped at the top of
the triangle, and ignores the triangle's base, where Terrorism plants it
Government's thirst is to make itself bigger and stronger. The
more it grows, the more power it assumes over the people, and the more
rights it must take from them to operate. The smaller the government,
the fewer rights it needs to take from the people, and the more
responsibility it puts on them to manage their own welfare.
The Homeland Security Department is another step toward
taking more rights away from the citizens and placing it in the hands of
Let's take the first and foremost fundamental right of a
In a democracy, there is an alleged "right of privacy" an
individual is granted under the franchise of Liberty. It means he or she
is responsible for his or her behavior, and, enjoys the privacy of
managing his or her life as part of that Bundle of Rights.
One of those "rights of privacy" is how the citizen chooses to
protect his or her family. This includes the right to own a gun or other
weapons, what kind of locks one puts on the doors to their home, or what
access is allowed by the parents to their children on the internet.
The citizen also has the right to join the local community
neighborhood watch system, and to participate in the community safety
programs, working with local law enforcement and emergency services to
insure the "neighborhood safety" is meeting "community standards."
If not satisfied, the citizen can appeal up the ranks to city,
state and national levels to legislate even more changes. Under this
formula, citizens control the size of government.
But the current shift is the opposite of this fundamental
democratic "homeland security" formula. The new plan calls for
government to dictate the security of the citizen. While appealing on
the outside, it is a dangerous infringement of citizen's rights in its
It creates a furthering sense of powerlessness by citizens to
protect themselves. When government assumes the role of
"father-protector," it robs the citizen of his or her duty to be
Homeland Security denudes the citizens of their fundamental
right to protect their own neighborhood, their own home, their city, their
state, their nation.
Back in history, democracy was exampled by the local militia,
now our local law enforcement, who kept the laws of the "community" in
tact. As federal government grew larger, local community law enforcement
was shadowed by federal law enforcement until today, the security of the
United States homeland is being vested in one government body--Homeland
The duty to protect the families of the nation has now been
extracted from the hands of 100 million households to a small body of men
and women at the top of the government pyramid called Homeland Security.
Under the bill just passed by the Senate, 22 signature agencies
will be folded under one tent. 177,000 employees will now have a new
boss--probably Tom Ridge who is expected to take the seat of the Cabinet
Member being created under the act. His job is to coordinate these
various intelligence and law enforcement agencies so a smooth flow of
information will pass and provide early warning systems of potential
Terrorist attacks or threats.
There's just one catch.
Two of the strongest intelligence and law enforcement arms of
federal government will stand outside the Homeland Security Department's
web of power--the CIA and FBI.
They will remain independent agencies.
So where does this leave the children?
Lost in the crowd, I believe.
If the true intention of Homeland Security is to heighten the
awareness and defense against Terrorism, then expanding government to
achieve this mission seems counterproductive.
Terrorism begins in a neighborhood. The target of Terrorism is
not at the national level, but at the local level. Terrorists slip into
communities, become part of them, make their bombs next door to families,
wave at them, sometimes work beside them. Then, when the trigger is
pulled by a cell leader, they act against the community, not the state or
We have unlimited experience with our own neighborhood
Terrorists, the rapists, murderers, drug dealers, robbers and gangs. The
international Terrorists are no different. They put the community at
risk just like the sniper in Maryland did, or the serial rapist, or the
child abuser who stalks the community.
There seems little difference between a suicide bomber from Iraq
blowing up people in a mall and a drive by shooter who kills innocent
by-standers. What is the difference?
Americans have slowly abdicated more and more civil rights to
government as the international Terrorists have become headline news.
Starting with the Patriot Act, and now the Homeland Security Department,
the fundamental duty for neighborhood and parental protection of their
homes and community is being sucked into the marrow of government.
The right to "snoop" has been dramatically increased, and the
ability of Big Brotherism Government has been exponentially expanded, all
under the thin and false disguise that government can protect citizens
better than citizens can protect citizens.
This signal should alarm parents, not make them feel safer or
If Homeland Security was a true solution to the security of the
United States, both the FBI and CIA would fall under its wings. But ask
yourself why they are not?
The two leading intelligence and law enforcement elements of
America's foreign and domestic security ducked the Homeland Security
Department's bureaucratic net. Why?
Because "big isn't better."
Not when it comes to both security and the rights of citizens.
Another example of "small is better" is the lesson we should be
learning from our enemy--the Terrorists themselves. Terrorism does not
promote a Homeland Terrorism Department. It avoids bigness. Terrorism
is structured in small, compact, self-governing cells. A small group of
people is given an assignment. They focus their attention on that
assignment. They have none or little contact with any other cell.
There is a reason for that. If they get involved in what others are
doing, they may become distracted from what they are doing. It is human
nature to want to tell someone else how to better do his or her job. So
the Terrorists put on blinders. Efficiently, they see only the target.
They work only toward accomplishing their mission and avoid all
distractions until it is complete.
The FBI and CIA know that the idea of "sharing" information
means also "sharing priorities." They know it means their mission will be
watered down, and more red tape and more critique will occur, slowing the
process between objective and target.
If a sniper were to shoot under the rules of a committee he
would never get off a shot. Someone would be telling him to adjust this
or adjust that, to wait just a little longer, to breathe a certain way, to
relax, to hurry up, until frazzled, he would miss his target.
Terrorism is successful because it is small, not big. It is
independent not dependent.
In Vietnam, the communists used cells in villages. Each person
had a simple, singular job. One person knew how all the parts fit
together, but the individuals didn't. Each person brought his or her
part and it was assembled into a whole. Communism won the war in
Vietnam because it was fought from a cellular point of view while America
fought from a committee point of view. We lost the Vietnam War to
bureaucracy, to bigness. David won over Goliath because he kept his
sling simple--one rock--one very sharp rock.
The average community in America is cellular in structure. The
average community has a population of 30,000. A mayor. A city council.
Schools. Fire. Police. Libraries. Hospitals. Churches. There are
about 10,000 households in the average community, and about 6,000
owner-occupied "family dwellings." There is an average of one business
per every thirty people, ranging from the shoe-shine stand to the grocery
and department stores. About a third of the community comprises
children, a third are citizens 55 years or older, and the balance range in
their twenties to mid fifties--the parents of the community.
Nationally, there are about 10,000 of these "cellular"
communities dotting the countryside, some absorbed into big cities, others
existing in outlying areas such as Two Boots, Montana. Here in New York
City I live in the East Village. It has its "community within a
community." We have our local police precinct, our fire engine
companies, our local stores, churches, community events. When I cross
14th Street I feel I am in another "world."
When we lived in Dana Point, California it was a small community
with Orange County, California. Not far away were Los Angeles and Long
Beach, and below was San Diego. Within these megalopolii were small
communities, carved out in "cellular formats" so that communication
between community members could reflect their respective missions, their
life styles, their goals.
The fundamental purpose of any "cellular community" is to protect
the children. When is all is said and done, the two groups who get the
most attention are the old and feeble, and the young and vulnerable.
This principle harkens back to the days of the "village" when the youthful
parents went into the woods or jungles and labored while the grandparents
took care of the children. Everyone in the village was a Sentinel of
Vigilance, capable of fighting to protect the children's rights. They did
not abdicate those rights up to some major tribal group of elders. In
fact, elders shied from taking on the responsibility of protecting the
children, knowing it was the duty of the parents, grandparents, uncles,
aunts, cousins, nephews and nieces, brothers and sisters to provide
This "cellular structure of Vigilance" that has historically ruled
the protection of any community seems to be ignored in the mad rush to
form the Homeland Security Department. There is an insidious and
frightening principle being proffered that these newly aligned agencies
under one roof will somehow protect our children better than before.
Unfortunately, the old way didn't work, and the new one won't
Terrorists must be laughing at our restructuring. They must be
clapping their hands and jumping for joy at the idea of sucking up more
funds from local communities to feed the growing Beast of Government. In
mythology, there was a watchdog named Argus who allegedly had a hundred
eyes and was hired by Zeus to watch over Zeus' mistress whom he turned
into a cow to avoid her being seen by Zeus' wife. Hermes snuck up on
Argus and began to play his flute and tell Argus all these stories until
all Argus' eyes fell asleep. Then he shooed Io the cow away.
Lots of eyes may not be able to see. I think we've created an
Argus with Homeland Security, forgetting that a sly Terrorist with a flute
can put him to sleep very easily.
We also forget that by government assuming the goal of Homeland
Security at the top of the pyramid, it suggests to parents, children and
grandchildren that they are now "safe" because of the organization of
government. Nothing could be more false.
Just for example, the world's toughest security force in the
world, Israel, just had an incident on a plane where a hijacker was
foiled. The Terrorist slipped through security with a knife and rushed
America has 30,000 flights a day. Anyone who has been through
airport security knows that it wouldn't take much to sneak something
through. If Israel missed a Terrorist, what can we expect?
When you boil the pot down to the bottom, Homeland Security as a
solution to Terrorism evaporates. What is left is what has always been
left--the cellular structure of the community.
I would have been ecstatic if the government had charged each
community in America, all 10,000 of them, to appoint a Homeland Sentinel
of Vigilance Committee comprising parents and businesses of each of the
10,000 towns and neighborhoods in America. Rather than trying to fight
Terrorism from the top down, this grass roots upward approach would seem
so much more effective.
What it would do is charge the community to be responsible for
what it is responsible for--Terror alerts within its own community. Their
single-minded goal would be to protect the children's children's children
Senators Phil Gramm, Republican of Texas; Fred Thompson, Republican of
Tennessee, Joseph I. Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut; and Zell Miller,
Democrat of Georgia- supporters of the new department
Such an approach would re-constitutionalize the duty of each
American citizen to be proactive in his or her democracy. It would demand
that the individual be more keen on assuming the Rights of Vigilance
rather than turning them over to government. It would snuff out the
community Complacency that results when Big Government puffs out it chest
and falsely proclaims: "I'm better at protecting your children than you
Senators voted against the Homeland Security Department bill. One
abstained. I was proud of the eight who stood up to their convictions
that big will not resolve the issue.
What will stop Terrorism is the Pledge of Vigilance.
When communities become
Communities of Vigilance, they form anti-Terrorism cells.
They fight the enemy at Ground Zero, not from the Presidential
jet flying at 36,000 feet, or behind some concrete barricade
on Pennsylvania Avenue.
is a street battle. It is fought by Parents of Vigilance,
Grandparents of Vigilance, Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Nephews and
Nieces of Vigilance. It is fought to keep our streets
safe from gangs who Terrorize, from rapists who Terrorize, from
drug dealers who Terrorize, from abusive parents who Terrorize,
and, also, from Terrorists who Terrorize.
new. It doesn't require a shift in government from smaller
to larger. It requires a shift in perspective from "who's
in charge of the safety and security of the children's children's
to that is not government.
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