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

Cliff McKenzie
   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 seeds.

    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 the government.
           Let's take the first and foremost fundamental right of a citizen--self protection.
           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 core.
           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 "mother-father protector."

           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 Security.
          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.   

Tom Ridge

         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 nation.
          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 more secure.
          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 "community protection."   

       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 either.
       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 the cockpit.
        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 from harm.   

From left, 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 are."

      Eight 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.

        Terrorism 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.
         Terrorism isn't 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 children?"
         The answer to that is not government.



Nov. 19--Castrating Terrorism

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