Should the Patriot Act be altered to an Interim Law so it doesn't perpetuate the violation of children's Constitutional Rights?  Are we fighting Terrorism with Terrorism when we strip away our rights to privacy to quench our thirst to eliminate Terrorism?   If we do sacrifice Liberty to Paranoia, are we bankrupting the hope we can evolve?   Judge for yourself.


Monday--November 25, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 439
Terrorism & Paranoia

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

       GROUND ZERO, New York City, Nov. 25 --Nothing is more futile than the belief that Terrorism cannot be defeated.   Such thinking stems from the paranoia that once bitten, all dogs are beasts.

President Bush signing the Patriot Act

       In a sweeping vote swollen on the wave of paranoia, the U.S. passed the Patriot Act, and is now in the process of finalizing a bill that will allow the government to snoop into private citizens credit cards, phone calls and emails--fundamentally, allowing it to become George Orwell's Big Brother incarnate.
        The paranoia is that Terrorism will last forever.   That it will have no end.  That every shadow, every creak of the tree hides behind it some venomous serpent, ready to fang innocent passersby.   Paranoia turns the possibility of sunshine into constant gloom.   It transforms the earth into a huge minefield where no matter how carefully you try to stroll, you are apt to trigger something odious buried in earth's womb.
        The sad part is the Complacency we take as citizens in allowing the paranoia to be perpetuated.   We do not stand up for the "evolution of the human spirit."  We do not demand that such intrusive acts as spying and jumping to conclusions are knee jerk reactions to deeper, more fundamental problems about the fiber of our society, many of which are frayed and need either to be re-weaved or snipped off.

        We look at the effect of Terrorism not its cause, which lies within us not the Terrorists.
        Terrorists are errant children.  They are bullies.   They are immature, non-evolving creatures of victimization who refuse to climb out of the caves of their anguish, and seek to drag the rest of the world into their darkness.   Their tools are Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.   They cry victimization as the justification for their retaliation and the perpetuation of their paranoia that the Western World is trying to oppress them, that it is evil and must be struck down even at the expense of the innocent, the helpless, the women, the children.

Tree of Paranoia

        But when we fight Terrorism with Terrorism, and paranoia with paranoia, we become the enemy we call "enemy."  We become what we seek to be better than, for we employ the same tools as our enemy, and we suffer the same "victimization" they suffer, and seek the same result they seek, "retaliation."
         If we are to stand on higher moral ground than our enemy--Terrorism--we must seek to find weapons to fight Terrorism that are evolutions of human dignity, not retreats back into the caves of the Beast from whence Terrorism was born.
         Vigilance is such a tool.   In opposition to Terrorism's Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, Vigilance demands of its user to replace Fear with Courage, to overpower Intimidation with Conviction, and to take the Right Actions rather than wallow in the bog of Complacency--that sense of powerlessness over "evil."
          Vigilance goes a step further.   It's ultimate goal, its "effect," is to make the world a little better place for the children's children's children.   It forces leaders to think through paranoid-based decisions such as the Patriot Act and the bill about to be signed by President Bush and ask:  "While this might make our jobs easier today to snoop on our fellow citizens in search of Terrorists, does it injure the ultimate Constitutional Rights of our children, and their children's children?  It is a selfish, paranoid decision for the present, or a long-range benefit for future generations?"
           This kind of question requires great Courage, Conviction and ultimately, the Right Actions to the benefit of our evolution as a society.   But is it being asked?  And, more importantly, is it being answered?
           I fear not.
           Expediency and paranoia seem to rule the battle against Terrorism.   The implication seems to be that Terrorism is a "constant state" and that paranoia rules in such a fixed state, thereby authorizing the right of privacy to be sacrificed for the future as well as the present.
          Laws are easy to enact, and very difficult if not impossible to unwind.   Government has the ability to spin secure webs around the heart of them, making their elimination virtually impossible once they have wrapped their tentacles around the spine of the Constitution.
         That's why I believe such paranoid-based laws should be constructed on a self-destruct basis--Interim Laws--that require a time frame for their automatic expiration, much like a lease, and if the problem persists, a renewal of the Interim Law until the problem is erased.

          If we don't look at such intrusions on our rights to privacy in interim views, then we concede to the paranoia that we can never evolve.   We fall Complacent we are going to always be "the same,"--incorrigible, untrustworthy, violators of moral principles, seeking to victimize others.
          We cement the paranoia of Terrorism in our marrow.
          We become paranoia hunters, looking always for the dark side, seeking to raise the bones of the past dead up as our justification for perpetuating our moral demise, constantly reinforcing we are "victims" and will be "victimized" again and again.   We hover in the shadows of Terrorism waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the next World Trade Center to implode, for the next anthrax scare.
           We become dogs chasing the shadow of our tail.
          Emotionally, the paranoia seeps into our souls.  As we stop evolving through Vigilance, that is, stop believing that we can win the battle over Terrorism by changing how we react to it, Terrorism grows more cancerous within.   We turn our heads when new laws are passed, we stop standing up for our rights, we stop demanding that we won't be Terrorized by our own government and allow them to do what they want to perpetuate the paranoia.

Citizen of Terror

         We become Citizens of Terror, not Citizens of Vigilance.
          This morning I had such an occasion.  A person accused me of perpetuating past crimes, ones I was guilty of and had admitted to.   They were crimes of indiscretion, crimes of neglect, crimes of selfishness.   Because of my prior guilt, I was assumed currently guilty.  I was judged, prosecuted and found guilty based on the past, not the present.   I retaliated with anger, frustration and spite.   What bothered me the most was that the past cannot be buried by some, perhaps most, and that it lingers like a foul stench in the air suffocating any hope of human evolution, driving away the slim belief that human beings can crawl out of their Caves of Terror and walk in the Sunshine of Vigilance, even if that journey is only a fraction of an inch at a time.
          I am not alone in what happened this morning.   Human beings tend to Terrorize each other in a variety of ways.   A poor worker is slotted as a "poor worker" and even if that worker starts to improve his or her skills, the weight of prejudice of his or her past work bears harshly on his or her performance reports.  Others tend to be advanced because they have no "history" while the improving worker--however small the improvement--is passed by.  It makes the worker stop trying to improve. 

       A child who acts out in bad behavior, and then attempts to correct that bad behavior finds that the world still looks at him as a "bad child."   Attempts to reverse the opinions of others--teachers, parents, peers--often fail to achieve recognition for self evolution, and the child often retreats back to prior behaviors, sensing the futility of trying to improve is met with the "sins of the past," not the glees of the future.
         The Patriot Act and swift decisions to impinge on the Constitutional Rights of our children's evolution to become Citizens of Vigilance suppress that hope we, as a society, can rise above Terrorism fighting Terrorism.

       The paranoia of Terrorism holds us back, as it holds back a child trying to improve himself, or a worker seeking to overcome a unproductive reputation.

         The truth is that things are not constant.   They are in a state of flux.  They change daily, sometimes minute by minute.  A bad child can be good.  A good child can be bad.  A poor worker can be a good worker in some areas, and in others, bad.   Terrorism can exist one minute and go underground the next.   Vigilance can rise out of the Caves of Terror.   Hope can replace dismay.   Sunshine can lighten the darkness.  
       Flux, not perpetuation is the key to life's formula.  
       Yet governments and many people live in the belief that a law must be imposed to control behavior, and that the law is perpetual.   By making a law perpetual, we resign ourselves that the only solution to upholding it is issuing out indictments for breaking it.

       In other words, we become a society of paranoids, as Orwell sought to illustrate in Big Brother.  We deny the individual the right to evolve by suppressing his or her privacy, by Terrorizing all into thinking that moral evolution is not possible.

       But Interim Laws rather than Perpetual Laws, would change that perspective.
       An Interim Law recognizes the need for an immediate stop-gap solution to keep the dyke from bursting.   It's only a plug.   It also suggests that human beings can change, that the world is in a state of flux, and when that flux shifts, so the law should be removed to allow the sunshine to replace the gloom.

       This tells our children that they have the ability and right to make mistakes and overcome them.   And, that society encourages them to do so.
       Our bankruptcy laws are designed that way.   Years ago a person who fell deeply in debt--who committed a crime of financial indiscretion--was placed in debtor's prison, or sold as an indentured servant.   Today, one can file for bankruptcy and restart one's life in hopes of not making the same mistakes.   We absolve the "sins" and let the individual proceed onward toward an evolution of maturity from one of immaturity.
       We should apply this same thinking regarding Terrorism--whether it be emotional or physical.  We should make allowances for moral bankruptcy and the right of a person to rise above it.   Who is to say that Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein might one day regret their acts, and plead for mercy to the world's courts?
       Who is to say an abusive parent might change and become a loving one?
        Who is to say a law that strangles the rights of citizens should be allowed to perpetuate itself beyond the immediacy of the need?

Reach for the Sunshine of Vigilance

        If you are a Parent of Vigilance, a Citizen of Vigilance, don't let laws be passed that fan the flames of paranoia.   Demand they be Interim Laws, self expiring so they don't Terrorize the children in the future.







Nov. 24--The Terror Of Assault & Battery On Children's Ears

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