Vigilance:The Antidote to Terrorism's Bubonic Plague
VIGILANCE--THE ANTIDOTE TO TERRORISM'S BUBONIC PLAGUE:  How can you inoculate your children and loved ones from Terrorism's Bubonic Plague?   What can you do to stop the spread of Terrorism's disease of mind and body?   Learn to vaccinate yourself and your family from Terrorism.  Read this powerful story on how to neutralize Terrorism's Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.


Friday--November 8
, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 422
Vigilance: The Antidote to Terrorism's Bubonic Plague

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

       GROUND ZERO, New York City, Nov. 8 --The bubonic plague of Terrorism is attacking New York City.  And, there is an antidote.

Bubonic Plague responsible for the deaths of one of three people in the 14th century

     The first reported case of bubonic plague in more than 100 years hit the headlines in New York City a few days ago.  A couple vacationing here from New Mexico went to Beth Israel Hospital complaining of flu-like symptoms.   The 53-year-old man and 47-year-old woman were put into isolation when doctors identified their ailment as the bubonic plague, a disease that wiped out one-third of Europe in the 14th Century.

      The plague is still on the short list of Terrorist biochemical weapons.   Not too many years ago the Japanese in World War II dropped plague infected fleas on the Chinese, in an attempt to wipe out their enemies.
        Today, the plague isn't the same threat it was centuries ago.   With the advent of antibiotics in 1940, the bacteria-based disease can be treated if it is caught early enough.  Streptomycin is the drug of choice for treatment.  The stricken are bitten by a rodent flea infected with the bacteria Yersinia pestis  or by handling an infected animal.  -  The disease spreads to the lymph nodes which become hot, swollen, tender and hemorrhagic giving rise to the characteristic black buboes.  Bubonic plague is not contagious.  It's sister, a pneumonia-based plague is.   If one catches the latter, a sneeze can transmit it.  

Plague cycle

         While health officials are downplaying the danger of the recent case in New York City, the aftershocks of its presence signals another dimension of Terrorism--the fear of some insidious disease being unleashed upon the millions of people jammed into close quarters on Manhattan Island, home to the tenth most crowded city in the world.
          The bubonic plague scare screams Sirens of Vigilance to the ears of mothers, fathers, grandparents and loved ones of children who are constantly playing in the sand at the thousands of New York City's playgrounds where an infested rat may have scampered at night, or petting a family dog or cat that is allowed to go outside and may have been targeted by a rat host.    Bubonic plague stirs to life the dark shadows of Terrorism's Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.  The name Black Death (from dried blood under the skin turning black) invokes intense irrational fear.  It is a reminder  to everyone in this metropolis of more than eight million that the never-ending threat of Terrorism can appear in a flash, in new and different disguises.

The Norway Rat - introduced in the 1700's - most common  of  the 28 million rat population in NYC

          Fortunately, the couple from New Mexico brought the disease with them.  They were vacationing here.  Forty-eight hours after their arrival they became ill.   Less than three dozen cases of the plague are reported in the U.S. annually, and New Mexico and the Southwest appears to be the epicenter of bubonic plague infection.
        But that isn't much solace to a New Yorker, or, for any parent or citizen.
        A case of bubonic plague has the same impact on many as a suicide bomber, or the sniper in Maryland who drove the entire nation into a state of Fear and Intimidation.  Terrorism is a plague.  It is spread by the fleas of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.

Flea: Xonopsylla cheopsis

         Terrorism feeds on threatening one's security.  When individual insecurity is multiplied, it becomes a societal plague. It grows as the paranoia of an individual, family, neighborhood, community becomes infected by the Fear of the unknown, the Intimidation of the unexpected, and the Complacency of feeling powerless to "make a difference."
         Terrorism is like the scarecrow in the farmer's field--while it often doesn't do anything--its presence warns of the possibility that stick figure looming over the stalks can come to life and wreak havoc on the crows.
         Terrorism is such a scarecrow.  Currently, it is squatting on it haunches waiting to spring out the shadows.   Every America knows it, or is exposed to it.   We hear the threats of its potential harm to us daily, spoken from the lips of our President, in reports from the CIA, FBI and Homeland Security Department. By all accounts, Terrorism is about ready to leap out of the darkness and  grab your children, grandchildren and loved ones.  Extending the threats, it's about to attack your home.   Home Security warns it may be living in clandestine harmony in your neighborhood, selecting its targets as you sleep, work and play.  It is like infected fleas, pervasive and elemental, biting all the tender skin it can.
        In summary, Americans are being conditioned they are in the crosshairs of Terrorist sniper scopes.   Going to the store or gas station, to Disneyland, or a movie, or just taking a drive--is the same as walking into a potential mine field--anything can happen.. A bomb can explode.  A sniper's bullet can pierce the windshield.   A "dirty nuclear bomb" can explode and foul the atmosphere with radiation.

      Terrorism has done a wonderful job of making the skin crawl on the back of America's neck, especially when the impotency of law enforcement to find Terrorists in long-established cells continues to dominate the headlines.    Our inability to find Osama bin Laden is but one example, and the reluctance of the U.N. to support America's drive to quash Terrorism in Iraq is another.
       Furthering the Fear of Terrorism is a new word--"trigger events."   Trigger events are situations that might "trigger" retaliation against the United State by Terrorist groups.  One "trigger event" being flagged in the headlines  is the scheduled execution on November 14 of Aimal Khan Kasi, a Pakistani convicted of killing two employees of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1993.
       In a plea to Muslims not to retaliate or seek retribution for his death, Mr. Kasi told the press from death row that "I'm against attacks on civilian Americans."    While he was against the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, he supported the one on the Pentagon.  He said military targets are justified, while civilian attacks are not.

       The bubonic plague's appearance in New York City is yet another trigger of Terrorism.   It makes one wonder what will  be next?   What threat will pop up to make us all dive for cover?  What threat will make us clutch our children and scurry back to our homes, lock the door, and wait in Fear and Intimidation for the dark clouds of Terrorism to pass?

        I propose we are suffering the Bubonic Plague of Terrorism.  The Fleas of Terrorism have bitten us, and injected into our society the constant threat of the disease exploding in our systems at any time.   In a sense, we are all carriers of the Bubonic Plague of Terrorism.  That's the bad news.
        The "good news" is there is an antidote.
        It's called the Pledge of Vigilance.
        Since the disease of Terrorism is based on our Fears, Intimidations and Complacencies about the next appearance of a Terror Act, we need to inoculate our thinking against those forces that make us shudder and shrink from life.   Our paranoia is a symbol of our weakness, a signpost of our national vulnerability.  It suggests we are powerless to fight Terrorism as individuals, and that we are sheep waiting to be slaughtered, maimed or branded by Terrorism's Scarlet "T."

       This kind of attitude is called "defensive thinking."   In Vigilant terms, it is "Complacent Thinking."     It broadcasts to our youth that we, the parents of our society, are helpless to protect our offspring.  Children have radar.  They sense our disquiet.  They feel the  rigor of our powerlessness.   We can infect them with the Bubonic Plague of Terrorism through our silence, through our Complacency just as though we were an infected flea biting them.  We must correct "defensive thinking" immediately.
        "Offensive Thinking" is the antidote to the Bubonic Plague of Terrorism.   It is the serum used to inoculate children from the fallout of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency. 
        The Pledge of Vigilance is that antidote.   It contains antibodies of Courage that suffocate the Fear, and Conviction that neutralizes the impact of Intimidation on a parent or loved one.  And most importantly, it offers a vaccination against Complacency--that sense of powerlessness and futility--by offering a person the choice to take Right Actions against Terrorism's debilitating disease.
        A parent or loved one who feels  Fear, Intimidation and Complacency attacking them when they read a headline, or hear on a news show the latest Terrorist threat, can drive away those feelings by calling upon the Sentinels of Vigilance for strength.   One can say, "STOP TERRORIST  THOUGHT!   ENTER VIGILANT THOUGHT!" 
        To combat the psychology of Terrorism, a parent must muster the Courage, Conviction and take the Right Actions.  This teaches a child how not to be Fearful of the unknown, how not to be Intimidated by the shadows of life, and how not to be Complacent and feel powerless in a world laced with constant threats of Terror..  The only true method for such teaching is role modeling. 

      It is a parent's duty to face Terrorism.   And, to realize a child is not immune to its infectious bite.
       Children hear everything--the news on television, the gossip at the playground, the conversations at school, the discussions parents have.   They need ways to sort out the threats.
       One way is to teach them the power of Courage, Conviction and Right Actions.   A parent who plays with his or her children will find a thousand ways to show the child that the "boogeyman" can always be beaten by "the rescue hero."   Heroes are those who stand up to danger, who deny its threatening power.  Playing games whose theme is "good guy over bad guy," furthers the idea of Vigilance in a child.
       It also is a conduit for a parent to learn what is going on in a child's mind.   Children's fantasies are their future realities.   Playing games with children were the goal is to teach Courage, Conviction and Right Action over Fear, Intimidation and Complacency is a great training ground for Vigilance.  

        Older children can be trained in similar ways.   If they are old enough to read and understand, a parent or grandparent can send them a Pledge of Vigilance, and ask them to think about using its Principles of Vigilance in their daily lives.   They can remind the youth that life is full of Terrors, and to overcome them, one must have tools and systems to counter them.   Asking a child to tell you his or her Fears, Intimidations and Complacencies is a start.  But a better one is for you to tell the child what yours are, and how you use Courage, Conviction and Right Action to overcome them.  Once you drop your defenses, the child will drop his or hers.   Then you can enjoy a communion, and the inoculation process has commenced.
        I urge all readers to take the Pledge of Vigilance.  

       Consider it your antidote to the Bubonic Plague of Terrorism.   If you learn to subscribe to the Principles of Vigil lance, and pass those on to your children and loved ones through deep, emotional communication, you will create a Shield of Vigilance around your child, grandchild or loved one that will withstand any Terrorist's attempt to infect them with Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
        It will also be your inoculation against Terrorism's Bubonic Plague.
        Take the Pledge today, and pass it on to your loved ones.  Vaccinate them against Terrorism.
        Semper Vigilantes--Always Vigilant.



Nov. 7--Escape From Terrorism's Gallows

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