When a tree falls in a silent forest, can it be heard?   If not, did it really fall?   A rhetorical question?  Perhaps?   And, perhaps not.   Yesterday, two Terrorism Trees fell crashing to the forest floor--one was Henry Kissinger and the other Cardinal Law.   But did they really fall or were they toppled by the Sentinels of Vigilance?  And why?  You decide.


Sunday--December 15, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 459
The Felling Of Terrorist Trees In A Forest Of Vigilance

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZERO, New York City, Dec. 15-- One of the great philosophical questions posed, often at college pubs while suds are being consumed, is the question:  "If a tree falls in a forest and there is no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

     This perplexing question can drive listeners mad with answers that range from the simplistic, "Of course, stupid," to a mastication of philosophical questions about the existence of mankind and womankind or reality as a whole.   "If sound represents reality and there is none recorded, does it make reality contingent upon the receipt of it rather than its mere presence, as defined by man?"
        Dizzying, isn't it?
        For some bizarre reason, the tree felling image flashed through my mind as I stared at the headlines of yesterday's papers.  There, blazing on the front page, was the toppling of what I term "two Trees of Terrorism."   The question was, did anyone really hear them fall?   And, did their felling represent a true "sound" of Vigilance dominating Terrorism?   Or, were the sounds of the trees falling muffled by the Beast of Terror who likes to confuse us all and lull us into a State of Complacency so he can attack when we least expect the unexpected?
        The case at hand was the resignations of Henry Kissinger and Cardinal Bernard Law, both alleged Terrorists of various degrees.

Kissinger's defects of character are visible

          Kissinger, former Secretary of State and one of the mainsprings of the Vietnam War, threw in his towel and resigned his newly appointed post as head of the committee to investigate the events of Nine Eleven.
         Kissinger claimed he didn't want to disclose his private clients--the ones who pay him heaps of money for his advice on how to run their businesses and countries.   Some believe Kissinger's list includes counsel to those whom we might consider Terrorists, or Terrorist allies, or Terrorist buddy-buddies.   To have the pot calling the kettle black, they claimed, would be a travesty.
         Then there was Kissinger's reputation, long buried in the ashes of the Vietnam war debacle.   The media stirred those ashes and found old coals still burning.    After three decades of trying to shovel his mistakes under the rug, Kissinger's defects of character as a leader and a man of credible conditions became visible as perhaps including the face of the Beast of Terror--a selfish, self-centered opportunist who intellectualized his role and abused his power at the expense of tens of thousands of American lives and millions of Vietnamese ones.
        Not being a fan of Mr. Kissinger, and a personal witness to the horror and madness of what many called "American Quagmire Policy War" in Vietnam, I revolted when he was appointed to chair the Nine Eleven committee just as I might if Arnold Benedict had been raised from the dead to head up Homeland Security.    When his tree fell, it made a loud crash upon my ears.  There was no doubt a tree had fallen.

Cardinal Law meets with Pope John Paul II to tender his resignation

       On the same day, Cardinal Law, America's leading Catholic prelate, was pictured in Rome where his boss, the Pope, was pictured spiritually cutting off his head.    In a nutshell, Law was fired by his Holiness.  Law had mismanaged the Catholic scandal over child abuse by priests, including covering up many assignments of known pedophiliac priests to other parishes without notifying the parishioners.   He too was felled by his past.  I heard his tree fall too.
       I've been Terrorized by many "trees in the forest."
       Really, really, really Terrorized.
       When I was working my way through college I held a position on a survey crew in Green River, Oregon.  I worked for the U.S. Forestry Department as part of a crew that walked deep into the mountains of Oregon to survey logging roads.   When a contractor bid on timber in a section of towering Douglas Firs which grow upwards of 300 feet, the Forest Service is called to survey a road to access the timber.   Then the loggers build the road to Forest Service specifications, and after the loggers leave, the U.S. Forest Service maintains the road for public use.
       This meant we trekked deep into the forest, sometimes up to ten days at a time, tagging trees along creeks or ravines where a logging road would be carved out of the pristine forest.  We were like explorers, going where few had gone.   We lived like trappers, off the land and made our camp up each night as travelers in forests have for eons and eons, sleeping under the towering Douglas Firs where no humans had been for many many moons.
        But it wasn't without danger.
        While there were bears and mountain lions aplenty, and other creatures and vermin that would make any child's heart race with anticipation--including Henry Potter--our greatest of all enemies was a rotting tree--what is termed a deadfall.

Terror Trees

        Giant trees can stand while they are dead.
        Either a victim of some disease or having been struck by lightening, a massive 300 foot Douglas Fir can stand amidst a field of lush green trees with no life on its branches, kind of like a giant dead body snuggled into the midst of a the living--an arboreal vampire, if you will.
         When setting up camp for the night, you scour the terrain for signs of a standing dead tree--one of those giant Trees of Terror that time and circumstance has turned into a time bomb, a booby trap, an executioner's ax waiting to lop off heads.
         You try to set your camp far enough away from one of the Terror Trees in case it falls.   
          No one knows when a dead tree will fall.   But everyone who has ever worked or lived in the forest knows they all will.   While the tree may look strong on the outside even if it is naked of life, a prudent forester knows that inside the tree's core is rot.  The substance of the tree has been chewed away by time, and the massive weight of the branches above and bearing pressure will one day cause it to come crashing down.  You just hope it won't fall upon your head while you sleep.

Dead trees have the potential to terrorize anything in their paths

        While an average Douglas Fir may stand around 200 feet with a circumference of four to six feet, giant ones can rise up to 325 feet and bulge as thick around as ten to fifteen feet.   Many are hundreds of years old and the strength of the wood has been likened to "pillars of concrete."  When they fall, it is like the Twin Towers smashing down, taking everything around them with them, and, pulverizing anything they smash upon.
          (Incidentally, Oregon and Washington are the No. 1 and No. 4 growers of Christmas trees, respectively, and about 45 percent of those trees are Douglas firs, according to the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association. The states' Christmas tree crop in 2001 had a combined value of more than $208 million, according to the association's Web site. Scottish botanist David Douglas identified the tree in the 19th Century.  It was named after him.. He was sent by the Royal Horticultural Society to study the tree and its massive uses to build a civilized world.)
          At night you slept with one ear open.   You weren't listening for bears or hungry mountain lions, but instead for the creak and crack of a deadfall.   When one fell, the entire forest shuddered.  It sounded like a nuclear explosion for there would be a long series of giant groans and explosions, as though the tree were announcing to the world its final swan song.
          When I was at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001 and witnessed the crash of the Twin Towers, I was reminded of the sound of a gigantic crashing Douglas Fir in the night.   You could hear it coming.  It crashed down as though a great boulder was tossed from the Heavens by an angry god, smashing everything around it as millions of pounds of old, decaying wood that had stood for hundreds of years made its way downward toward the forest floor.
           Sometimes you just covered your head and hoped it wouldn't fall on you, or, one of the trees it smashed en route wouldn't domino upon your head.   In the dark, there was no place to run.   You sat it out, your heart beating, your toes curled, until the earth stopped shaking and the forest became silent again as the giant tree now became mulch for the forest.

The World Trade Center Forest of Terror

       Kissinger's and Law's felling was not unlike the deadfalls in the forest.    I heard them crashing down.  They represented the disease of the past, standing icons of a world that once bowed to power and let the decay of its roots go unattended.
           That was during the Age of Complacency when we allowed our forests of leaders to rule at the expense of our children.
           Today, the Teeth of Vigilance are sinking deeper into the Belly of Terrorism.   We are becoming less tolerant of allowing past "crimes against the children" to go unpunished, unforgotten.  The people, the Citizens of Vigilance, are rallying.   That's good.  It means Complacency is on the run--one of Terrorism's most seductive handmaidens.
           Kissinger was part of a team of political Terrorists who ruled America at the expense of many lives.   There is no doubt in my mind that he put his ego ahead of principle, and that he was more inclined to save his "face" than the future of the children's children's children as he manipulated policy to gormandize his reputation and power.

Kissinger received the Nobel Prize in 1973 and vigilantes protested

          The decay of his past flaws finally ripped out his roots.   Those who remember him as a self-serving, egotistical leader buttering his side of the bread at the expense of the hungry, didn't forget that his apple didn't fall far from the limbs of his rotting tree.   I'm sure he had no expectations that his past would vomit into his face, or that the crimes he committed three decades ago as a leader would haunt him as turbulently as they did when he was shockingly named as head of the Nine Eleven investigation.
           In my book, the Sentinels of Vigilance helped hack down his tree.   They knew that a guy like Kissinger would hide whatever trash he might find under as many political and self-serving rocks as he could to end up with what he wanted, not what was necessarily good for the future of the children.   His past credentials proved his unworthiness to be such a Vigilance Keeper before he was appointed.   He was a living deadfall.
          Cardinal Law falls into the same category.  
"Thank heaven," said David Clohessy, director of the national group Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. "I hope there will be thousands of Boston Catholics and hundreds of Boston survivors who will feel better as a result."
          The 71-year-old Cardinal was ordained a priest on May 21, 1961.  He was appointed Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Mo, Oct. 22, 1973 and appointed Archbishop of Boston, March 23, 1984.  In May, 1985, he was named Cardinal.

Cardinal Bernard Law answering questions on his cover-up of Terror

          Then, last year, news of cover ups of child sexual abuse by priests rocked the Catholic community.  At the center of the storm stood Cardinal Law's Douglas Fir--once the tallest and strongest of all--now, under attack for hiding and tacitly promoting child abuse by not taking affirmative action against known priests who endangered the Catholic children's forest.  The other day priests in his charge took to the streets to protest for his resignation along with the public.  
          His tree fell loudly, as noisily as that of Henry Kissinger.
          In both cases, the Parents of Vigilance stood strong.  They rose from the forest floor, tired of being doormats to political and religious abuse by men of power who try to use that power in ways that injure rather than secure the future.
          Both men had no business in leadership roles where the Children of Vigilance were at risk.   Both carried fungus in their roots, the kind that can infect all the saplings around them if they are exposed to it for too long.  It was the people who pushed their trees over. 

Tree roots are nurtured by the Sentinels of Vigilance

          I was glad they both fell.
          I was glad the world heard them fall.
          As a Terror Hunter, it makes me feel confident to know that the Citizens of Vigilance will rise up to cut away the deadfalls of Terrorism that threaten the forest.
          Dead trees like Henry Kissinger's or Cardinal Law's represent a clear and present danger that Complacency might overpower Right Action if it isn't addressed.    By putting in leaders, or keeping old ones, who are known "Terrorists of the Children" we further the corruption of Vigilance and feed the idea we "owe allegiance" to those who abused us.  This is the philosophy of people who deny the sound of a falling tree in a forest, who diminish their role as Sentinels of Vigilance and abdicate them to others whom they think are "vested with power" greater than their own.  There is no power of leadership greater than that of a parent or loved one, and no reason for standing up to abuse more meaningful than to protect the children and their children's children's children.

        Henry Kissinger was as much a child abuser by default as Cardinal Law.  He allowed the death and destruction of thousands at the expense of Vigilance.   He could have been a Voice of Vigilance but instead chose to be a consort to the Beast of Terror.
          History will record the sounds of his tree falling, as it will that of Cardinal Law.
          And even if there weren't anyone in the forest when they fell, I know the Sentinels of Vigilance would have heard them falling.
          The Sentinels are happy today.

The Forest of Vigilance

          The Forest of Vigilance is minus two threats to the children's children's children.   Now, there are many more to go, and all will be heard falling.  The Sentinels of Vigilance will assure us of that if we subscribe to the Vigilance Formula-- Courage over Fear, plus Conviction over Intimidation, plus Right Actions over Complacency equal Vigilance.
           If one has his or her Pledge of Vigilance signed and on the refrigerator, it will be a reminder to hear all the trees fall in the forest.   If the Pledge isn't there, it could mean one is deaf to Vigilance.   Listen for the trees to fall.  Take the Pledge today.


Majestic Douglas Firs are Sentinels of Vigilance

Dec. 14--No Room At The Inn Of Vigilance For The Beast Of Terror

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