Article Overview:  The Lone Wolf Terrorist!  Who is he?  What does he think?  Is he the guy next door?  The girl next door?   What triggers the Lone Wolf Terrorist to turn from a model citizen into a Beast of Terror?  Is it the spark of war?  Find out.


Sunday--February 23, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 529
The Ugliest Side Of War:
Lone Wolf Terrorism

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZERO, New York City, Feb. 23--The FBI, CIA and Homeland Security are more concerned with a rash of "lone wolf" Terrorist attacks than a concerted assault by al-Qaeda should the U.S. invade Iraq.
       I tend to agree.  Nothing is more frightening than the "Lone Wolf Terrorist."  He or she is the person who acts without the consent of the group, is a fringe radical member or sympathizer with a cause taking it upon himself or herself to avenge or retaliate, or, in some cases, only needs an excuse to unleash his or her Beast of Terror.
      I've witnessed Lone Wolf Terrorists in actions.

Lone Wolf Terrorist prepared to unleash his Beast of Terror

      They are the ugliest part of any war.
      They twist and pervert war into a personal killing field or a stage upon which they can carve, torture, mutilate and deform all sense of humanity.
      In a recent FBI bulletin, the internal intelligence unit reported:  "Many lone extremists have no links to conventional terrorist groups.  In fact, FBI analysis suggests that psychological abnormalities, as much as devotion to an ideology, drive lone extremists to commit violent acts."

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III

      Robert S. Mueller III, the bureau director, cited the threat of lone extremists in testimony last week to the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services Committees.
      Recent "Lone Wolf Terrorists" (LWT) include the sniper attacks in Washington D.C. and the yet unsolved anthrax letters.   There was no organization behind these acts.   People with a twisted cause sought to unleash their venom on others.   There was no link or paper trail leading up to their acts, as might be found in an organized Terrorist cell.
      In July 2002 when Hesham Mohamed Ali Hadayet, an Egyptian immigrant, fatally shot people at El Al Airlines' ticket counter at Lost Angeles International Airport, it signaled the flavor of a LWT.   No links between the attacker and any Terrorist group has been found.
      Timothy J. McVeigh, executed for the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, plotted the bombing after a Michigan militant group distanced itself from him because "it became apparent that his views were too radical," stated the F.B.I. bulletin.
       Major Terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah have factions in the United States and pose a threat should the U.S. go to war.   However, the F.B.I. and other security organizations keep close tabs on their movements and may be able to stop or limit any damage they try to create.
       It is the unexpected and unsuspected, however, that worries security analysts.

 Los Angeles Watts riot August 1965

      It is the "avenging angel syndrome" that a certain individual may feel against the U.S.--whether he or she is a citizen or not (ala Tim McVeigh)--that triggers a thirst for blood and unleashes the Beast of Terror within.

       Riots are examples of LWT.   Television cameras show evidence of people looting as though all their animal instincts were forced to the surface by chaos, and, in some cases, crowds of normally civilized people turning into beasts as they pull innocent bystanders out of vehicles and begin kicking and clubbing them to death.   
        Years ago in the jungles of Vietnam I witnessed the Lone Wolf Terrorist come to life many times, in greater and lesser degrees.
        One of the first instances was in a small village we were sweeping through.   All the men had fled, fearful they would be taken prisoner.   The only people left were the older women.   A young Marine, perhaps 17 or 18, not yet burdened with a beard, asked an old Vietnamese woman for water.  He used the Vietnamese words: "Toy kaan nook".  

Hitler-Jugend in 1934

       We were taking a smoke break as the engineers ahead cleared the path of booby traps and mines.   It was sweltering.   Most of us lay down on the cool earth in the shade, resting our packs on the ground.   Williams, the young soldier who asked the woman for water, was next to me.  He was standing.  He was a stocky kid with shocking blonde hair, a light complexion and burning blue eyes.   I often thought of him as a Hitler Jugend (youth) throwback, for he was quiet and his gaze fierce and fixed as though he were seeking single-handedly  to win the war.   He spoke little with others and gave almost no information on himself, an uncommon trait for a teenage warrior for most them babble on endlessly.
       When the old wrinkled woman, probably less than five feet and no more than 80 pounds wet, brought him a bucket of water she drew from the well, Williams tipped it up and took a gulp.   Then he spat it in her face.
       "You're tying to poison me," he shouted.  "You old V.C. bitch.  You're trying to poison me."
       I glanced up.  He was virtually directly overhead.  He dropped the bucket and began to choke the old lady.  At first I and the others thought he was joking, but I could see the muscles on his forearms bulge and hear the gasps of the old woman.
      I leaped to my feet and grabbed Williams' forearms to break the hold.  "Let her go," I shouted.  But his arms were like iron bars.   No matter how hard I pried at them they only tightened.   He had the old woman off her feet.  Her face was turning blue.
      "Let her go!"  I screamed in his ear, my lips only an inch away.   His eyes were glazed, fixed hypnotically on watching the life drain from the woman's face, digging his thumbs deep into her fragile, weathered neck.
       I grabbed my rifle and lifted it up in a threatening gesture, the butt of the rifle stock aimed at the side of Williams' head.  "Let her go or I'll bash your head in!"
      He didn't blink. His eyes narrowed.  A smile cracked at the corners of his set mouth.
      I reared my rifle butt back and smashed it into Williams' skull as hard as I could.  The blow sent him reeling to the dirt, his fingers still clutching at the woman's throat. 

Old Vietnamese woman attacked by a Beast of Terror

     He was dazed enough we pried his fingers loose.   The woman gagged and gasped and scrambled away.    Williams muttered, "She was trying to poison me...poison me."
      Williams wasn't punished.   He was chided for going over the edge, and his behavior was chalked up to too much sun.   But  I knew differently.  So did the rest of us who knew him as little as we did.   Williams was a Lone Wolf Terrorist.
      He had a perverse thirst for killing.
      I ran across many others like Williams in my more than 100 different combat operations with various units.    I didn't stay with any one unit for long, and hop-scotched from one patrol or sweep to another, always looking for stories.    I got to see far more than most could imagine by having the fluidity I did to move from unit to unit.
      There were those who liked to shoot bodies in half.   They would come across a wounded or dead enemy and put their weapon on automatic, then let it rip until a portion of the body, arm, torso, head, was severed by the bullets.
       Others like to mutilate the dead bodies.
       There were still others who would kill anything that moved--women, children--those who were obviously without weapons.   One of the rules was to only fire at those with weapons so that the innocent villagers would not be slain with the Viet Cong.  But war triggered a bloodthirstiness in some, demanding that they "kill, kill, kill, kill."

Lone Wolf Terrorist in Vietnam

       Everyone knew these Lone Wolf Killers.
       They shied from them.
       War endorsed their behavior.   It gave them a platform upon which to display their perverse sense of power of death over life.    Some were garrulous about their "kills" and prattled on about how many they had "wasted," attempting to impress others that they were great gladiators.   But those of us who knew them were aware they often took credit for kills they didn't make, and would stand over a dead body and claim it was their mark, some even having their pictures taken as though they were great hunters with some prize trophy under the heel of their jungle boot.
        Then there were the quiet ones.   They seethed.   Inside, locked behind glassy eyes that expressed no humanity, boiled some infernal flames of hate and anger that they had learned to block and disguise.    They were cold humans.   They usually ate alone, said little, asked nothing of anyone.   They were ghosts of human beings, feeding on the rivers of blood and itching to engage the enemy so they could sate some inward desire to destroy.
        I'm sure they were all like Williams.   They all saw the enemy as seeking to kill them.   I'm sure they had mimeographed death warrants against all who wore black pajamas and smelled of fish oil and spoke in sing-song tones.
        When Timothy McVeigh planned to blow up the federal building, I'm sure he saw everyone inside it as part of the "government conspiracy."   The innocent women and children were just part of the "free fire zone," they were just "casualties of war."  Or, perhaps he just lumped them in as part of the "enemy camp," drawing an invisible line on the sidewalk so that those on one side were part of the "enemy."
        The Washington D.C. snipers shot randomly at people, killing women, men, black, white, shooting children--it didn't matter.   Death was the goal, victim demographics a non-concern.
        The Terrorists who flew their planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon obviously lumped all into one category, disregarding the innocent as they placed the target--"death to many"--in their cross-hairs.
         I suppose that's why I fear the Lone Wolf Terrorist the most of all the threats that face America when and if we attack Iraq. 
        We have over 300 million people in this nation, all cut from a wide and diverse cloth of humanity.   There are those walking around like Williams seething and boiling inside, constrained by some thin thread of civility to not burst out of their psychological hells and explode upon the masses.
       I'm sure a number of them are apolitical.   They are human time bombs waiting for the spark that ignites the madness within.   They only need some tinder to ignite.
       Chaos creates chaos.
       War is the ultimate chaos of humanity.

War is a sanction for killing

        It is a sanction for killing.
       To the twisted mind, it waves the red flag before the eyes of the Beast of Terror. It awakens inside those percolating psychopaths the authority to kill, to maim, to murder.
       I'm sure there are many anti-American personalities who will see the war in Iraq as an assault of Big Bully America upon the oppressed citizens of the Middle East.
       I'm sure there are many walking around who see every American as their enemy, and who secretly and quietly applaud every death of an American as a symbol of justice for the crimes America has committed upon the world--crimes manufactured by convoluted thinking, but a deep-seated hatred toward everything the West and the United States represents.
       These fringe LWTs are not part of any organized group.   They are those who may think America and Israel are acting in concert to rule the Middle East, or those who despise the incursion of Western influence into native lands.
      Equally, there are those who are just angry at the world in general.   They are the Tim McVeighs, the snipers in Washington D.C.  They are the Children of the Beast of Terror.
       Their presence in this impending war is another reminder to me of the importance of Vigilance.  
       Somewhere along the line these Lone Wolf Terrorists were fed a steady diet of Terrorism.   They were not taught Vigilance.  They were not nurtured by Parents of Vigilance who taught them the power of Courage over Fear, or the impact of Conviction in the face of Intimidation, or, most importantly, the primary purpose of human existence--to do what is right for the future of the Children's Children's Children of all lands, of all kinds and shapes.
        Had these Lone Wolf Terrorists been brought up with the Shield of Vigilance and taught to use the Sword of Vigilance to ward off Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, they would respect not demean life.  They would not hate themselves and others, or be subject to the sparks of war as an excuse to unleash their Beast of Terror upon others.
        Human beings retreat to the safest and most secure place possible in the absence of good training.  They retreat to survival.  And, for the twisted, survival means the extermination of those whom they feel are "out to get them."
        In the most perverse cases, that's everyone.
        I know.
        I've been in "free fire zones" where the rule was, "if it moved, kill it.  Don't think, just kill it."
        At that moment, all humanity blanks one's mind.  Only when you walk through the mangled bodies and see the victims' faces and note that many did not have weapons, and that some are women and children, do you sit down and cry.  But then it's far too late.  Your Beast of Terror has done his deed.  He licks his chops while you shed your tears, tears that can never wash the blood of Terrorism away.
        I fear that such a scene might replay itself in America once war is waged in Iraq.

We must retrain the "LWTs" in the art of Vigilance

      I fear some twisted soul might don his or her killing gear after the first bomb or bullet is fired, and stalk the community in search of a "free fire zone," feeling compelled to act against a society that he or she feels has held him or her prisoner to civilization, and now that war is unleashed, the gates of civilization are lowered.   The Beast of Terror is now authorized to roam free.
        But I also have the belief that if these people who are our Lone Wolf Terrorist powder kegs had been trained under the Principles of Vigilance, they could stow the Beast of Terror in a safe place.
        No matter how much the Beast of Terror might roar in their ears, they would hear instead the chanting of the Sentinels of Vigilance--"Do What's Right For the Children's Children's Children!  Do What's Right For the Children's Children's Children!"
        I believe the antidote for the Lone Wolf Terrorist is the Pledge of Vigilance, and living the Principles of Vigilance.

The antidote for a Lone Wolf Terrorist is Vigilance

        Unfortunately, I fear it is too late to unwind the twisted thinking of many.  But not too late to start training their children to think in Vigilant terms.
        If we do suffer from the Lone Wolf Terrorists, let it be a lesson that we need to promote the Pledge of Vigilance with great ferocity in the future.  That way, when and if another war occurs, we may not have to worry about the person we least suspect as our enemy.
       You can help insure tomorrow's security today.  If you haven't, take the Pledge of Vigilance and pass it on to everyone you meet.  You never know.  You could be passing it on to the next Tim McVeigh.





Feb 22.--When Cities Protest War, Shouldn't They Also Promote Vigilance?

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