Article Overview:   The Beast of Terror is like the sea, surging in and out against the shores of Vigilance, seeking to sweep them away, to rot the foundations of Vigilance, to undermine one's resolve to "Stand Up For Future Generations."   Find out how declivity and acclivity, the ups and downs of life, can help you build a Wall of Vigilance against Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.


Thursday--May 1, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 596
 The Declivity of Terrorism vs. Acclivity of Vigilance
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZER0, NEW YORK, NY--Terrorism lives.  It ebbs and floods throughout history, but like the tides, it is never still.  It is in a state of declivity or acclivity, and unless we are willing to accept its omnipotence in our lives and our children’s lives, and their Children’s Children’s Children’s lives, it can sweep us out to sea like an angry rip tide.
      As a wordsmith, I’m constantly amazed at the multitudinous ways to describe things.   In respect to Terrorism, two words leapt out of the dictionary to best illustrate the constant surge of Terrorism in our lives, and throughout history.   Those words are “declivity” and “acclivity.”

Declivity: "Devil's Slope" in Russia

       Declivity means a downward slope.   Its roots come from Latin with “de” referring  to “(away) from,” plus “clivis” for slope.   Its opposite is “acclivity,” or upward slope.
       As with all words, there is no place in between, no “level playing field.”   Terrorism is either on the rise or decline, but it doesn’t just stop.  It doesn’t go in and out of existence.  It cannot be expunged from life.

Acclivity is an upward slope=Terrorism on the rise

       In our rush to seek answers to removing Terrorism from our lives, we all would like to take an erase and eradicate the word and its meaning from both present and future times.   That would mean we would automatically erase the meaning of Terrorism, that we would also remove from existence Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, the elements of Terrorism.
      That’s not likely to happen.
      Like the tides, Terrorism is here to stay, but it can be controlled.
      Humans were once battered by the seas.   The tides surged, and angry waves tormented the shores along coastal cities, often flooding towns and devastating harbors.  So humans put their heads together and came up with a plan to control the wrath of Poseidon.
      We call the solution today, “seawalls.”

Our seawalls must be maintained

      Seawalls are structures placed as barriers against the heaving thrust of ocean waves.   They are composed of rocks embedded deep in the seafloor, stacked up like floors of a giant skyscraper that erupt above the surface to form a castle wall against the ocean’s Terror.
      Waves that once battered the shore, ripping away the sand and foundations for structures nestled near the water’s edge, were emasculated by the sea wall.   Giant sheets of water splayed skyward as they smashed against the rocks, unable to drive their force through the wall.   
       No longer were the people on the shoreline threatened.  No longer did they live in fear that one day a great storm might sweep their homes and livelihoods away, or flood their communities with such force that nothing but twigs, sand and rocky rubble were left.
       Instead of living in the Declivity of Terrorism, they now happily enjoyed the Acclivity of Vigilance.  They were on the upper slope, protected by the Sentinel of Vigilance Seawall who stood between them and the unexpected Terror of the sea.
      However, they could not become Complacent.
      Each pounding wave battering the wall loosened a rock here or there.   The endless surges of the tides gnawed at the sand around the seawall’s foundation.   Rain and wind pelted at the structure, aging it.
        If the humans became Complacent, there was a good chance the seawall might weaken.  The once great rocks standing guard against the tyrant of the sea might give way to the great power of the sea and the wall fall.   To avoid such destruction, humans stood Vigil over the wall, continually maintaining it, checking for weaknesses, shoring up any injury with more rocks and always aware that the sea was like a teetering rock poised on the tip of a needle, eager to fall at any time.
       Skiers understand this phenomena of nature.   They are constantly aware of the danger of an avalanche, which is nothing more than the declivity of millions of pounds of snow roaring down.   Like the sea, which may appear calm and peaceful one moment, the pristine beauty of the snowy mountain can change in a blink, turning into mountainous Terrorism to all those who live below, who roost in its shadow.

Vigilant residents are not swept away by the Terror of an Avalanche

       Over centuries, people who live in the Alps and other snow-laden parts of the world have learned to coexist in the shadow of nature’s Terrorism.   The Swiss and others who make their homes in avalanche areas carefully construct their homes in the shape of wedges, with the part of the structure facing the potential avalanche cut into shape of a “V.”    They dig deep foundations and build their homes with great logs, carefully selected for their ability to withstand terrible pressure.
        When nature’s anger is unleashed, and sides of mountains slip and rage downward in declivitous madness, their homes are braced like the prows of great ships to cut through the rush of snow.   The architecture, learned over centuries of survival, allows the resident’s homes to not be swept down the hill, and the thick heavy beams are so well built that all the stress and pressure of millions of pounds of snow slides off the surface, as though it were oiled.
          Such people live in the acclivity of Terrorism, for they know that Terrorism and Vigilance can coexist if one is ready for it, if one “expects the unexpected.”
         That brings us to the point.   Where are you regarding Terrorism?  Are you living in its “declivity” or “acclivity?”
         This is a vital question for anyone in today’s world since we all live near the Sea and Mountain of Terrorism.  At any moment Terrorism’s avalanche may descend upon us, or, its waves smash upon our shores.

Nine Eleven was an example of Terrorism's rage

        Nine Eleven was an example of Terrorism’s rage.   It came unexpectedly, out of the sky, falling upon thousands like locust.   For those of us who survived, it was a wake up call, a reminder that none of us is exempt from either Nature’s or Terrorism’s wrath, and, to alert us all that we have a duty and responsibility to protect ourselves and our children from the unexpected.
       Seawalls and Alps cabins are not built just for the present.   Their architects design them for at least three generations or more, to last essentially forever.    They took a page out of the Roman architects book—“If it won’t last forever, don’t build it.”   In Rome today, aqueducts built more than 2,000 years ago are still in use, serving an example of how one must think if he or she wishes to be Vigilant.
       Vigilance is about building seawalls for the future generations.  It is about protecting not just ourselves from the wrath of the Beast of Terror, but more importantly, the Children's Children's Children. 

Vee-shaped Alpine homes are built for future generations

        The homes in the Alps are not designed for just one family's safety when the great mountains of snow hurl down in angry fists ready to smash all things in their way with total disregard.  They are built for future generations.   The effort put into Vigilance must not be limited to the present, for if it is, the defenses against Terrorism will be shallow and easily ripped apart after the first few assaults.
        Left to protecting just ourselves, we may find our Courage weakens as the pain and torment of Fear's torture becomes unbearable.   We may find ourselves, like many prisoners of war, unable to bear the suffering and capitulate to the Beast to save our own lives.  But, when we think about protecting our children, when we place ourselves outside our selfish needs and desires, and we rise above our own greeds and needs, we suddenly become far more tolerant to Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
        If we were being tortured and told if we broke down our children would be killed, and their children killed, we might find a strength we had not imagined possible.   Our constitution might erect itself with such power as to turn the pain and suffering we endure into a state of numbness.  Our resolve to defy the Beast of Terror might be so magnified because of our selflessness that our tormentor could not even make us whimper with the worst of all violations of our flesh.

Deep Roots of Vigilance are needed to survive the Beast of Terror

       It takes  Deep Roots of Vigilance to survive the Beast of Terror's declivitous nature.  That's why we must think of Vigilance in terms of Courage to overcome Fear, Conviction to cripple Intimidation, and Right Actions in behalf of the Children's Children's Children to thwart Complacency.
        If we are Architects of Vigilance, willing to build a world as Terror-Free as possible for future generations, we must be willing to see the upward slope, the acclivity of Vigilance.  We must see that our efforts, however small and seemingly insignificant, when combined with countless other efforts of the same small size, can create great boulders, giant rocks that can form a Seawall of Vigilance against the surging Tides of Terrorism.
         Fear, Intimidation and Complacency can be held back by Sentinels of Vigilance when they link their arms together and stand as one body against it.
         But it all starts with you and me.
         The great journey, they say, begins with the first step.   It continues forward when, after being tripped or stumbling, or becoming lost, we regain our footing and trudge forward in spite of ourselves, in spite of our Fears, our Intimidations and Complacencies.
         And, it is never too late to start.
         There are those of us who may think we have been beaten to the pulp, nailed to the cross so many times we are hopeless to muster the Courage, Conviction and take the Right Actions necessary for the safety of future generations.
         This isn't true.
         Any of us can shed the Beast of Terror's scales any time we chose to.  It requires only that we take the Pledge of Vigilance, and Vow of Vigilance.   When we admit to ourselves that we are no longer fighting for ourselves, but for the future of generations to come, we can rise above the suffering which may have made us think we were hopeless.

Our Vigilance may be the last straw that breaks the Beast of Terror's back

        Even if our last breath is an act of Vigilance, that act alone may be the final straw that breaks the Beast of Terror's back.  None of us will ever know how powerful we can be until we exercise that power, and combine it with others like us.
         But we do know one thing for sure.  To not do anything, to ignore the Beast of Terror, or refuse to fight it, is an act of declivity.   It is an act of selfishness.   It is an act of Complacency.  
         Winston Churchill said, "Stand for Something or be Nothing!"
         You can stand for Something of great value.
         You can stand for the Acclivity of Vigilance.
         All you need to do is take the Pledge of Vigilance.
         And then, to the best of your ability, try to live by it.


April 30--The Family Circle Of Vigilance

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