The VigilanceVoice

Wednesday-- May 1, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 232

Viral Terrorism
Cliff McKenzie
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

        GROUND ZERO, New York City, May 1-- The New York Times story leapt off the page at me this morning.  It told a gripping story about a small, 400-student college in Huron, S.D. suffering from "viral Terrorism."
        The alleged viral Terrorist is a six-foot, seven-inch 18-year-old center on athletic scholarship from Chicago who plays for the Si Tanka Huron University basketball team.  

        The African-Cuban student is charged with five counts of knowingly exposing a young woman to HIV. through unprotected sex.  Authorities said they believe at least another 50 were also exposed to the AIDS virus.
         The farming community of 10,000 is in a turmoil over the infections.   Barb Bhuhler, a State Health Department spokeswoman, said at least 200 people have been tested for HIV since last week, in a state that reported  a total of 22 HIV cases last year.  Before last week, she said, there had been only six known cases in the entire county since 1985.

          Disraeli Briteramous, 47-year-old father of the young man charged with the felony, who describes himself as Afro-Cuban American, called the case a "public lynching."  He said his son was being depicted as a "viral terrorist who had invaded their pristine community."
          In a similar case in upstate New York in 1977, a 20-year-old man, Nushawn Williams who also knew he was HIV positive, was arrested after authorities claimed he had unprotected sex with 48 women and girls, 13 of whom where later confirmed to be HIV. positive.  In the recent South Dakota case, four people have tested positive for the virus.
          I found the story interesting because Terrorism, as a state of thinking, and as a  negative label,  is putting more responsibility upon each of us as citizens, to think in terms of the selfishness our actions when such actions endanger others.
          In the South Dakota case, the young man knew he was HIV positive and didn't warn  any of his sex partners that he was carrying the virus.  He neglected to be Vigilant at the expense of others.
           The big issue in this story, and countless others, is the endemic problem of Complacency.
          The real "viral Terrorist" isn't the hideous AIDS virus, as much as the lack of Vigilance to warn others of the dangers.   It is the Complacent attitude we, as a society take, with others--especially those closest to us.
          Teaching a child to become responsible for all of his her actions, and, most importantly, to create a sense of duty for the safety and security of others is Vigilance.

Nushawn Willlia

           Somewhere along the course of his upbringing, Nikko Briteramos, the young basketball player, forgot that his responsibility as a human being was to protect others from harm.   Had he been taught the elements of Vigilance--Courage, Conviction and Action--he might not have had unprotected sex, and he might have warned those he was intimate with of the impending danger he posed.   Perhaps, he might not have contracted the virus to begin with.
         Of course, this is all hindsight and presumption--but one thing is clear--that he didn't warn his "victims" of the Terrorism swirling around his bloodstream.    Complacency, Fear and Intimidation held him back.
         I hold his parents and guardians and loved ones most responsible for his actions.   While none of us can control the behavior of another, we can present to a child certain standards of Vigilance to arm the child with the Courage, Conviction and Actions necessary to live a life of Vigilance.
         It begins with Pledge of Vigilance.  
         Somewhere along the line of our evolution as human beings we have assumed parenthood as a "matter-of-fact" instinctive process.   We haven't looked at parenthood as a duty full of massive responsibilities to thwart Terrorism.
         Each child is born into a world of Terror.
         It is all about survival in the early years.
         If one looks at the animal kingdom, each creature born has to struggle to survive.  Few make it, and those that do have the most strength because most creatures are left to fend for themselves, or, at a certain age, they are shoved from the "nest" to forage on their own.   Humans are unique in this aspect.  We keep our children close to us for nearly a third of our lives, under our roofs, protecting them and preparing them for the "cold, bitter world."
        During this time, we either teach them how to evolve or simply how to survive.
        The child who walks away from their parents full of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency has little chance of evolving into the creature they could become if instead of the Fears, they were peppered with Courage, Convictions and Actions that would result in the strongest character traits possible for their enjoyment of life.
        James Dean's movie, Rebel Without A Cause, depicts a child disguised as a young man wandering the earth in search of substance of his self.    He has "viral Terrorism" in his blood--angry, resentful, pained--he searches for meaning.
        So do countless millions of children who escape the nest each year.   Their search is all about finding the Courage to face life, the Convictions to stick to something fruitful and satisfying, and to seek the roadmap of Actions that will lead them there on the safest route.
       But their paths are strewn with Fears of Failure; their minds laced with Intimidations they aren't good enough, or smart enough, or pretty or good looking enough, or gifted enough, or worthy enough.   Complacency settles in.  They begin to believe they are "victims" of their past, stuck into being a "wandering generality" rather than a "meaningful specific."   When their attempts to succeed or achieve are thwarted, they retreat within themselves, gingerly, if at all, testing the waters with their toes and if it is too cold, they return to their inner caves of self-imposed Terrorism, resigned to be "what they are"--a nothing, a nobody--in comparison to what they "want to be," or "wish they could become."

Nikko Briteramos

      The roots of this discontent, I believe, comes from the "viral Terrorism" of the human condition.   We are born to learn to survive against Terrorism--those harsh elements from which we evolved that attack us in such insidious ways as to create Fear and Intimidation and Complacency.
        Parents of Vigilance are those who recognize the absolute need to teach their children the elements of Vigilance to overcome these Fears, Intimidations and Complacencies.   They are parents who realize that they must do everything in their power to teach a child about self-worth, not at the expense of others, but to their gain.
       The young basketball player in Huron, South Dakota is a symbol of the lack of Vigilance.  But he is no different than the child who grows up and resigns himself or herself to a life of unhappiness, a life of inner anguish where all those around him or her seem to have the benefits of life and they only have its trailings.
        They too have a "viral Terrorist" within.  And, sadly, they pass that "viral Terrorist" on to their children by acting in such a way as to foster the child's Fears, Intimidations and Complacencies.
        When they transmit attitudes and outlooks and emotions to a child, these "viral Terrorists" fuel the anguish in a child.   "Shut up, don't bother me!"   Those words are as potent to a child as is the disease of  the AIDS virus.   The words kill a child's spirit, crush his or her hunger for love, teach him or her to shrink within himself or herself.
        "I'm too busy now, can't you see I'm busy...."   More insidious words, spoken from a parent who hasn't time for a child, hasn't time to crawl down on the floor with the child, to talk about his or her fears,  intimidations, complacencies.

       Viral Terrorism is not just about AIDS.   It is a far deeper disease that we must all protect ourselves and our children from catching, and worse, from passing it on to others.
        The first step in fighting this problem is taking the Pledge of Vigilance.   By vowing to fight Terrorism, we provide an antidote to our own Complacency.
        If you haven't yet, consider protecting your children and their children by taking the Pledge of Vigilance.
       If nothing else, it is a vow--a specific commitment to fight a child's "viral Terrorism" with Vigilance.
        Hopefully, it will add insurance that your child won't become a "viral Terrorist."

 Go To April 30--Eagle's Eye Of Vigilance From Ground Zero

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