The VigilanceVoice

Friday-- May 10, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 241

How Sad...The Death Of Children...
The Death Of Innocent Vigilance
Cliff McKenzie
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

        GROUND ZERO, New York City, May 10--My guts twist when I see the mangled bodies of innocent children--innocent victims of adult Terrorism.   Killing children is the most heinous crime imaginable--whether it be the destruction of their physical bodies, or the mangling of their emotional souls.  
        In Russia yesterday (May 9) children were running and laughing and playing alongside a band celebrating Victory Day, a sacred holiday in Russia that marks the end of World War II and the defeat of Nazi Germany 57 years ago.   During the years of what Russians call the "Great Patriotic War," an estimated 20 million military and civilian deaths resulted.
       Terrorists placed a bomb stuffed with bolts and nails hidden in roadside bushes.  The blast killed 34 people, including at least 12 children and wounded another 130 according to NTV, the Russian television news agency that was filming the parade when the bomb exploded in the town of Kaspiisk, a community of 12,000 people near the Caspian Sea's western shore, about 1000 miles from Moscow.
        Russian President Vladimir V. Putin suggested the blame was the work of Chechnya rebels.  "This crime was committed by scum who hold nothing sacred," he said.  
       My soul screams when I confront pictures or stories of the death of children.  The first death I witnessed in Vietnam was that of a child whose head was severed by one of our artillery shells.   The child's mother was kneeling beside the body, crying, wailing, clutching her son's head in her arms, pointing to it and screaming at us in Vietnamese.   I might not have known the exact words she used, but I know what she was saying.  I feel it still today, the wretched, senseless loss of the innocent by the dogs of war.
      During the more than 100 combat missions I participated in during my tour in Vietnam in 1965-66 I saw many such incidents of innocent children maimed, mangled or killed in the cross-fire of political ideologies at war with one another.   Each time I saw a child wounded or killed a spear lanced through my soul.   Whatever wall I put up to defend myself from feelings were destroyed by the sight of children's bodies.   I cried often, silent tears of shame and guilt.
       Today I cried.  
       I cannot shut down the sadness of children's senseless deaths.   There is no defense in me strong enough to hide the pain or senselessness of violence that results in the slaughter of the innocent.
       And I recognize that such wanton violence, such indiscriminate madness against the innocent begins not with bombs and bullets, but with hatred.   Terrorists are made, not born.  They learn how to hate and kill from their parents and loved ones.   They learn how to inoculate themselves against shame and guilt and a sense of humanity from the adults who taught them that killing others was a "necessary evil," and, in some cases, "an act of heroism."
       I witnessed young children running at our positions with satchel bombs on their backs, hoping one of us would take pity on them and not shoot so they could dive into our arms and explode us into a million pieces.  But the child didn't choose to act as a suicide bomber, the child was taught, encouraged, sacrificed by its parents.   The child was innocent.  All children are.
       I continue to believe based on my experiences with Terrorism that its roots can only be ripped out by the destruction of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency within the minds and hearts of parents who are the breeders of Terrorism.
      As a society, we arbitrarily draw a line between the point where a child ends and an adult begins.  Usually, it is some chronological date.   At such a point the law of society reasons that the child has passed the "Age of Innocence" and is now responsible for his or her behavior.   The child morphs into the "Age of Reason," or the "Age of Choice," or the "Age of Responsibility."   Under this theory, the child is now an adult and cannot claim "ignorance," or "innocence" as a defense.
      In some cases, Emotional Age is measured.   A mentally handicapped person, for example, charged as an adult because of chronological age, can be termed a child if the law measures the person incapable of making decisions.
      Also, in some statutory rape cases where the victim is under the legal age to have sex with an adult, the courts will consider the "Emotional" rather than "Chronological" age to determine whether the defendant knew or should have known the victim's true age.
      But what about a child who has been emotionally terrorized his or her entire life, and, as a result of such terror, lashes out against society?   Where does such a line between the "Age of Innocence" and the "Age of Reason" begin?
       If a child witnessed the destruction of his or her parents by others, and grew up with hatred and revenge burning in his or her soul, at what point does he or she stop being a "child of terror" and evolve into a "man or woman of terror," liable for all his or her actions?
      Terrorism of the physical kind--as expressed by pictures of mangled children's bodies at a parade in Russia--is easy to see and to be repulsed by its presence.  But what about the Terrorism of a person walking down the street, head hung, body shaking nervously, fearful that someone, anyone, might say something to them and remind them of the days when their parents locked them in a dark closet and told them they were worthless scum and their existence on this earth was nothing but a waste of oxygen?
       Isn't that person just as mangled and wounded as the bodies of children splashed on television?   Isn't that person a walking Terrorist time bomb who, at some moment, might explode either by killing themselves or retaliating against authority, or, worse yet, passing on the Terrorism they received to their children, or to another's child?
       I know in my heart that it is not the nature of human beings to be Terrorists.   I don't believe Terrorists are born.   But I do believe they are bred, fostered, fed certain principles that incite them to riot either against others or themselves.
      Every human being has been Terrorized by something sometime in his her life.   If Terrorism is the sum of one's Fears, Intimidations and Complacencies, then we are all victims of it.
      As children we are supposed to learn how to conquer these elements of Terrorism.   Either we are nurtured by our parents to overcome them, or we are tortured to live with them forever.  
     "You shut up and go to sleep.  There are no bogeymen in your room." 
       The booming Voice of the Complacent Parent doesn't teach the frightened child how to deal with Fear, but instead, how to stuff the Fear, how to swallow it, how to hold it inside so it can erupt outward in uglier ways.
      I don't see much difference in a parent fueling a child's Terrorism through overt or covert acts of Complacency and the rebels who bombed a parade in Russia--one is just more insidious than another, but the result is the same--the child is wounded, mangled, and its spirit and soul sometimes killed by such continuous acts of parental Emotional Violence.
      There are, of course, those parents who abuse their children physically and emotionally.   They delight in demeaning the child.  They pass on to the child the sickness they were inflicted with as a child.  They create a future Terrorist, whether it be one that beats himself or herself to death feelings of Fear, Intimidation and ultimate Complacency, or one who ends up on rooftop shooting people with a rifle.
       My point is that adults created children of Terror.
       And only adults can change that process.
       But so many of us believe we are not Terrorists.   So many parents in a civilized world claim righteous indignation that they might be accused of abusing their child.  They pride themselves in "knowing their child," and providing the "best of life to their children."
       Yet, so many of these people at the same time will have a conversation about pro-abortion in the presence of a child, assuming the child isn't listening, or hiding behind the "right of opinion."   If they crawled inside the child's mind and saw the process of the child hearing its mother or father promoting the death of a baby, they might not chalk up a high score for themselves in the Parent of Vigilance department.
       Parents who claim to be great communicators with their children are befuddled when a child is asked to list down his or her fears, intimidations and complacencies.   When the parent is presented with such a list directly from the child's hands, the parent is usually shocked.   
       Terrorism is formulative.   It is created in bits and pieces by a child who assimilates date much like a sponge soaks up drops of water.   Over time, unless these opinions are sifted and sorted in perspective, the child creates opinions and beliefs, usually hidden from the parent's knowledge because the parent doesn't walk in the child's Emotional Shoes, doesn't camp out in the clay in the child's soul to help reshape the child's inner being so that its structure is most solid, able to withstand the storms of life.
      My wife and I were shocked when our older daughter told us she sat in the girls' restroom at lunch and cried in her first year of high school, fearful of being rejected by her classmates.    We were fortunate to have developed an open system of communication that allowed us to be privy to this data, and we talked about it, and worked with her to overcome her Fears, her Intimidations and her Complacencies to face her new social environment.
      It worked.   She became the class president and Home Coming Queen.   And, it was as though her flower blossomed.  But, had we not constantly pried open the doors to her Emotional Self, she still might be sitting in some lunchroom, a wallflower, fearful of a Voice or someone's glance.
     It is easy for me to get upset over the bombing of innocent children in Russia.  But it is also just as easy to say:  "Well, Terrorism should be stopped because children are being maimed by bombs," when the real truth is that Terrorism is being bred daily in all children whose parents don't act with Vigilance to protect them from their Emotional Fears, Intimidations and Complacencies.
     In America there are 65 million households with children under the legal age residing under their roofs.   How many parents inside those household know the litany of their children's Fears, Intimidations and Complacencies?
     And, if they don't know, how do they expect the child to sort them out in a positive, constructive manner that will result in the child evolving into a Vigilant rather than Terroristic person?
     The Parents of Vigilance is about doing the best job we can possibly do to eliminate the possibility our child might be Terrorized by himself or herself, and pass that Terrorism on to others by accident or intention.
     We believe that Terrorism of a Child is a matter of Complacency in knowing the child's emotional well-being.   To understand that, we, as Parents of Vigilance, must vow to first understand our own degrees of Terrorism, and then work with our children to neutralize those booby traps so we can enjoy a world free of the pain and suffering that has haunted our societies and our lives.
      While we may never be able to completely eradicate Terrorism, we can depreciate its impact so that instead of being afflicted by it, we are Vigilant and drive it into a corral where we can keep an eye on it.
      If you haven't yet, take a giant step toward becoming a Parent of Vigilance.   Take the Pledge today!  You've got nothing to lose and your children have everything to gain.


G0 TO:  May 9--Terrorism & The 5th Amendment

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