May 10, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 241
How Sad...The Death Of Children...
The Death Of Innocent Vigilance
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
TO: May 9--Terrorism & The 5th Amendment