The VigilanceVoice
Wednesday-- May 22, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 253

Fighting The Shadows Of Terrorism
Cliff McKenzie
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

        GROUND ZERO, New York City, May 22--The shadows of Terrorism are casting their ominous form across America.
This  morning they closed the Brooklyn Bridge, one of the proposed key targets of Terrorism's second wave.    Security has cinched its belt at the Empire State Building, another bulls eye in the Terrorists' long list of prime targets.
         I am particularly concerned not about the physical targets being protected but more about the soft, vulnerable Emotional targets--the minds of our children.
        The news is filled with sound bites about how people are reacting to the threats.  They are being told to "go about business as usual."

        But what is usual about the bogeyman coming to life during daylight?   To a child, the haven for the horrors of the night is loose when the sun rises.   How can a child understand he or she is protected when the darkness gives way to the light--when every waking moment is surrounded by the threat of the unknown?
        Emotional Terrorism is the real enemy, I believe, of any and all Terrorist attacks or threat of attack.   Yet we continue to focus on the Physical rather than Emotional defenses, as though protecting a bridge or a building was more important than soothing the troubled soul of a child ravaged with doubt and fear that someone somewhere is threatening his or her security.
      This oversight goes to the principle of Terroristic Complacency where we overlook the real target of Terrorism--the mind of a child where Fear, Intimidation and Complacency is most vulnerable--and seek out the false target, the Physical element such as a bridge or a building or the home of an institution.
     In military terms, we think of "strategic targets," rather than "emotional targets."   The Brooklyn Bridge isn't the real target.   The confidence and trust of Americans in their military and government is the real bulls eye.   A Terrorist can have just as heavy an impact walking on a bus and blowing it up as he or she can attempting to destroy a physical icon.
      Not that I find it foolish to be Vigilant about our icons.   They are only the tip of the iceberg.   They are actually diversions not targets.  The real target is a mother or father of a child who starts to tremble in fear about stepping outside the door of their home, afraid that en route to school or work, or at the playground, or while shopping at the local store, or at a restaurant some Terrorist might walk in and light a fuse attached to his or her body, blowing up everything in sight.
      This is the true heart of the Terrorist issue.
       The Brooklyn Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Empire State Building are ants on a elephant's rump to Terrorists who seek to strike Fear, Intimidation and Complacency into our citizenry.
       In preparation for such an assault, the military is virtually helpless.   It is geared to stop attacks on institutions not on innocent people in a community.   Marshalling the forces of the military to search every person on the street is not within the scope of military missions.   Military units are reactive by nature rather than proactive.  They respond to threats rather than thwart them.
       Fighting Terrorism is a daily job, not one driven by headlines or warnings from the FBI.   These can often been manipulated by political expediency.   If the U.S. Government wishes to capture a headline and suggest that it is in charge of Terrorism, and bury its critics who claim it is inept to defend America, or that perhaps it was in error for not warning Americans of potential threats such as the use of American flight training schools for Middle Eastern trainees, it might splash the media with information of impending threats, quashing criticism by appearing Vigilant.
       But rattling the swords of defense to counter criticism is not the proper strategy to protect Americans from Terrorism.
       The Parents of Vigilance vow is.
       Understanding Terrorism means thinking of bullies, not military enemies.   A bully Terrorizes by Fear, Intimidation and driving a group or individual into a state of Complacency where he or she believes nothing can be done to end the bullying.

         Terrorism is nothing more than a bully at large.   It swaggers around puffing out its chest and attacks small, unarmed, undersized, innocent people who have little resources to fight back.    That's what suicide bombers are all about.  They are little bullies who push, shove, slap and beat on the innocent with seeming impunity.
         Today, we need to look beyond the idea that Terrorism is targeting a bridge or building, and remember that its true target is our children, grandchildren, our nieces and nephews, our cousins, our mothers and fathers, our uncles and aunts.
        We feed Terrorism when we ignore or neglect its true target--the helpless, the innocent.    It takes Courage, Conviction and Right Action for any person to step up to the plate and say:  "My family is the target of Terrorism, and I must be the one to defend against it."
        Unlike the Night Stalker, Terrorism can't be eradicated by the singling out of one individual and the incarceration or execution of that individual.  Terrorism is a state of mind, a force of belief imposed upon others as a form of attaining acceptance and recognition for radical viewpoints that only rise to the headlines under threat of attack.
        And this kind of Terrorism can only be stopped when each citizen assumes responsibility to stop its incursion into its family's way of life, when it builds barriers of Vigilance so tall and strong that a Terrorist cannot breech the defenses and skulks away looking for more vulnerable, less courageous victims.
        If all of us think in terms of Emotional Terrorism, and stop thinking in terms of Physical Terrorism, we will start to understand the reasons why the Pledge of Vigilance has the power to turn a Terrorist away.   If one truly believes Terrorism's goal is to send shock waves of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency into a society, then the counterbalances to those missiles are Courage, Conviction and Right Action.
      And, it begins at home.  It begins with everyone in a family having the Courage to face their Fears as one unit, the Conviction to deal with those Fears, and the ability to take the Right Actions to continually shun those Fears so they don't take root.
      Terrorism is not blowing up the Brooklyn Bridge.  It is blowing up the security of the family, and injecting the children with a sense of helplessness and futility to fight it.  All that can be changed once an individual and family embrace the Parent of Vigilance principles.
      When Fear faces Courage it runs.   When Intimidation is confronted with Conviction it shrinks.   When Complacency is met with Right Action it loses all its power.
      Be Vigilant.  Fight Terrorism where it finds its easiest targets--in your thoughts and your family's thoughts.  Be a Citizen of Vigilance.


G0 TO:  May 21--Stop Pointing The Finger Of Terrorism

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