The VigilanceVoice

June 26, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 287

Battleship Vigilance: 
The Dreadnought Of Terrorism
Cliff McKenzie
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZERO, New York City, June 26--I've decided there is a new weapon in our fight against Terrorism.  It is Battleship Vigilance.   It is the dreadnought of Terrorism.
       Let me explain how I arrived at this new weapon, and how it can be deployed to keep Terrorism of both Physical and Emotional forms from attacking you, your family, loved ones, and children.
Each day I subscribe to a new word via Merriam-Webster email.   I review the day's word with great care, much as a major league batter might wake up and stroke his home-run-giving bat before having a cup of coffee, or a stock broker who rolls over and flicks on his ticker tape to see whether he grew richer or poorer during the night.

     Words are the swords of truth and must first be sharpened before used, or they cut through nothing.   Since Terrorism is covered by the thick armor of Complacency, I need all the keen edges possible to slice Complacency's hide so readers might be reminded that Vigilance requires daily recommitment to insure its vitality.
      Perhaps the biggest conventional weapon used to attack enemy forces of Terrorism's Fear, Intimidation and Complacency is the battleship.   On the high seas, the battleship has been the stalwart crusader of naval victories.   Historically, it has been the muscle behind any fleet.

      But there is one battleship that stands as the grandfather to all.  It is the Dreadnought.  It was built in secrecy a year and a day with construction beginning on the Oct. 2, 1905 and the great ship going to sea on Oct. 1, 1906.   Built by the English under the direction First Sea Lord John Fisher, the Dreadnought immediately made every other battleship in the world obsolete fitted with the first Parson's Turbine.  It was faster, more heavily armed, enjoyed increased armor and could be built without additional cost or retrofitting of existing ship building equipment.
      It hallmarked a new attitude in fighting Terrorism.   It became the offensive weapon against those who tried to dominate others, to instill Fear, Intimidation and Complacency in those they sought to oppress.  Thus, the name Dreadnought.
      As you might expect from the sound of the word--dread...not--it means what it sounds like--Fear Nothing!
      The battleship represented an attitude as well as a weapon.   It told the world that its builders were not going to cower under the shadow of Terrorism, but instead puff out their chests and stand boldly where before, others might have run or hid or ignored the tyranny and oppression Terrorism brought to their doorsteps.
       Below, I've reprinted the definition of "dreadnought" from Merriam-Webster.
The Word of the Day for June 25 is:

dreadnought   \DRED-nawt\   (noun)
     1 : a warm garment of thick cloth; also : the cloth
     2 : battleship
    *3 : one that is among the largest or most powerful of its

Example sentence:
     Sam would settle for no less than a dreadnought of a boom
box, which was fine with all of his friends but didn't go over
too well with his landlord.

Did you know?
     "Fear nothing" -- that's essentially what "dread" plus
"nought" means. The name might seem a strange one for a
garment, but if you consider that dreadnoughts were worn on
board ship, you can appreciate the colorful name perhaps as
much as the seafaring men must have appreciated the thick
protection. The clothes and the cloth, first called
"fearnought" in the late 18th century, came long before the
battleship. Not until 1906 did the British Navy launch the HMS
Dreadnought, the first battleship to have a main armament
consisting entirely of big guns all of the same caliber. All
ships of this type were then called "dreadnoughts." That
particular type of battleship soon became obsolete, but their
legacy lives on in the extended third sense of "dreadnought."

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

       I believe we need a Battleship Vigilance, just as we needed a Dreadnought a century ago.   It would be of the dreadnought class, heavily armed with Courage, Conviction and Right Action.
       On Battleship Vigilance, the crew would  comprise the Sentinels of Vigilance, representing the 3,000 plus "Soldiers of Vigilance" who died on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and on Flight 93.
       Their mission:  to patrol the high seas of Terrorism in search of those seeking to instill Fear, Intimidation and Complacency in the hearts and minds of children, parents, loved ones through shelling them with either "physical" or "emotional" rounds, or torpedoing their security.
       In this War Against Terrorism our President is fighting, the battlefields selected are both political and military in nature.   They represent an archaic system of war where the amount of bombs and bullets deployed measure the success of any attack on the enemy.
       But Terrorism is more about an attitude than about a mass of enemy soldiers or sailors trying to occupy a land.   Terrorism is about the occupation of one's mind, paralyzing one's faith and trust in personal security, personal safety, personal happiness.
       Terrorism must be fought with different "tools of war," as First Sea Lord John Fisher envisioned when fought to bring about the birth of his new battleship, Dreadnought.
      We, the Citizens of Vigilance, need to keep the word "dreadnought"--Fear Nothing--close to our chest.   We need to realize that the government can never control Terrorism, for government is a fixed body that exists at the top of a social pyramid and issues its edicts

   Terrorism eats at the base of the pyramid as termites gnaw at the foundation of a home or building, bent on weakening its structures from within, not without.   One can look at the outside of a home or building and assume it is built on solid rock, and then one day pass by and see it has crumbled into the earth, shattered, because the nefarious Termites of Terrorism have eaten it from the inside out.

      Battleship Vigilance sails the seas at the base of the pyramid.   It hunts the Termites of Terrorism.   It realizes that Terrorism's fuel is the people's fear of it, their sense of impotency that they can do nothing about it, and the resulting Complacency that settles in as they abdicate the responsibility to fight Terrorism to the top of the pyramid--to the most inept of all sources, the government.
     Terrorists are nothing more than "neighborhood bullies."   Yet we treat them as though they were emperors of some great dynasty, and if we crush the empire in which they live we will eliminate them and their threats.  This is not "Dreadnought Thinking."

The truth is that Terrorism is a state of mind, now, as it was in the past, and will be in the future.   Terrorism exists within us all, and Terrorists only ignite its existence to life by flying airplanes into buildings, blowing up buses, and threatening a society's innocent with indiscriminate violence.
      Terrorists are nothing more than street muggers, individuals who collect in pods or cells and use Fear, Intimidation and Complacency to make people retreat into their shells, to cause them to shudder and shield their eyes from Terrorism's dark, ominous shadow.
       Dreadnought is a word as important today as it was in 1905 when it became the signet of a new battleship and a new era of fighting Terrorism of its time.
       It not only refers to a battleship, but also to how we dress ourselves.   We can dress in flimsy clothing that offers little to no protection from Terrorism, that represents a "thin skin" when facing Terrorism's Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, or, we can elect a wardrobe rich in warmth and thickness to ward off the assaults of Terrorism.   When we put on piece of clothing we can think of it as "dreadnought fashion," and remind ourselves that it will protect us from our Fears, our Intimidations and our Complacencies--just as those Sentinels of Vigilance who ride the Battleship Vigilance wear dreadnought clothing to keep them alert to encroaching Terrorism.
     I stumbled upon a quote from Jarris Callan, a guild leader for various plays.  He employs the message of "dreadnought" as it relates to individuals in a succinct, powerful way:

We are the army of the people, furthering the peoples cause. Let the nobles bicker as they may. One day the people, lead by Dreadnought, will arise and throw off the shackles of our noble oppressors. So stand tall and keep your head raised. For Dreadnought is with you.

Jarris Callan,
Guild Leader

       In many forms our Fears must be fought.   Battleship Vigilance isn't just about preparing us to stave off another bin Laden-like attack on our physical security as a nation.   It is primarily sailing the seas to keep us from letting the Termites of Terrorism eat at us from within--when we sense we are not as worthy as, or we feel victimized, or we believe we are "stuck" in life and can never escape, or we are too busy to learn our children's fears and share ours with them, or carve our society apart with prejudices and bigotries, or we think we're not smart enough, or gifted enough.    The real Battleship of Vigilance plows through the waters to remind us not to "fear ourselves."   It reminds us that the attacks of September 11 have called us to a new awareness.  The destruction of our internal national security is only symbolic of the vulnerability of our emotional security, and the need to strengthen it.

   Our children suffer today from many forms of neglect, and the neglect of their emotional well-being is foremost.   Inside our children are being planted the eggs of Termites of Terrorism. 

        If they are not rooted out, the eggs will hatch and begin to gnaw at the child's self worth, making him or her think he isn't good enough, loved enough, smart enough, thin enough, pretty or handsome enough, gifted enough.

        It is the Terrorism of our children that must become the mission of each individual's Battleship of Vigilance.   Each of our children must be taught the meaning of "dreadnought," fortressing them with an awareness that within them is the Courage to fight their Fear, the Conviction to sink the ship's of Intimidation, and the power to take Right Action against their worst enemy--Complacency--the resigning of their will to achieve beyond the limits they have placed upon themselves.

      Battleship Vigilance is of the Dreadnought class.   Each of us can become the captain of our ship, and teach our children and loved ones to also captain theirs.   When we all climb aboard Battleship Vigilance, Terrorism will turn 180 degrees and run for cover.

Go To June 25--Who's In Charge Of Death These Days?    

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