The VigilanceVoice

July 1, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 292

Terror Of The "Creep Factor!"
Cliff McKenzie
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZERO, New York City, July 1--It's called the "creep factor"--an old type of Terrorism wrapped in a new package.   It's a product of fame and fortune, infecting those who seek to rise above all others in their sport or profession.
       The most recent victims of the "creep factor" include the stars of women's tennis, a sport which once drew few viewers, but now is so dominant it rivals football ratings.
      Last year, for example, the United States Open televised final women's match drew a 6.8 rating, double the amount of viewing the famed Notre Dame-Nebraska college football telecast.
      Women's tennis stars are also topping the most famous basketball legends on the Internet.   Measured by Web searches, Shaquille O'Neal logged in  122,000 "hits" while Venus Williams, top tennis star, garnered 255,000.
      Not only is the public gushing unlimited attention to the women tennis stars, but the economic world is also.  Forbes Magazine recently published its Celebrity 100 list, hosting a raft of women tennis stars whose income both on and off the court has rocketed them into the financial as well as "sex-appeal" spotlight.

                   Anna Kournikova

          Jelena Dokie, for example, is about to appear in a GQ photo spread. Russian Anna Kournikova was voted sexiest woman athlete by FHM magazine in Great Britain and in the United States. Kournikova has more hits on her web site than Michael Jordan did in his prime.  And everywhere one looks, women tennis stars are appearing to endorse various products, often promoting their sexuality and alluring beauty.
      All this media focus leaves a scent.   And attracts the "creeps"--the stalkers, who become obsessive in fixation toward the stars of tennis.
      Recently, Serena Williams has been stalked by a German man.   A year ago Martina Hingis testified against Dubravko Rajcevic, a 46-year-old Croatian-born engineer who stalked her for 20 months, including to the iron gates of her house. Monica Seles was forced off the court after being stabbed by a crazed Steffi Graf fan in Munich in 1993.
      But this rash of news about stalkers, or the growing "creep factor" in tennis, isn't really news.

     Terrorism of this kind has been part our society for decades, most clearly represented by the presence of children's faces on milk cartons.   The "missing children" of America syndrome is far more newsworthy than the stalking of tennis stars, but less able to sell newspapers or gather headlines.
      Thousands of children are stalked each year.  According to the FBI, National Crime Information Center (NCIC), Missing Person File, between 7 and 7.5 thousand juveniles were reported missing in 2,001.
      These "creeps" are far more venomous and need greater attention that the sick and twisted adults seeking out women's tennis stars.
       I had such an experience just the other day.
       My wife and I took our grandchildren, 6 and 4, to the public swimming pool a few blocks from our daughter's apartment.    Hundreds of people were there swimming and playing.

      The night before we had been watching a movie where a father took his son to a public swimming pool and in a moment of innocent neglect, the child was snatched.
        It brought a new sense of Vigilance to both my wife and me as we nearly smothered our grandchildren, never taking a watchful eye off them.

          Back in California where we lived for many years before coming to New York City two and a half years ago, our neighborhoods bore signs on every street of a man in a dark coat, an evil eye staring out and the words--Neighborhood Watch.   It was a warning to the "creeps" that we were Vigilant Parents, and that we knew our children were subject to their invasion.   These signs were posted in a very exclusive part of Laguna Niguel, California, and always struck me a sign of Terror for a child who might look upon them and wonder why society broadcast the presences of evil so boldly.
        We worry a great deal these days about Terrorist attacking America from abroad, and invest billions of dollars in thwarting such attempts, but each year "creeps from within" terrorize our children far more than any Middle East Terrorists could imagine.
       They stalk and often capture children.   Yet we run Terrorism up the flagpole from abroad with such passion one would think that is the only enemy we have.   Not quite true.

       Our real enemy is within society's perspective.   If we look at Terrorism from only one viewpoint--protecting the children--we come up with a far more important set of facts.   We find the real "creeps of Terrorism" are the children stalkers, the child molesters, the child abusers, and, worst of all, the Complacent parent who is far "too busy" to get to know his or her child's Fears, Intimidations and Complacencies.
       Were we to put the children in our society first and foremost as the benchmark for Vigilance, our headlines would ring different tunes.   The percentage of Terrorism against a tennis star would not even nudge the Terror Richter scale.

      If it comes down to a matter of money and fame, our children possess both.   If one were to project the collective wealth and collective fame of all the children who are Terrorized by the "creeps of society," that sum would far outweigh all the tennis and movie stars. 
      Children are the seeds of our future fame and fortune.  We often forget that the adults who stand in the spotlight today, not long ago were children playing in playgrounds, enjoying their innocence.   Tennis stars border that innocence since many of the top athletes in that sport are still teenagers.

        Vigilance demands that we keep the "main thing the main thing."  We need, as a society, to look at all "adult Terrorism" as a symbol of neglect.   Whenever "adult Terrorism" is being reported, we need to ask:  "So where are the headlines about our children's Terrorism?"
       Neglecting the promotion of the awareness of Terror of Children brings about a state of Complacency.   It makes us drop our guard.   It makes us forget to keep a Vigilant eye on our children's vulnerability.

       It has been a long time since I've seen a milk carton with the picture of a missing child.   While I didn't like them because they smacked of the ugliness of human nature, at least they reminded me of the importance of never taking a Vigilant eye off my own children, and, to keep an alert eye on other children's safety.

      I also miss the dark, ominous signs of the Neighborhood Watch stalker.   Those signs offended me, but at the same time reminded me to remain Vigilant.
      I think the new emphasis on "creep factors" should be our battle cry to get the "missing children" posters put back on milk cartons.  

    If society is more concerned about a tennis star being stalked than a child being neglected, we have little to worry about from bin Laden and a lot to worry about from our own Complacency.

Go To June 30--The Torture Of Vigilance 

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