Jessica Lynch is home, safe from the jaws of the Beast of Terror.
She brings a message not just of bravery, but also one that screams
for the need for Community Vigilance. Find out why National
Vigilance pales in comparison to Community Vigilance.
2003—Ground Zero Plus 681
Private Lynch Reminds Us:
Community Vigilance Trumps National Vigilance
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--July 25,
2003-- She is a Private of Vigilance. A survivor of war. A
former Prisoner of War.
being removed from Saddam Hospital in Nasiryia, Iraq April 1, 2003
Lynch is a Private of Vigilance
Her name is Jessica Lynch.
She is a Private First Class, U.S. Army war veteran.
In the first few days of the war against Iraq, her convoy
took the wrong turn. Burrowing into enemy territory, the
unit came under attack.
Some of her fellow soldiers were killed, others taken
prisoner. Soldier Lynch suffered multiple broken bones and
was taken to an Iraqi hospital.
In a rescue highly publicized, Private Lynch was freed.
Her famous words as Americans stormed the facility: "I am an
After months of recovery, Private Lynch came home to
West Virginia this past week to a hero's welcome. She has
offered little of the details of her experience to the hungry media
seeking to spray the spotlights of fame and fortune on her for
revealing the ordeal she underwent.
But her homecoming is being dwarfed by rancor.
Lynch, center, waves to well-wishers, as she rides with her
brother Spc. Greg Lynch Jr. in a homecoming parade in Elizabeth,
A 900-page report by
Congressional investigators regarding the September 11 Terrorist
attack on the United States is filled with black marks regarding U.S.
It suggests that our intelligence community is inept at
dealing with Terror threats, based primarily on the lack of
communication between intelligence agencies such as the FBI and CIA.
In addition, is the even greater lack of communication from the
federal to state and state to local law enforcement agencies.
It is ironic that on the one hand we hail a
symbol of heroism for battling Terrorism thousands of miles from our
shores, and, in the same breath, admit to the world our inability to
stop the flow of Terrorism because we cannot find our right hand from
our left when it comes to tracking down Terrorists within our own
But, there is a reason.
America is truly fifty different nations.
We happen to be unified under one flag, and
protected by one Constitution, but for practical purposes we are 300
million parts, living in more than 8,000 communities of 25,000
population bases, in some fifty different united states.
Israel, the world's number one target for
Terrorism, has only about 6 million people living within its borders.
That's 2 million less than the 8 million who reside in New York City.
Despite the most intense anti-Terrorism systems on earth, the citizens
of Israel are under constant threat of attack.
to promote Community Vigilance rather than National Vigilance
homecoming is symbolic of what America needs to focus on in its battle
with Terrorism. Our nation doesn't need Congress to rage
about the lack of communication at the highest level of government.
Instead, it needs to promote Community Vigilance rather than National
This is where Private First Class Lynch comes to
play. She lives in a small, rural community where people
know one another. When a stranger comes to town, everybody knows
I grew up in small towns such as
Cascade Locks, and Hood River, Oregon. They were so tiny
you knew everyone's face if not their name, and when someone new was
in town, you said "Hi," and usually introduced yourself.
As America has shifted its
emphasis from small towns to massive urban communities where people
come and go like raging rapids, the idea of "community" has eroded.
Roots, the anchors of human culture, can't sink deep into the bedrock
of the urban cities' concrete jungles. People float by,
faceless, nameless objects endlessly swirling through the rivers of
humanity vermiculating their way up and down the roads and sidewalks
of jammed megalopolis.
If Congress were on track with
Terrorism, it would not look up at the underbelly of government's
vainglorious attempt to protect citizens, but rather down at the local
communities who become the victims of Terrorism, and, as such, should
be the first line of defense against Terrorism.
It's a long distance from the
World Trade Center to Langley, Virginia, home of the CIA. And,
it's even longer when people wait, or expect, their government to be
the sole source of protection against Terrorism.
streets to welcome her home
Jessica Lynch and the citizens of West Virginia are quick to realize
that Community rather than National Vigilance is the key to keeping
Terrorism at bay.
America's porous borders and
its extensive travel freedoms, plus its Constitutional privileges,
give would-be Terrorists easy access to all fifty states of the
Despite all the efforts of
Israeli security, Terrorists slip through that country's
anti-Terrorism mesh. What makes America think it can, from the
federal level, cast a barricade so neatly woven it catches all the
threats to American community security?
Security is not a federal
responsibility or duty. It belongs to every citizen as well.
That's why I have no question
in my mind that Congress ought to be investigating the lack of
Community Vigilance as well as National Vigilance.
What is the role of each
of the 100 million household members who live within the borders of
America? Aren't they supposed to be Sentinels of Vigilance, as
concerned about the protection of the safety of their children and
loved ones as Congress or the Senate?
In the final analysis,
the Terrorist attack will not be against "hard targets" such as key
government locations, but instead, against the general population.
Terrorism feeds on Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency. The Terrorists in Israel
board buses and kill innocent civilians--women, children, senior
citizens--in an effort to strike Fear and Intimidation upon them.
Our schools, subways,
theaters and local theaters are a much greater "soft target" than
anything surrounded by armed militia.
proved Terrorism feeds on Fear, Intimidation and Complacency
The Washington D.C. snipers proved that. They randomly shot bus
drivers, kids in school yards, a man pumping gas, proving that anyone
at any time can be the target of a Terrorist.
Community not National
Vigilance should be the hue and cry of our elected leaders, but
instead of issuing a 900-page report on the flaws of the general
population to do nothing, the politicians point fingers at the
Administration, shouting that it was "their fault," and inferring they
have a better plan.
The truth is that
Vigilance belongs on the doorstep of each citizen.
America needs a
Community Vigilance Program much more than it needs to revamp
communications between the CIA and FBI.
It needs to embrace the
nearly 8,000 mayors of America, especially the small-town community
leaders. These 8,000 mayors are the business leaders of
their respective 25,000-plus populated towns. They can
stimulate an awareness of Vigilance, and rally forces within the
community to serve as Sentinels of Vigilance.
Who is best equipped to spot
Terrorist activity? The border guard or the local community
But, Vigilance is much
more than simply worrying about who is going to attack us from afar.
It is also about installing into our mindset the idea that we all need
to be wary of the Beast of Terror within.
embracing the Principles of Vigilance are less likely to be
attacked by Terrorists
That's why the Community Vigilance Program should include the Parents
of Vigilance Clubs, and Loved Ones of Vigilance Clubs.
These local organizations
subscribe to the Principles of Vigilance as outlined in the Pledge of
Vigilance, and, promote their application within the community.
The true enemies of Vigilance
are Fear, Intimidation and Complacency. The Parents and
Loved Ones of Vigilance promote how to battle these Triads of
Terrorism with Courage, Conviction and Right Actions that benefit the
Children's Children's Children.
Communities that embrace these principles, and live by them, become
less likely for a Terrorist attack. Since Terrorism is
about injecting Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, the stronger the
resolve of a community, the less opportune it is as a target of
Plus, the real benefit is to the
children of the community. By embracing the Principles of
Vigilance, the community reinforces the relationship between parents
and children, loved ones and children.
As a result, there should be a
decrease in violence, divorce and crime--especially the crime of child
And, we owe the idea of Communities
of Vigilance to Private First Class Lynch.
She stood out during the war as a
symbol of Vigilance. She called out to her rescuers:
"I am an American soldier." And, she belongs to a Community of
Vigilance in West Virginia.
speaking to her Community of Vigilance in West Virginia at her
line: Congress needs to look down and not sling mud up.
It needs to focus on Communities of Vigilance, not Nations of
Vigilance. National security is only the sum of all the
local security. Until we strengthen Vigilance at the core
of our communities, there will never be a strong wall above.
Maybe its time for everyone in
the United States to think in terms of Community rather than National
Vigilance, and, to look at Jessica Lynch and her community as a simple
model to keep Terrorism at bay.
24--Back-Shooting By The Beast Of Terror
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