Article Overview:   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.


Friday--July 25, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 681
Private Lynch Reminds Us:  Community Vigilance Trumps National Vigilance
Cliff McKenzie
   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.  

Pfc. Lynch being removed from Saddam Hospital in Nasiryia, Iraq April 1, 2003

Pfc. Jessica 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 American soldier!"
     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.

Pfc. Jessica Lynch, center, waves to well-wishers, as she rides with her brother Spc. Greg Lynch Jr. in a homecoming parade in Elizabeth, W. Va.

     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. security.
     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 borders.
      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.

Congress needs to promote Community Vigilance rather than National Vigilance

      Private Lynch's 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 Vigilance.
      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 it.
        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.

.....lines the streets to welcome her home

Pfc. Lynch's  Community in West Virginia.........

       I think 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 American union.
         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.

DC snipers 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 member?  
          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.

Communities 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 Terrorism.
        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 neglect.
        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.

Pfc. Jessica speaking to her Community of Vigilance in West Virginia at her homecoming

       The bottom 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.


July 24--Back-Shooting By The Beast Of Terror

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