August 12, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 334

Nuclear Vigilance Or...
A New Terrorist Target?

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

       GROUND ZERO, New York City, August 12--I scratched my head this morning, wondering if the headlines of a national news story was an "Act of Vigilance," or an invitation to Terrorists to steal nuclear weapons fuel.
       It seems that tons of bomb-grade plutonium and uranium are housed in a vulnerable laboratory in New Mexico, located at the bottom of a shallow canyon with insecure buildings over five decades old.

     In 1997 a group called The Project on Government Oversight, POGO,  kind of like a PETA brand of "nuclear watchdogs," pretended to be Terrorists and penetrated the facility, stealing 200 pounds of simulated bomb fuel in a shopping cart from Home Depot.   They wanted to make a point about the pregnability of the facility.

      Recently, the group intercepted government documents about the facility's vulnerability from officials within the government and released them to the press.
      So now, based on public pressure, the bomb fuel is going to be relocated to a more secure site--about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
      I'm sure the population of Las Vegas will be excited about having nuclear bomb fuel housed close to the fastest growing city in America, but that's another story.


     What I find a little disconcerting is that any would-be Terrorist who wants to know where to find nuclear bomb fuel now has an address.    Not only does he know where it is now, but also where it is going to be shipped.
      It's kind of like Brinks running headlines on where they are picking up billions of dollars and where they intend to take it, just in case anyone thinking about robbing them might have overlooked the opportunity.
      Also, I wonder if a group of "would-be-Terrorists" could slip into the facility and take mock bomb fuel on a Home Depot cart, how many Terrorists waltzed in prior to the recently release of public information and cabbaged handful of the stuff.

Nevada Test Site Facilities

        I also have a bunch of questions regarding the projected Nevada Test Site location the bomb fuel is relocating to from New Mexico.
      My brother-in-law died a horrible death from cancer.  He worked for years at the Nevada Test Site, in meteorology, measuring the weather for various underground nuclear explosions.    My sister and her children always questioned the rare lymphoma cancer he suffered as being caused by his proximity to the site.   Unfortunately, they battle the bureaucracy of red tape trying to link his cancer to the hazards of his job.
      In a world of constant Fear that Terrorism will strike again, Vigilance is vital.  I do not question that fact.   However, I am also concerned about the "shuffling of cards syndrome," where we move things around in a shell game as though to appease the public's fears, while creating new dangers rather than solving the core issue of Terrorism.
     The new Homeland Security Department is one example.    I see it as a "reshuffling" of old cards, an attempt by the government to seemingly streamline defensive systems against Terrorism, while missing the core point.
     Ultimately, Terrorism is about producing Fear, Intimidation and the resulting Complacency into a society.    It operates on the "threat of violence" more than the "violence" itself.    Like cancer, it seeks to destroy a society's marrow, and gnaws at its internal organs of Courage, Conviction and Right Actions.
     Homeland Security is not about the government protecting us, but we, the citizens, the parents, the grandparents, protecting ourselves from Terrorism's grip.

     I never hear that charge issued from the government's pulpit.   I never hear the cry for Americans to band together within their communities, as Citizens of Vigilance, fighting the Fear, the Intimidation and the Complacency of Terrorism within their homes, neighborhoods, communities, regions, states, and nation.
     Instead, I hear the call for "reshuffling," a battery of political critics slinging dung at one another for not being Vigilant enough, and all seeming to want to build their coffers with more budget money, more power, to assume the role of "grand proctorate" over the land.
     While all this cacophony goes on in Washington D.C., a band of concerned citizens waltz into a New Mexico nuclear bomb fuel site and haul off 200 pounds of simulated "disaster fuel" in a Home Depot shopping cart.

      I wonder where the citizens of New Mexico were?  Were they sleeping?   Were they waiting for the government to "take care" of the problem?   Did they even care about the future of their children's children's children?
      A dose of Vigilance might have sparked them to action to protect their own environment, as I'm sure the proposed transfer of nuclear bomb fuel to the Nevada Test Site will trigger off a hue and cry from the citizens of Las Vegas.

      The idea of the "watchdog" philosophy is a fine one, but its source should be the citizens not an oversight group such as the Project on Government Oversight.    Often, small groups intent on making the "government better," end up accumulating the same power and misuse of it as those they strike out against.  
      But communities are different.   They are composites of a variety of people, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, cousins, parents, grandparents, loved ones, and citizens.    It is their "duty" to protect their homeland, not the government's.
      It is this kind of Complacency that scares me the most--the idea we have to have "watchdogs" watching the "watchdogs," and we stand eyeballing the two sides battle as spectators at a tennis match, our heads swiveling one way, then the other, one way, then the other, cheering and booing as we watch.     Of course, there are those who don't attend the match and sleep in their Lazy-Boy chairs, or flick on their televisions, or grunt, "that's not our business."   And, there are those who attend the match and don't watch it, just "go along to go along."
      Someone once said you have three choices in life--one, to sit in the stands and be a spectator of life; two, to march in the parade with others; or, three, to lead it.
      I'd like to think the Citizens of Vigilance, Parents of Vigilance, Loved Ones of Vigilance are all leaders.   I'd like to believe they are the real "watchdogs" of their children's children's children's future.  I'd like to think they make decisions within the confines of their home to secure the future of their children by teaching them how to overcome Fear with Courage, to swamp Intimidation with Conviction, and to march to the tune of Right Action rather than be lulled into the comfort of Complacency's siren.
        Securing nuclear bomb fuel may seem like a duty outside the scope of a mother's or father's or grandparents' or cousin's, or uncle's, or aunt's, or brother's or sister's scope of duty to manage.  On the surface, few would think they had any "power" over such a "technical subject," or presume the "government" had it under control.

        But when the members of the community visualize a few people walking into the site with a Home Depot shopping cart, and strolling out with 200 pounds of simulated bomb fuel, the picture changes.
        It becomes simple, not complex.
        It means that just about anybody can do anything if they set their mind to it.
        Stealing nuclear bomb fuel isn't that complicated.   Neither is becoming a Citizen of Vigilance, a Parent of Vigilance or a Loved One of Vigilance.
        All it takes is a little Courage, a few grains of Conviction, and the Right Action.

       Don't wait for the watchdogs to bark.

    Become a Citizen of Vigilance today.  Take the Pledge now.    Become your children's children's children watchdog--the one they can trust the most.  The one that sleeps at the foot of their bed.


Go Aug. 11--A Scalp Of Vigilance

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