Article Overview:  I spent an afternoon with a seven-year-old boy, a victim of AIDS and muscular dystrophy.  Georgie is a drug baby, born from a crack mother.   He is about the same age as my grandson, Matt.   We bonded in our own way, and I learned how to be a better Parent of Vigilance from the experience.


Wednesday--August 20, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 707
A Day With Georgie
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Aug. 20, 2003--  Georgie is a neat kid, despite the facts he has AIDS, muscular dystrophy, and a host of other drug related Terrorists gnawing at his brain and body.
      He's seven years old, born around the same time as our grandson, Matt.   His mother was a crack addict.  His father the same.
      One of millions of kids born to mothers who are drug abusers, Georgie carries with every step he takes, a reminder of the Beast of Womb Terror.

Georgie was victimized by the Beast of Womb Terror

       He was victimized in his mother's belly by drugs soaking their way through the umbilicus, afflicting the young boy's speech, scarring his brain, and infecting the very marrow of his being with a deadly disease that travels about seeking to destroy human beings in a most insidious and cruel manner.
       I met Georgie's mother on the streets of New York City before he was born.   She was shaking, needing a fix, with wild eyes and that taut look about her face as the skin seems to stretch over the bones of the junkie, making them appear skeletal, as though the flesh about them were stretched Saran Wrap.
       She was a combination of both African American and Hispanic descent, with copper skin patinaed by street life and perfumed by odious gutters of the city whose stench beckons wandering souls who volunteer to cast themselves outside the life ring of society.  Georgie's mother was card-carrying member of the Klan of the Walking Dead, a group who poisons their souls and body in hopes one day they won't wake up from the nightmare of never having enough drugs to kill the pain buried deep in their souls.
       Georgie was conceived in this brutal world.
       As best I recall, the State allowed Georgie's mother to have her baby before going to jail on one of many countless drug-related charges.  Like many junkies, her arrest record looked like her arms, full of scars where her addiction crossed swords with the laws and led her to the 10x10 concrete prisons that hide from society the vicious nature of the Beast of Terror's most insidious way of capturing the soul of humans.
       But there was Saving Grace at work.   The Sentinels of Vigilance were looking out for Georgie

Women of the Catholic Worker befriended Georgie's mother

      His mother sought refuge from the streets at the Catholic Worker.   The women there befriended her, as they do countless street women.    One of them took charge of Georgie even before he was born and assumed guardianship of him.
       Upon his birth, the wheels were set into motion that she would take Georgie under her wing, removing one more burden from the State and allowing a loving community to become Georgie's Sentinels of Vigilance.
       I recall our grandson's baptism, and Georgie's sobered up mother present at the Church of Nativity in the East Village, holding the addict-born child aloft to the congregation, offering his soul and body to those who live by the Principles of Vigilance, those who have more Courage than Fear, more Conviction than Intimidation, and more ability to take Right Actions for future generations than Complacency to turn their heads and ignore or refute the duty to shepherd the weak, the lame, the soiled children of the streets.
       Georgie and our grandson played together almost daily.   The guardianship of the community made Georgie a ward of the Catholic Worker.   A special room was dedicated for him and eventually paperwork for adoption was completed.  Georgie became the son of the woman who chose to assume Vigilance over him.
        She was from Canada and eventually moved back to her home, taking her son with him.   She was single and white, a veteran of service within the Catholic Worker.

Georgie is surrounded by love and care

           There was much contrast between Georgie and Matt.  One white, one copper colored.  One born from the most dedicated concern for the mother's health, the other born a victim of his mother's abuse to her body.
          But one thing remained constant between the two boys.  Both were raised in a House of Vigilance, among Parents and Loved Ones of Vigilance.
          Despite Georgie's afflictions that impacted his ability to talk and walk, and the damage to his neurological system that created great mood swings and forced him to take medication to keep his hostilities and anger in check, Georgie became part of society's mainstream.
         He wasn't cast off in some orphanage, destined to sit in a corner with a helmet on as he bashed his head against the wall and cried in primal screams the forlorn song of the lost child.   He is surrounded by love and care and careful management of both his precarious health and mental state.
          Georgie is a handful.
          All seven-year-olds are, but Georgie has some added yokes he has to carry around his neck.   His physical disabilities and mental handicaps force whomever is acting as his Sentinel of Vigilance to be in a constant state of watchfulness.
           Yesterday, it was my turn.
           Georgie was visiting his old community and came to spend the afternoon with his special buddy, my grandson Matt, at Tompkins Square Park.  The park has a small swimming pool and water spigots that shower all day so kids can run through the cooling liquid and enjoy the shade of the trees plus the security of a high fence that allows only parents and children within.
           I took Georgie, Matt and Matt's sister, Sarah, swimming.
           I had never been totally in charge of Georgie before.   There had always been someone else, his mother or my daughter or a friend, responsible for him.
          Neither had I ever been in charge of a child with such severe physical or mental deficits, so it was an experience in Vigilance for me.
         We entered the pool and the three kids jumped in.
         I noted that in the water, Georgie's problems were invisible.
         He was just like any other seven-year-old kid swimming in the cool water on a hot August afternoon.  He splashed and kicked and laughed just like all the others, a total of around 30 kids.
         I played with both Matt and Georgie, diving under water and pretending to be a shark.  I grabbed at their feet and pinched lightly their calves and then burst up out of the water and pretended to growl.  Sarah found another gal pal to swim with.
         They giggled and laughed and splashed and giggled and laughed and splashed some more.
         Georgie was just another kid having fun on a hot day.  I was just another parent/grandparent having fun with the kids.
          When we finally exited the water, I studied Georgie.
          Outside the pool, he walked with some difficulty.  He is big for his age. The dystrophy that attacks his muscular coordination makes his arm and leg movements jerky and his mobility slightly erratic.  His arms wave more than normal as he uses them to sustain balance.   His eyes don't sparkle as most children, for he is fighting constantly the urges of his body to move left when he wants to go right, or sideways when he seeks to veer in a straight line.
          "I have to take my medicine.  So I wont get angry," he said before entering the pool.   Besides a plethora of other pills he takes, one calms his mind, keeps his emotions from spiking so that his anger and hostility doesn't breech society's norms.
            My wife, a skilled former medical technologist and microbiologist, was impressed he was aware of the medicine's purpose, and that he was cogently aware of his thirst to "conform," to maintain some form of medicated balance within society's walls of accepted behaviors.         

       Here in Tompkins Square Water Park I was reminded of the cruelty of the Beast of Terror

            At the same time, his comment was a reminder of the Beast of Terror's cruelty.   Georgie will, for the rest of his life, need close management.   His physical and mental states are not unlike the tightrope walker's dangers.  If he loses his balance, he can plunge to the ragged rocks below and be swept into the rapids of society's dredges.
           As an adult, the world will not look upon Georgie as I saw him yesterday.  They won't see an innocent child afflicted by a deadly set of circumstances.
           They will see a problem.  They will see a potential danger.
           Somewhere in the evolution of our beings we transcend childhood and enter adulthood.    For some, that is later than others.  The innocence of many children is carefully guarded by parents who protect their children from the pain and suffering of life until they are well-prepared to handle it.
           Then, there are children like Georgie who, upon entering the world's cold lights, are smacked along the head by the back of life's brutal hand.    Their innocence has been robbed in the womb.
           Parents who bear unwanted and unloved children steal from such children that Right of Innocence.   It is a sad commentary for society that such children are discharged into life without the care and consideration they deserve.
          Last night, for example, my wife and I went to Central Park to watch adult fast-pitch playoffs.    We're softball fans, and New York City Softball Leagues have some of the finest players in the world, and the price is free

I wanted to scoop up the kids and ferry them to the Island of Vigilance

            On our way home, we stopped at a bathroom in the middle of a playground.   A bunch of kids were playing on the teeter totters near the rest room facilities.   The kids were cursing at one another.
           They were about Georgie's and Matt's age.    They looked innocent, pure bundles of wax to molded by Parents of Vigilance, but they had been scarred.
           Sitting on the bench was their father or guardian.  He was yelling at them in a mean Voice, using the same foul language.   The kids were mirrors, reflecting his mentoring.
           Part of me wanted to scoop up the kids and ferry them to some Island of Vigilance, where they would be safe from the verbal violence, and more than likely, physical violence, of the man in charge of them.
           Violence against our children is a legacy.  It is a chain of events hard to break.   Society tries to intervene by effecting certain laws against child abuse, but there is domain, a sanctuary about parenthood that the courts refuse to break.   The "bad parent" must be "very, very bad" before the State will take charge of the child.   
           Georgie is an extreme example of how the Footprints of Terror stomp on the innocence of children.    The kids in the playground last night are another.  But then there are those children who appear to be "normal" and seem to come from "happy homes," but deep down they feel a chasm between themselves and their parents as deep as the Grand Canyon and filled with alligators.
          The idea of putting their arms around their fathers or mothers and expecting a loving hug in return is as foreign to them as Saddam Hussein walking into Baghdad with his hands up saying:  "I surrender."
          Then there are the Beast of Terror who sexually abuse their children.  Few are aware of what is happening between the child and parent or guardian.   
          Emotional, physical, health, sexual abuse from parents to children can and does feed the Beast of Terror's reign over all.   It makes us falsely think we have no power to change the "evil within" us all. 
          Often, the "damage is done" as a result of abuse, and one wonders what, if anything, can resolve the issue of fouling the future by mistreating children as though they were castaways, disposable beings rather than fragile flowers, buds to the future of all.

Georgie reminded me there is a Community of Vigilance

        Georgie reminded me that there is a Community of Vigilance available.   It is composed of men and women who are willing to take the responsibility on their shoulders for those who refute theirs.
         But, the real issue isn't so much outside our lives, but inside.
         We have a big job as Parents and Grandparents of Vigilance just keeping our relationships with our children and grandchildren at the highest possible level.
         If the legacy of human ills is the result of repetition, then we must break the chain.  We, the Parents and Grandparents, and the Loved Ones of Vigilance owe society the first step in building a world of safety for Georgie and Matt and Sarah and all the children of the future.
We owe it to them to become the best Sentinels of Vigilance we can possibly become.
        It begins with us looking in the mirror and asking:  "What Am I Doing Today To Be A Better Sentinel Of Vigilance?"

Ask yourself

        There is an answer.   All answers flow from the question.
        But, if you don't ask, you shall not receive.
        Think of your loved ones and ask the question.  If you need answers, print the Pledge of Vigilance below.   Remind yourself that Courage overcomes Fear, and Conviction boots out Intimidation, and most of all, that Right Action for the Children's Children's Children defeats Complacency.
         Our Complacency is the issue at hand.
         There are solutions to the ills of the world, but they are buried under the rocks of Complacency.  To lift those rocks, you need the Sentinels of Vigilance.  They are your leverage.
         Georgie is my leverage.    And so are my grandchildren.
         That should be enough to last me a lifetime.

Aug 19--Mr. Ashcroft:  Promote Vigilance Not Just The Patriot Act

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