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.
20, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 707
A Day With Georgie
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.
victimized by the Beast of Womb Terror
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
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
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
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.
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
But one thing remained
constant between the two boys. Both were raised in a House of
Vigilance, among Parents and Loved Ones of Vigilance.
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
Yesterday, it 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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
reminded me there is a Community of Vigilance
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
It begins with us looking in the
mirror and asking: "What Am I Doing Today To Be A Better
Sentinel Of Vigilance?"
an answer. All answers flow from the question.
But, if you don't ask, you shall not
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
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.
19--Mr. Ashcroft: Promote Vigilance Not Just The Patriot
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