August 23, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 345

Wasting Vigilance's Time
Fighting The S.U.V.s

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

       GROUND ZERO, New York City, August 23--Some things appear to be the ultimate waste of human time.   Sneaking fake parking tickets on S.U.V.s appears to me as one of those frivolous acts of protest and nothing more than restless, misdirected Terrorist-in-Training energy.
       At least that's my take on a group called Earth on Empty.  Their goal in life is put "tickets" on parked S.U.V.'s in hopes of intimidating the owner into selling it and getting a more fuel efficient vehicle.  Or, one might simplify the mission to be:  "Practicing Terrorism!"

       Earth on Empty members stalk neighborhoods, scanning rows of cars for one whose roof  protrudes above the crowd.  Spotting the fat gas guzzler,  the ambush team member sneaks up, writes out a ticket with the words VIOLATION printed to appear as though it is a parking ticket, slams it under the windshield wiper, and then runs quickly so the owner will not catch him or her.  The training manual for Earth on Empty suggests such attacks take place after 10 p.m. to reduce casualties.
      Text on the ticket reads in part:   "Did you get excited when you saw that ad for an S.U.V. in the remote wilderness.  Did you want to sue the manufacturer for false advertising when you started driving it to the shopping center instead?"
      More copy follows, lambasting the S.U.V. owner for owning a gas guzzler and endangering the world through global warming.
      But some flyers rather than "official tickets" are used to Terrorize S.U.V. owners.   These crude pamphlets carry a headline--"Your car is a killer," referring to the weight and structural soundness of an S.U.V.   When involved in accidents, S.U.V's usually suffer little damage.   One of the reasons for an S.U.V's. appeal to consumers is safety.
      One woman who received a "VIOLATION" ticket for owning an S.U.V. fired off an email to the North Cambridge, Mass., movement's headquarters.   She related how her child was killed in an auto accident, and that she drove an S.U.V today to protect her other children.
      S.U.V's are noted for being gas guzzlers, getting between 10 and 13 miles per gallon in city driving.  The emission issue becomes the Achilles Heel for Earth On Empty (EOE) propaganda.    They ignore email from irate owners who tell them the large S.U.V. they bought replaced their two-car family, and now they have one large enough to accommodate everyone in comfort.
      On more criminal tacks, a couple of S.U.V. Terrorists recently let the air out of all the tires at a S.U.V. car dealer's lot.  They were caught and given community service sentences of 50 hours.
      EOE Terrorist strategy is "sneak-and-strike."  They do their best to avoid confrontation with owners.   Complete instructions for organizing "S.U.V." attacks are listed on the protesters web page,
      It calls for people to form "tag teams" to issue the tickets, one to watch for angry owners and alert the "ticketer," and another to spot S.U.V's while the other puts on the VIOLATIONS.

     Similar to an al-Queda Terrorist cell structure, for only $350 you can buy a "city" pack of 9,000 tickets, and claim yourself the local "Osama bin Laden" of issuing them to other members you recruit.  The Earth on Empty web site cites that forking over the $350 gives you a "claim to your American State and a credit on our website."   In other words, you become a Terrorist leader in your own hometown.
      Well organized, the kit includes press releases and instructions for forming your group, including maps of your "territory" and suggestions on which S.U.V's to ticket.  Primary targets include Cadillac Escalade, GMC Denali, Land Range Rover, Ford Excursion and Expedition, Toyota Land Cruiser and Sequoia, Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes M Class, Dodge Durango, Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, Mercury Mountaineer and Lexus LS 470.  Overzealous members have attacked fuel efficient S.U.V's that get upwards of 20 miles per gallon.  Soon, it seems, all enemies look the same--the innocent become the guilty.
       Besides the absurdity of the cause, my ire is mostly concerned with the waste of energy expended versus rewards gained by attacking S.U.Vs 
       If the world is polluted, and getting more polluted, the least of these causes is from S.U.V's.  If EOE is going to fight something, then it ought to attack the pollution a child inhales from breathing the fumes of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.   I consider the pollut6ion of Terrorist Thoughts far more devastating and important than anything exiting an S.U.V. tailpipe.

Land Range Rover

Dodge Durango

      I also question the economic motives.   I see a guy selling parking tickets at $350 a whack, and issuing "Terror Territory" as McDonald's does when it sells a franchise.  Whomever buys into EOE,  "buys the right of ownership" to lead the Terrorization of an area, to recruit members, and to sell them the Terror Tickets he or she bought.   Plus, the "Terror Franchisee" gets his or her name plastered on the Earth On Empty website.  I wonder if any members are from Saudi Arabia?
      There is little question the S.U.V. also stands as a symbol between the "haves" and the "have nots."  I wonder if the motivation to attack S.U.V's environmentally isn't just a diaphanous disguise to lash out against those who have the money to afford one--a retaliation against "civilization" not unlike the Terrorists who crashed their planes into the World Trade center as a symbolic gesture of destroying the wealth center of the world.
      We twist our thinking to fit our needs.   It is human nature.   Young, militant revolutionaries idealize their causes.   They tend to look only at one side of the coin, refusing to examine the other.   Maturity often heals their myopic view of "what's right," and tempers their quickness to indict and condemn others on appearance.
      The young man or woman who slapped a VIOLATION ticket on the windshield of the woman who bought the S.U.V. to protect her children from death or maiming obviously didn't think about Vigilance, but was consumed instead with Terroristic Thinking--"How can I create Fear, Intimidation and Complacency in those who drive these monsters?"
       A friend of mine once told me:  "Cliff, keep the main thing the main thing."   
       I haven't forgotten that.

        The main thing today for me is Vigilance, the development of awareness, and its constant reinforcement that we owe it to our children, and our children's children's children to teach them Courage in the face of Fear, Conviction when in the shadow of Intimidation, and how to take Right Actions rather than surrender to the Complacency or powerlessness of feeling yourself inept or impotent to "make a difference."
       Certainly, the S.U.V. Terrorists feel a sense of glee and pride for trying to inject Fear, Intimidation and Complacency into those who receive their violations.  But the elation of achievement must be tempered with societal priorities.
        The prime enemy to world pollution isn't exhaust fumes, it is our thoughts.   How we think becomes how we act, and how we act evolves into what we are.  
       Regardless of one's age, taking action in behalf of the children and their children's children is far more satisfying than any other goal.

       The S.U.V. Terrorists can argue until they are blue in the face that they are indeed serving the children by attacking the S.U.V. gas guzzlers.  By reducing the emissions, they proclaim, they "save the world."
       Obviously, I think this is hyperbole.    One volcanic eruption does more to pollute the earth than any millions upon millions of vehicles coughing and spluttering.   And global warming is such a far distant, unverified issue, that one can hide behind it with seeming immunity because no one can point a finger and say--"this will kill you."  Only history can do that, and history usually ends up being written by acts of mother nature against the environment.
        But there is a clear and present danger that stares at us all.
        It is Terrorist Thinking in a child--the worst and most immediate pollution that left unattended, will suffocate us all.    When children think in primary terms of their Fears, their Intimidations and their Complacencies, then our society is truly suffering from deadly emotional toxins.  Then Earth is on Empty.
         What I would love to see is all the energy being wasted on giving S.U.V.'s tickets going to the promotion of the Pledge of Vigilance.
       If a young person wants to make an immediate impact on the world's polluted atmosphere, he or she can start by just looking in the mirror.
       There, he or she will find a reflection--usually dominated not by Courage, Conviction and Right Actions, but crippled with Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
       Reviewing one's childhood, the person in the mirror doesn't have to spend too much time thinking about what would have happened to them if their parents had read and followed the principles of the Pledge of Vigilance each and every day.   Would the world be better or worse--immediately, if such was the case?
       I'd like to call upon all the members of Earth On Empty to think through the idea of ticketing S.U.V.'s, and change that thinking to promoting the Pledge of Vigilance.

      If we are going to save our planet, our "main thing" must be our Vigilant Thinking and how we view the world.    Thinking an S.U.V owner is a Terrorist trying to snuff out the air we breathe is about as righteous as the Terrorists who attacked America on 9.11 thinking modern civilization--the Western World--was seeking to destroy them and their children, to conquer the world with glitter and glamour, and a demon that had to be stopped before it grew larger.
      Vigilance is not about attacking the Terror outside us, but rather than which lives within each of us.   But teaching a child, or urging a parent to teach a child, that Vigilance must be at least one percent greater than Terrorism, is a true revolutionary act.   Using the Tools of Vigilance to ward off Terrorism in a child seems far more efficient than slapping tickets on windows of S.U.V.s.
       So I call for a change in thinking by EOE members.    I ask them to reconsider the priority of their effort.   I ask them to ask themselves whether slapping tickets on S.U.V. windows is more important than guiding a child to at least one percent more Vigilant Thinking than Terrorist Thinking.
       Perhaps when a child grows up and has a choice between a fuel efficient vehicle and a gas guzzler, he or she will chose what is right for his or her children, rather than be subject to Fearful, Intimidating and Complacent tactics of would-be Terrorists..
       Join the team.  Become a Citizen of Vigilance today, and, if you can't give up the urge to ticket an S.U.V., then add to their windshield a copy of the Pledge of Vigilance.   There's no charge for them.  Just download and print.



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