The VigilanceVoice

August 4, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 326

Eating The Eggs Of Vigilance

Cliff McKenzie
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

       GROUND ZERO, New York City, August 4--Some Terrorists like to eat their victims--or, sell their babies to be eaten by others.
       In a world torn by Terrorism of all shapes and sizes, the poachers who are stealing sea turtle eggs and selling them for $35 a dozen, rank high on the list.
       To some, the crime of stealing freshly laid sea turtle eggs and eating them raw to enhance sexual performance might seem like a whisper in the wind compared to the suicide bombings in Israel, or the threat of Al Queda's next attack here in the U.S.    But it's just symptomatic of an effort by human beings to neglect Vigilance and embrace Terrorism.
       This morning, I was torn over which of three stories to write.  First, a recording of firemen who had reached the 78th floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center.   For nearly a year, this tape has been held in secrecy as part of the upcoming trial of the alleged 20th Nine Eleven plane hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui.  On it were the Voices of firemen, struggling to rescue the victims.   Prior to the release of this tape, authorities thought the highest floor reached by the rescue teams was the 51st floor.   The tapes were played to family members, under secrecy agreements, so they could remember their loved one's last words as they fought to save others.    The key to this story was the comment one widow offered regarding her husband:  "There was no fear in his Voice.  He wasn't afraid.  He was doing his job."     I thought about her comment--knowing her husband's Courage was greater than his Fear, proud of his Vigilance over the Terror of the event.

     Secondly, there was the story of  25-year-old Nathan Maddox who went up on the sixth-floor rooftop with his girlfriend during the recent thunder and lightening storm to dance in the rain and watch the spectacle of Nature igniting the sky as warm and cold air met.   This past Friday was one of the hottest days in New York history with temperatures reaching 97 degrees.   The two-hour storm was refreshing.    My wife and I were babysitting our grandchildren, ages four and six.   Our daughter and son-in-law went out for the evening, and the next morning my son-in-law was heading for Guatemala to spend two weeks working with indigenous people in a small village called San Lucas Toliman.    I was at my computer printing pictures of the area from the web to show his children where "daddy was" when the storm hit.   I opened the window and looked out, listening to the cracks of thunder and awed by the roar of lightening.    Not too far away, Nathan and his girlfriend dancing in the rain, soaking up Nature's fireworks were struck by  a bolt of lightening  killing him instantly.    I thought about the story of a young man enthralled by nature, feeling safe on a six-story building cocooned by even more giant structures that seemed  to protect him.   But then in a flash, in a flicker of time, she survived but was violently thrown to the other side of the rooftop and he was struck dead, reminding me of the fragility of life, and how ultimately Nature rules us all, regardless of our pompous attitude that we, human beings, are in charge of our destiny.   

       Finally,  there was the sea turtle eggs story.   It appeared to be a mundane subject in light of all the other news coiling like a serpent around the Staff of Vigilance.    Suicide bombings, WorldCom executives being arrested, murders, rapes, overall degradation of seemingly all moral dogma.
       But what struck me most about all the news of the day, was the idea of some poacher crawling on his belly in the sands of Florida to cover his tracks and not be detected by fish and game surveillance teams hiding behind sand dunes with night vision goggles, and digging up a freshly mothered nest of endangered sea turtle eggs to be eaten by those who treasure them for their supposed enhancement of sexual potency.
       The sea turtle story was so bizarre it deserved added attention and had the earmarks of a good story.

Harvesting sea turtle eggs

       Vigilance, from my viewpoint, is about keeping in the foremost of your mind the vision of the children, and the children's children's children.
        I find it hard to talk to my grandchildren about why people kill other people, or why one human being would strap a bomb on his or her chest and kill others to make a point.  Or why a man would abduct, molest and kill a little child.   I find it hard to discuss these events with adults, let alone with innocent children.
       But stealing sea turtle eggs and eating them....yes...that rings of worthiness to be dispersed.   It is a story of the evolution of Terrorism, about how some people care so little about others they would rob a mother's nest and eat her babies just because they "tasted good" or intensified their sexual gratification.
        In economics, there is a guideline that holds Truth for all of us in all other areas of life--morality, spirituality, human consideration.   It is that "if you watch your pennies, your dollars will take care of themselves."
       I take it to mean that if I am conscious of the smallest details of Vigilance and Terrorism, I can handle the biggest ones.
      I'm not particularly an environmentalist, or run around advocating "Save The Planet," or have an urge to climb a tree and squat in it so the lumberjacks won't cut it down and destroy the home of the Spotted Owl.    From Oregon, I'm more of lumberjack than a Green-Peacer.  
      But as a grandparent, and a Vigilance Hunter, I keep a wary eye for lessons I can pass on to my grandkids and others about the threats of Terrorism.    And the biggest threat of all is Complacency, where we abdicate our responsibility to others, and assume the liability for correcting the ills of the world that fall on the shoulders of government or some "higher authority."
      But I likened the sea turtle egg Terrorism to that of abortion.    I likened it to the bombings in Israel.  To the attacks on the World Trade Center.  To the abduction, rape and killing of young children by twisted, demented humans.  I likened it to lightening striking the unsuspecting, the unwary, the uninformed.

A Hatchling


Baby Sea Turtles

And the crime is not the theft of the eggs, but the eating of them.   The real Terrorists are those who are willing to pay for and eat the Babies of Vigilance, the embryo of a beautiful creature whose existence on this earth is dwindling.
      I point my finger at the consumers of the sea turtle eggs, just as I point my finger at those who think the U.S. government is in charge of stopping Terrorism, or who believe by killing Osama bin Laden or invading Iraq we will somehow stop the march of Terrorism into our society.  It already exists.  It always has.  It always will.  
       But Terrorism is not about Osama bin Laden, or Saddam Hussein, or the abductors of little children.  Terrorism is about Fear, Intimidation and worst of all, Complacency.  It is about each individual, each parent, grandparent, loved one, not taking responsibility for Courage, Conviction and Right Action within their homes, their community, their district, region and nation.
        A sea turtle egg can be a grain of sand on a beach littered with much greater issues, or it can stand as a monolith of Terrorism, ranking equally with the World Trade Center or recent bombings of the Hebrew University, or WorldCom/Enron scandals.  It becomes a perspective, a penny that grows into a dollar.
        Southeastern Florida is the major nesting site for the sea turtle in the continental United Sates.   Over 90 percent of all sea turtles breed their young here. Nearly 10,000 nests are dug by the turtles where they lay upwards of 100 eggs.   The problem is that Florida represents the only place in the Western Hemisphere where the turtles nest in thousands, reported David Godrey, executive director of the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, a sea turtle research and conservation group.

      The business is so lucrative for the poachers, they hire drug addicts to dig up the eggs since the fine for selling eggs is a misdemeanor while stealing them is a felony.   Game Wardens conduct undercover "stings," posing as buyers, much as drug enforcement officers to stop the flow of narcotics.   But they are severely understaffed, and the area where the turtles lay their eggs encompasses a 100 miles of beach.   At $36 a dozen, one nest banks a poacher $300.   In one night, a top poacher can earn thousands.  The cost to the consumer of a ping-pong ball sized sea turtle egg is currently estimated to be three dollars.  
        So what's a sea turtle egg?
        It's not unlike an embryo in an expectant mother.
        To a liberal adult who has chosen to look at life as a "choice," and has elected to rule over the right of life of a child, or, grants that right of life to others who may elect to abort their children, there is no room for them to feel aghast at the abortion of sea turtle eggs.
        They have elected to be Terrorists of Life.   There is no escaping the fact that the right to chose whether someone inside them lives or dies is different than another person choosing to eat a sea turtle egg.   Abortion is abortion, whether  sea turtle eggs or human embryos.

       Nature doesn't draw a line in this area.
       Procreation is a purpose of life itself.   Interfering with it is a crime against Nature.   We cannot compartmentalize the issue, no matter how hard we intellectualize it, and no matter what laws "legalize it."    Nature's law rules.   Just ask Jenesse Utley, 24, the girlfriend of Nathan Maddox, the young man struck dead by lightening.  She knows Nature ultimately rules over life and death, not us.
        But we control the degrees of Terrorism that impact our lives.
        The only reason I can imagine a woman electing to have an abortion is that she is terrified of having a child, or another child.   Her Fears, her Intimidations and her Complacencies overpower her Courage, Conviction and Right Action.    The result is, she eats a sea turtle egg.
        Life is the most precious commodity we have.   When a Terrorist takes a life, he or she incurs the wrath of Nature.  So does a rapist, a murderer or anyone who takes the power of life and death into his or her hands.
        My grandchildren can be taught that humans eating the eggs of the mother sea turtle for the sheer pleasure of receiving sexual satisfaction  is wrong, selfish, greedy, unfair, a crime against Nature.    By teaching them this, they are infused with an appreciation of life.   They learn that "taking life" for no justifiable reason violates the moral code of Nature.    It is a step on the ladder toward teaching them that the child inside a woman's womb is just as precious as a sea turtle egg.
         And, it is equally fair to teach a child that if  starving, and the only food to eat was a sea turtle egg, that Nature would not argue the point.   But to eat only enough to fill oneself is the key.   And, prior to eating the egg, to ask permission of Mother Nature, to respect the fact that we all need each other, that we are all symbiotically attached.
         The lesson in Vigilance for the child would be to teach the child not to be greedy--to take more eggs than he or she needed to survive.   It would take Courage and Conviction to muster the Right Action and only "take what was needed."   The Terrorism of "starving" might force one to take more than he or she needed because Fear, Intimidation and Complacency over the plight of the turtles became secondary to the thirst to sate the belly.
         It is these kinds of lessons that a Parent of Vigilance, a Citizen of Vigilance, a Loved One of Vigilance, willingly offers to a child.    Looking over the horizon at the children's children's children, they will be denied sea turtles if the poaching continues, if society turns its head to this "grain of sand."
        Similarly, abortion will destroy our responsibility as parents if we turn our heads to it, if we hide behind manmade laws and shout:  "It's my body, I have the right to choose over life and death."
        If that were the case, we could kill anyone or anything with immunity, whether it be a sea turtle egg or the noisy neighbor who plays her stereo so loud we can't sleep.
        Adults draw all kinds of boxes around morality.  Children don't.
        Try to explain to a child the crime of stealing sea turtles and the right of a mother to kill a baby in her belly.   You'll find the child's eye fill with Terror at the idea any mother would consider killing the beauty of life within her.
        Children see life for what it is--life.   They see children as the innocent, the inheritors of the earth, members of Nature.    All the creatures are their friends.
        That's why Winnie The Pooh, and Mickey Mouse, and Little Bear and hundreds of other cartoons and story books feature animals.    The lessons of morality don't come from human beings, they come from Nature's creatures who don't make arbitrary laws that fit their selfishness at any particular moment in time.

       Children are brought up to respect and admire Nature.    Their favorite characters aren't movie stars, but animated "things" like Thomas Train, or Lowly Worm, one of Richard Scarry's multitude of "creatures" who teach children the fundamentals of life's core values--friendship, love, caring, concern, community, respect for life, teamwork, problem solving, and, most of all, love for life. 

       My grandkids are fans of the Land Before Time videos.   As I watch the shows with them, I am utterly amazed at the virtues being taught by the "long necks" that inhabit the Paradise of the valley they live in.  Of course, I love the fact that Grandpa LongNeck issues out so many wisdoms, but the essence of the show is about a diverse group of dinosaurs working together to learn lessons about life.   And then there is the Terrorist--the T-Rex--the "sharp tooth" who always tries to "eat the children."   
        The videos constantly exhibit the weakness of the LongNecks, their inability to fight off the voracious "sharp- toothed Terrorists" because they are not violent creature, they are vegetarians, not meat eaters.   But they always ban together, unify, become Citizens of Vigilance and end the Terrorism because they became one.
         They are Vigilance Videos, teaching the child to overcome his or her Fears, Intimidations and Complacencies with Courage, Conviction and Right Actions.   And, they are done with dignity and pride, as well as rich in values.
         If I suggested to my grandchildren to eat a dinosaur egg because it tasted good, and to forget about the fun little creature inside it who romped through the forest chasing butterflies and exploring the magic of the world, my grandkids would probably not let me in their apartment ever again.
         In my bathroom my wife stuck a picture of me when I was three or four years old on the wall.   She wrote on it a message for me:  "I Am God's Kid!"
        Each morning I look at it and am driven out of my adult skin, back to a child with eyes full of hope, belief and ambition to learn about life, to uncover and discover its most powerful secrets.

        I am reminded by the picture that Mother Nature is my mother, and my mother's Mother, and her mother's mother's Mother.    I have to remember that I'm not a just a human being.....but instead a human being a human....just another creature on this earth with no special privileges that any other creature doesn't have. 
        That's the message children get when they read story books.   They are taught they are "part of Nature," not separate from it.    Yet, somewhere along the line we think we rise above our first mother, Nature Herself.
        Somewhere along the evolution of our thinking, we cast away the thought of a child, and build a shell around us, assuming we have the right to indiscriminately take lives for no other reason than selfishness--the eating of a sea turtle egg; the abortion because its "incontinent" or "too much trouble," or "too embarrassing;" or we think we can strap on a bomb and kill others; or fly into buildings; or abduct and molest and kill children; or walk past some one abusing a child or another because we "don't want to get involved;" or, become Complacent and say "It's your body, you have the right to chose;" or simply shy away from the fact we are the Children of Vigilance, and accept we are Victims of Terrorism.

          A sea turtle egg?
          Yes.   It's an important issue.   It's all about where we draw the line.    Where is your line?   If you haven't drawn one, do so.   And, remember, you can always move it.  If you don't believe me, then ask Mother Nature.


Go Aug. 3--Crocodile Hunter For Homeland Security

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