Dec. 3--Monday--Ground Zero Plus 83
WAS GEORGE HARRISON A SENTINEL OF VIGILANCE—
A HERO WHO SAVED OTHERS FROM TERRORISM?
Terrorism strikes in many different ways.
Sometimes it takes away the “sounds of music.”
In 1980, it struck John Lennon as he was entering the Dakota,
his residence in New York City. A “terrorist” killed him—Mark Chapman--a
young man who said “there was a little bit of the Devil in him.” That
little bit apparently grew enough to fill him with enough rage and hate and
envy and all the things that drive a human to insane acts. He claimed in
his statement to the police that he saw John Lennon as a cardboard cutout,
not as a human being. I wondered if the Terrorists who attacked the World
Trade Center thought of America as a cardboard cutout. If they did it made
it easy for them to kill indiscriminately, just as it had made Mark Chapman
kill John Lennon on December 8 without a blink..
In memory of Lennon, a shrine was erected in Strawberry Field, just across
from the Dakota apartments where he and Yoko lived. Strawberry
Field was brought back to life the other evening in memory of the “quiet
Beatle,” George Harrison, who died at age 58 from brain cancer—another form
of terrorism that attacks from within.
Personally, I wasn’t a Beatle fan. I’m not a music fan at all,
so its not in disrespect that I have little knowledge of Harrison’s
contribution to an era of music that falls within my generation.
When the Beatles hit America, I was en route to the Marine Corps and then to
Vietnam. My mind was on fighting “terrorism,” not singing songs or
listening to music.
the years, I have found that the Beatles branded the hearts of many millions
of people throughout the world. Their name and their style live with
the legends not just of music, but of a reformation of attitude, a
reconstruction of thinking within an evolving generation.
to go to the vigil not to honor an old friend, but to witness people giving
tribute to an icon. I’ve found a sense of reverence at vigils
lately. Attending so many here in New York City in the wake and
aftermath of Nine Eleven has been a healthy experience for me. After
Vietnam, I shut down my ability to honor the dead. I guess it was a way of
protecting myself. But recently, I’ve opened those floodgates,
and been able to feel the “loss” of others, and in some minute way, let
myself grieve over the loss of so many of my friends and comrades in
Vietnam, as well as for the Vietnamese people who suffered through the
traumas and horrors of war.
noted that at a vigil people’s hearts seem to melt with the candle wax
consumed by the flickering wicks that burn sallow light in the darkness, as
though that small flame were a repository of a life full of memories,
feelings, emotions of love, caring, and, of course, sadness at the passing.
To reach the vigil, my wife and I walked through Central Park from the East
Side to the West Side. The journey was not a joyous event.
Central Park is dark and ominous—kind of a “Jack The Ripper” movie set.
Park lights offer a pale glow oozing into the shadows of trees and bushes
where “evil” may lurk.
No matter how
big and tough looking I am, the stroll at night makes you as wary of every
step as though you were on ambush patrol in the jungle wondering who was
stalking you. A rustle here or there swings your attention to the
possibility of someone leaping out and threatening you with a knife or gun
just for a watch or wallet or purse. I feared most the crack-crazed
junkie who wouldn’t be threatened or afraid, only bent on killing for a next
fix. I showed no fear, even though I was ready “for anything.” I
thought it ironic I was experiencing the tension of Terrorism on my way to
extol the virtues of a “peacenik.”
At the vigil, an air of rejoicing filled the
air. Beatle music wafted through Strawberry Field. Voices
were volumed down a low murmur as people gathered around the shrine to John
Lennon, which now had been converted to a shrine for George Harrison.
candles and thousands of flowers created mountains of memories of the man
whom many called the “spiritual power” behind the Beatles.
Groups of old and young were clustered about the park, singing Beatle songs
under the clear, warm December night. A bright moon glistened above as
though placed there to let the world below know the heavens were in harmony
with the people it shined upon.
A bagpiper came
and began to “pipe George to heaven,” a tradition in honor of the
dead. But the loud screeching played by a seemingly inexperienced piper drowned out the singing.
There was a moment of tension as the crowd politely moaned at the intrusion,
but then in true George Harrison Beatle style, resolved the issue by
breaking into the song: “Let’s Work It Out". They worked it out.
The event, I thought, was a vigil within a vigil.
Around New York
City, candles were still flickering in memory for the heroes of September
11. Many flickered their last gasps as the passing days shoved
the vivid recollection of a horrible event deep into the mind where
eventually the present would snuff its dominance. Those
candles flickered for heroes of a “day of infamy.”
Strawberry Field, another hero was being honored. The songs
Harrison wrote for the Beatles and the music he played had become a
sanctuary from “terrorism within” for many who came to honor his death.
I wondered how
many of his “fans” had found respite from a world of emotional troubles when
they listened to his songs. How many had been lifted out of depression
or alienation of the self over the years when Beatle records spun, or the
recordings of the sound tracks soothed and massaged worn edges of their
minds, relaxing them, taking them away from life’s daily terrorisms into
“strawberry fields” where the beat and sounds and lyrics massaged the
tension of the soul, and perhaps helped them become a little kinder, a
little more tolerant of others, a little more “human.”
Harrison was indeed the “spiritual power” of the Beatles, perhaps his
magical skills in music writing and the telling of stories through lyrics,
had kept someone from falling off the edge of life. Perhaps his
skill with a pen had inked out deep-rooted messages of love and tolerance of
others and touched a “lost soul” trapped in the terror of life.
If that were
true, then George Harrison was a Sentinel of Vigilance. He was a
“hero.” Like the firemen, police or emergency workers of Nine
Eleven, he may not have rushed into the burning embers of the World Trade
Center and hauled people over his shoulder to safety, but, his words and
their impact might have reached the despondent, suicidal human soul hanging
by the threads of self-worthlessness. They might have strengthened
that “terrorized soul’s” resolve to live just another day—just enough to
come back to their senses and become a viable human being.
No one will ever know
what impact he had on disenfranchised, or how many his music might have
saved from desperation, or, how many hearts he might have opened with the
keys of love and compassion that filled the themes of the Beatle music.
As I watched people
kneeling and the tears flowing from their eyes, I noted their tears were not
unlike those that fell from the loved ones of the victims of the World Trade
Center. They were tears of honor and privilege, christening the memory
of someone who had meant so much in life, they were willing to display their
sadness at his passing in public.
I had to salute George Harrison, even though I didn’t know him.
Just as I had saluted the heroes of Nine Eleven, even if I didn’t know them.
Heroes of Terrorism come in
I think George Harrison
must have been one of them.
2, Sunday--Ground Zero Plus 82
WHY EVERY CHILD SHOULD GET A GINSU KNIFE
FOR CHRISTMAS TO "SCARE" TERRORISM AWAY
I’m a sucker for a good deal and a great salesman. I found that
to be truth one more time as I strolled the K-Mart in the East Village, and
heard the Blue Light Special being announced—a free knife to be given away
to all customers just for shopping at K-Mart!
York City--and for that matter, anywhere in the world--a “free” offer
usually comes with strings or giant barbed hooks attached.
Nevertheless, I wandered up to the third floor to see what the deal was, and
how big the hook would be for me to get my “free knife.”
delight, the barker was touting Ginsu Knives. For the first time
in history, the Ginsu was going to be sold retail, he announced.
K-Mart was going to be one of its biggest outlets.
been thinking about getting a knife to carry in my backpack for some sort of
protection. Not that I really need one. I’m 6-4 and
weigh 266.5 pounds. People make a wide swath around me because I have
a rather threatening countenance—not intentionally—it’s just that I’m
serious about most things and find smiling difficult.
realized that if I were ever in a life-threatening situation where I needed
protection, I had none except a loud growl and a grimacing face.
On the practical side, a small paring knife would be utilitarian when I
needed to cut something, or open one of those incredibly sealed plastic
packages that require superhuman force to enter.
seduction of the word “free” it led me to the lion’s den. At the
top of the escalator on the third floor stood Mr. Ginsu and a cluster of
people as eager as I to “grab my free knife and run.” He started
his spiel. Like any good barker, his pitch was engaging and
interesting. He told us that in a moment or two we would all get
our “free” knife, but after he finished demonstrating the power of the new
“Extreme Edge” Ginsu Knife and the “special offer” that would “change our
and I have owned an original Ginsu for over thirty years. I
didn’t need to be sold on its long-lasting or multi-purpose value. I’d
cut tree limbs, meat, tomatoes—even butchered a wild boar I shot on Catalina
Island with it. My head bobbed like one of those “dunking ducks” that
forever goes up and down into a glass of water as he demonstrated the Ginsu’s ability to “cut anything.” I was pre-sold. My
mouth began to drool when he turned the “free” into something more
intriguing. For only $22 cash, you could get not one, not two, but
three Ginsu Knives if you bought right then with cash. Wait.
There’s more, the said, aping the famous “pile-on” commercials on television
that turn a single offer into a mountainous value of additional products.
addition to three “indestructible Ginsu Knives,” he boasted, “you get not
one, but two paring knives.”
to reach for my money. “And,” he punctuated, “you still get more.
You get a fillet knife that can cut paper-thin pieces of meat or vegetables,
or shave the skin off the shark in Jaws.”
Wait There’s still more,” rang his excited Voice as the fish before him
began to rise to the surface to take the bait. “You didn’t have
to fly to Disney World to get this free juicer.” He took a small
yellow plug device and jammed it into an orange, squeezed the orange and a
flow of fresh juice gushed into his mouth. “You get two of these
in the package deal. Just stick them in an orange, squeeze the orange,
and let the juice flow right into your mouth.”
I had my
money out. With the Ginsu deal, I would be totally armed to fight
Terrorism. Three Ginsu Knives with indestructible blades, two paring
knives, one fillet knife, and two juicers—I was ready for anything, counting
on nothing. I could fight anyone anywhere and refresh myself
between battles by drinking orange juice with my juicer plug.
over my cash, grabbed my package and headed out of K-Mart, happy as Knight
about to enter the Championship Challenge. I was armed to the hilt for
any Terrorist or enemy of state, neighborhood or family.
figured on the realistic side, the knives would make great Christmas gifts
if I didn’t receive a call from the White House to become Deputy Chief of
cold air of reality hit me upon exiting K-Mart, I thought about the
vigilance of the Ginsu Knife blade. It was a manufacturer’s example of
Semper Vigilantes—Always Vigilant. My “old” Ginsu knife
was still as sharp and utilitarian as it was three decades ago. It
still could cut through anything. It was there, always ready.
Terrorism, I thought, fed on the dull blade of readiness.
Terrorism waited for the knives of a nation to lose their keen edge of
readiness. Terrorism sat back in the shadows of complacency
counting the minutes until a nation’s knife of preparedness became so
dull it couldn’t cut a tomato. America hadn’t prepared for an
attack. Its sharp edge had been dulled, caught off-guard by the
boldness and insanity of what could happen if we weren’t prepared.
and nations have a tendency, like a knife blade, to become dull and
complacent after prolonged disuse of vigilance. It happened at
Pearl Harbor, in Oklahoma City, at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
It could have happened at the White House if the passengers on the ill-fated
plane hadn’t assaulted the Terrorists. Currently, our nation’s attention to Terrorism may be razor sharp, but as
time passes, and the “threat” desiccates, as the memory of September 11
fades as it did with Pearl Harbor, I wondered if our vulnerability to
Terrorism will grow in proportionately dull.
Knife was a reminder that a blade can be kept sharp over long periods of
time—decades, even centuries-- if vigilance is manufactured into the
product. This meant we needed to do more than wave flags, or think that
killing bin Laden would erase Terrorism from our lives. We
needed something to sharpen our keen edge all the time—something to keep us
Semper Vigilantes—Always, not Sometimes, Vigilant.
have proven their capacity as a nation of vigilant citizens to stave off
most enemies. Each Swiss citizen is armed, part of a militia,
ready to do battle with anyone or anything that attempts to attack or
threaten its security. Men, women and children are all part of the
common goal of protecting the homeland. And, least we forget, they
invented the remarkable “Swiss Knife.”
isn’t probable that every American household be trained and qualified in how
to use a machine gun, or stow it under the bed in the advent of an attack,
it is critical that America find some tool like the Ginsu Knife to remind
itself that protection from Terrorism is a matter of keeping one’s blade of
preparedness sharp and ready to attack any threat.
to achieve this sharp edge is to take the Pledge of Vigilance.
Once taken, it can be restated daily, weekly, monthly. Taking
the Pledge of Vigilance repeatedly over time is like sharpening one’s blade
of preparedness. It forces the mind to keep the foremost thought alive
and vigilant about battling those threats to our freedom that attack us
either externally—such as the September 11th invasion upon our
security and freedom---or, those more insidious attacks that come from
“Internal Terrorism” is the most nefarious of all enemies in my opinion.
When we, as citizens, parents, or children, experience “fear,”
“intimidation,” or “complacency,” we are being assaulted by “evil doers of
the mind.” Not unlike bin Laden or the Terrorist groups seeking to
wound America’s security, these Terrorist Thoughts attempt to emotionally
cripple us—render us unable to protect ourselves from feeling of
“self-worthlessness,” or “self-deprecation,” or, “self-flagellation.”
Terrorism can only be fought with a keen, sharp emotional blade that cuts
through the power of the crippling feeling or thought and exposes its
entrails. When we develop the power to carve into the marrow of
our thoughts and feelings, we realize that F-E-A-R is nothing more an
acronym for False-Evidence-Appearing-Real.
We begin to realize
that Intimidation is nothing more than lowering our self-esteem on the
grounds we are less than another because “we,” not “they,” are comparing
Being vigilant allows
us to fight the rut of complacency that we are “always going to be this
way,” and to take action against the status quo that often buries us in a
grave of defeatism and turns us into sniveling victims of society, or
want-to-be contenders that challenge the opportunities we are offered under
a free state to escape our self-imposed limitations.
why I believe the Ginsu Knife should be given to children for
Christmas. I don’t mean the real knife, but rather the emotional
one. A child is vulnerable to fears and injustices we cannot
fathom. As adults, over the years, we have buried our own
fears, intimidations and complacencies in deep dark caves and tunnels within
our minds. The Terroristic feelings reappear out of the shadows
of the past when we feel low, or less than, or are stricken by fears of
unworthiness, or feelings of inadequacy. The Terror of thinking
you are unworthy, or a victim of society, or stuck into a grave of routine
and unhappiness is just as threatening as opening an envelope and inhaling
Emotional Strength” is about teaching a child to cut through his or her Fear
and find the Courage to fillet it. It’s about a child knowing that if
he or she keeps a vigilant eye open for feelings of Intimidation, the Ginsu
Knife of Emotional Security will cut through the feelings of being
“less-than,” or “not-as pretty-as,” or “not-as-rich-as,” or
“not-as-popular-as” and reveal the conviction necessary to fight the
Knife Of Emotional Security to me is the Pledge of Vigilance. If
one takes the Pledge, and reaffirms it daily, weekly or monthly, it sharpens
the child’s ability to fight Internal Terrorism. It arms the child
with ability to peel away the layers of fear, intimidation and complacency
so he or she can find the courage, conviction and action necessary to
counter-balance these Internal Terrorists.
Pledge of Vigilance as a parent of a child, or the loved one of a child, or
the grandparent of a child, helps the child battle Terrorism Within.
It provides a guardianship of the child’s emotional well-being so the
collateral emotional damage of Terrorist Feelings will be minimal.
the Ginsu Knife of Vigilance will last a lifetime. It will cut
through any Fear, any Intimidation, and any Complacency. And it’s on
sale now. For just the effort of taking the Pledge of Vigilance you
receive not just Courage, not just Conviction, and not just Action to
replace fear, intimidation and complacency—but you also receive as a bonus
for acting today, the knowledge you are doing something vital to fight
Terrorism in your child or loved one.
I guarantee it will do all of this and more…or, you can have your money
Emotional Ginsu Knife Owner
To: "Day Of Infamy"
- 2004, VigilanceVoice.com, All rights reserved - a ((HYYPE))