On an evening of Broadway magic under the stars, a cab swerves
out of no where to attack a Jewish man standing on a corner. It
is an act of Taxi Terrorism, intending to inflict Fear, Intimidation
and Complacency upon its victim. It is a reminder that
Terrorism is lurking, waiting for us to fall asleep. Find
out how to combat Taxi Terror.
2003—Ground Zero Plus 643
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZER0, New York, New
York--June 17, 2003-- Last night my wife and I went to over
twenty Broadway musicals, plus a near-miss Terrorist attack.
It could only happen in New York
City. Well, perhaps the Terror attack could
have happened anywhere, for that matter.
Behind the New
York Public Library is a huge block of green called Bryant
Park. It is a gathering place for people at
lunch who work near Times Square and a respite for thousands
on weekends. The park is also an open theater for
a multitude of performances, including circuses that come
to the Big Apple, annual fashion shows, and public concerts.
Last night Broadway showed
2nd Annual Broadway Under The Stars
Time Warner presented the 2nd Annual Broadway Under The
Stars, billed to be hosted by Antonio Banderas and his wife,
Broadway performances were slated, with top stars such as
Chita Rivera, Jane Krakowski, Liz Callawy, Mark Kudish,
Andrea McArdle, Marin Mazzie and a special appearance by
Jewel performed to lawn-packed audience of more than 10,000
people packed like sardines in one of New York's more famous
Antonio Banderas was inflicted with a sore throat and fever,
so wife Melanie brought a picture of him and posted it on
the stage attempting to appease the audience.
Introducing the performers
were Edie Falco, Mary Stuart Masterson, Brian Stokes Mitchell
and Allyson Tucker.
It was a chilly night with
a stiff wind coursing through the tall buildings, reminding
everyone that while the Broadway singers were warm and fuzzy,
the world still carried a sharp sting to it.
That draft was the breath of the
Beast of Terror.
out a table on the edge of the grass about 4:30 p.m.
The show was slated to start at 8 p.m. My wife came
about 5:30. I had my laptop and pounded out some stories
before the crowd pressed in and made any kind of concentration
To guard our spot, we took bathroom
breaks in shifts.
Anyone familiar with New York City
knows that finding a bathroom is one of the constant challenges
one faces in mega-urban living. Toys 'R Us was
a couple of long blocks away, and as grandparents we knew
the facilities well because we often take our grandkids
there. It is the world's largest toy store, replete
with a huge Ferris wheel and a giant, animated dinosaur.
It sits in the heart of Times Square.
My wife took the first bathroom
break. It took her nearly an hour to push, cajole
and wend her way through the bodies crushing into the park
and do her toilet as well return with a steak sandwich from
TAD's, a famous steakhouse where you can order a 24-ounce,
juicy T-bone steak, potato and salad for $15--a deal
in a city where beef is usually sold a high premium.
tall buildings were sentinels above and around the
get a chance to talk about her near Terror attack until
after the show, for when she returned I left to squeeze
through the sardine-packed crowd--a wall of human flesh
all late-comers trying to find a patch of grass or gravel
to capture one of New York's big events: Broadway in one
spot for one performance and all for free.
a big Broadway fan for I hate the small seats and, unless
I'm right up front, I drift off. And, for $150
to $250 for best-house seats, I'd rather capture all the
stars in one evening than jam my 270-pound, 6-4 frame into
a midget-sized seat next to a lady who just enrolled in
Overeaters Anonymous and failed her first test.
By the time I got back,
the show started.
next couple of hours it was engaging, exciting, energy-filled
and lyrically beautiful when singers such as Linda Eder
sang "Someone Like You" from Jekyll and Hyde.
behind us were the father, an aunt and other relatives of
a young girl named Christiana Anbri who sang a duet with
a boy, William Ullrich, from the show Oliver. Anbri
had starred in Les Miserables before the
show's recent losing. We cheered along with them and
rooted and hooted when the song ended.
As the show ended and
we started to follow the herds of people out of the park
toward the subways at 42nd Street, my wife relayed the story
of the near Terror attack.
My wife is a Terror
attack veteran. She's been assaulted twice in
New York, surviving both attempts. Right after
we arrived we took a tai chi course. One evening
as my wife was walking up on 14th street in the early evening,
a man tried to rip off her purse. She smoothly
moved into one of the tai chi positions we had been
learning--a shift to one leg, a half turn, a cock of the
elbow and a slam of the elbow into the attacker's chest.
It worked. He
was knocked back and down, and my wife rushed away.
On another occasion, she was walking around the Cooper Union,
a world-famous architectural school a few blocks from our
house. She took a short cut where there was some construction,
and as she stepped over a piece of lumber a hand shot out
and grabbed at her ankle. Instincts prevailed
and she smashed the hand with her other foot and sped off,
escaping Terrorism's grips a second time.
She also witnessed
the attack on Nine Eleven and saw the planes smashing into
the World Trade Center from the East Village where we live.
And, of course, she has lived with me for more than four
decades--a more valid form of her ability to withstand Terrorism
of all degrees.
But there was
a shocking awareness of Terrorism's current reality brought
to bear upon her last evening.
On her trek to
find a bathroom and get a sandwich prior to the performance,
she was waiting at a busy corner to cross 7th Avenue.
Pedestrians edge a few feet into the street to get a jump
on the street light, or to cross when the one-way traffic
yellow cab driver intentionally swerved his car to
scare a Jew
My wife was standing next to a Jewish man who was wearing
his yarmulke, a small cap Jewish men wear.
As they spied the traffic coming up the street, my wife
noted one of the 11,000 Yellow Cabs that dart and weave
around the city bearing down toward them. Suddenly,
it swerved, aimed directly at the Jewish man next to her.
They both jumped back and looked into the glaring face of
a driver wearing a turban.
tried to run you over!" My wife related she gasped
out the words. "He tried to hit you!"
know," the Jewish man said. "They do that
all the time."
Muslims. They try to run us over."
Lori, didn't get a chance to ask any more questions.
The Jewish "target of opportunity" rushed across
the street, disappearing into the thickening crowd.
a lesson here, Cliff," Lori said calmly. "Don't
stand next to a Jewish person on the edge of the street
- especially where there may be taxis passing by."
felt a chill.
Nine Eleven, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek story about the 11,000
cabs and 44,000 drivers of Yellow Cabs, suggesting they
were part of a Middle Eastern conspiracy. If there
was an attack on the nation, mobilizing all the cab drivers
as suicide bombers would do more damage to the city than
a fleet of planes smashing into buildings.
became upset when cabs went from this.....
I became upset about the fact that on one single day all
the cabs that had been flying American flags suddenly went
naked. Overnight the flags disappeared.
I was convinced there had been an organized effort to put
them on the cabs, and, an equally organized effort to remove
them when the "coast got clear."
I proposed, there was the ability for instant appearance
and dispense of "cab flags," then there must be
a powerful communication flow between all the cab drivers.
I let my imagination flow and thought, "what a great
network for al-Qaeda! A mechanized division
of cabs able to transport Weapons of Mass Destruction anywhere
with impunity. If they could hoist and unhoist
flags in unison, why not pack their trunks with fertilizer
and ram them into buildings?
paid little attention to my conspiracy theory, even though
for months I asked every cab driver I rode with why he took
down his flag, and got the same response--"it wore
out and new ones are too expensive."
also figured I'd not fuel the fires of prejudice or false
accusation. While humorous, the idea was also
after my wife told me the story of the Jewish man, and her
eyewitness of the event, I began to reconsider the idea.
if they cab drivers were just waiting?
the drivers were practicing their sharp shooting by picking
out targets to do dry runs, practice sorties to insure that
the day the command came down, they could zero in on certain
people at certain corners to inflict maximum casualties.
and Palestinian conflict
Despite the attempt to get the Roadmap to Peace moving at
high speed, Terrorism between the Israelis and Palestinians
Jewish man hadn't made the comment--"They do
it all the time"--I might have thought the cab incident
might be isolated.
with a burr under his saddle could make a dangerous statement
by nearly sideswiping a pedestrian from a country he held
great enmity against.
there was that conspiracy theory that rattled about in my
nefarious mind. As a combat vet of more than
100 insurgencies against the Viet Cong and a survivor of
the World Trade Center attack, I understood how the enemy
He waited. He
planned. He plotted.
Then, when the time
was right, he attacked.
Complacency, the third
and most powerful Triad of Terrorism, which also includes
Fear and Intimidation, is the great seducer of Vigilance.
Complacency makes most
people think the worst is over, and forces them to want
to believe they don't have to be Sentinels of Vigilance,
that they can put the Sword of Vigilance back into its scabbard
and pluck flowers and dance around the maypole with impunity.
of Complacency shout for peace and demand the reduction
of arms, the elimination of military spending, the dissolution
of involvement in world affairs that "are not our business."
investigations to castigate government bodies that attack
known Terrorists who threaten the world with tyranny and
pay suicide bombers $25,000 to kill innocent people, claiming
that America falsified intelligence data to "go to
to roll up the borders of Vigilance and snuff out any attempts
to cut the legs of the Beast of Terror off before he leaps
across oceans and foreign lands to attack the Homeland.
They claim acts of aggression are criminal, illegal, immoral
attempts to promote an administration and political agenda,
and refuse to look at its long-term strategy to protect
the Children's Children's Children. They ignore facts of
homicide and genocide committed prior to the attack, and
try and turn the Soldiers of Vigilance into Beasts of Terror--all
in an effort to strip and denude the power of protection
over the land and the world.
became Complacent toward cab drivers
I fell victim to this Complacency regarding my instincts
about the cab drivers.
After Nine Eleven,
I forgot about them. I chose to give them the
benefit of the doubt. I became Complacent.
actions of a some cab drivers does not suggest that every
one of the 11,000 Yellow Cabs in New York City are kamikazes,
bent on one day wiping out as many Jews in New York as possible.
But, there is
no doubt that some of the drivers believe they are piloting
a 4,000-pound steel bomb capable of crushing their "enemy"
and willing to swerve out of the traffic flow to strike
Fear and Intimidation into those standing on exposed corners.
And, it is a
reminder that Terrorism takes many circuitous forms.
It can twist and worm its way through the traffic of life,
appearing to be "normal" until it swerves out
of the flow and bears down on a target.
As a citizen
of the world, I don't like the idea of "profiling"
the enemy. New York City police, as other law
enforcement agencies, are constantly being monitored for
"profiling" certain ethnic groups. There
is a line where the blur of bigotry and prejudice cross
and one cannot see anything but hate for another group,
regardless of another's innocence.
I am cautious
about crossing that line.
At the same time,
I am a Sentinel of Vigilance. In Vietnam, I went on
numerous ambushes. I was always aware, as any hunter
or hunted, that the "bad guy" can pop out of no
where. I am aware that to survive one must "expect
must keep my hand on the Sword of Vigilance
I would like peace and prosperity to rule. I would
like the Beast of Terror to be banished from the land.
Now, I must be
extra cautious. First, I must avoid corners and Jewish
people next to me. I worry about my grandchildren,
my daughter standing at a corner waiting to cross with her
children, standing next to a Jewish person that may become
the target of a mad cab driver, eager to side swipe a person
he believes is his enemy. I worry about such a person
taking out the innocent.
I end up keeping my hand on the hilt of my Sword of Vigilance.
the music of Broadway in the background, but in the foreground,
I hear the trumpet of Vigilance, warning me to not fall
tells me to keep promoting the Pledge of Vigilance.
the Road to Peace should be renamed, the Road to Vigilance.
we all need to sign the Pledge of Vigilance, since the Pledge
of Peace isn't working.
June 16--The De-Evolution of Man vs.
The Evolution of Women
- 2004, VigilanceVoice.com, All rights reserved -