After 600 days of TerrorHunting and 51.8 million seconds since the
Terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, what has been learned?
Has the War on Terror moved toward victory, or are we all intoxicated
by what we think is victory. Find out whether the Beast of
Terror is alive or dead after 600 days.
5, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 600
600 Days From Ground Zero
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZER0, NEW YORK, NY--It has been 600 days
plus one from the Terrorist attack on the World Trade Center,
Pentagon, and attempted attack on the White House that was thwarted by
passengers on Flight 93.
of Vigilance were born on Ground Zero
Time, broken into its components since the attack,
represents 14,400 hours, 864,000 minutes and 51.8 million seconds.
In comparison, it took less than ten seconds for the World Trade
Center Towers to crash, burying nearly 3,000 victims, one-third of
whom were from different countries.
I count the days from Ground Zero with a Zero.
I make September 11, 2001, Ground Zero Day--that point where the past
stopped and the future began. For me, it was the Birth of
the Sentinels of Vigilance, for as I sat in the rubble and ashes of
destruction, I saw them rise up, hands held, eyes scanning the horizon
for signs of the Beast of Terror.
Their mission: To stand Vigilant against future
attacks from the Beast of Terror, and to serve as teachers, role
models for Parents of Vigilance so they might learn to protect their
children, and their Children's Children's Children from the Beast of
The Era of
Vigilance was born when the War on Terrorism began
That day, six hundred sunrises ago plus one, was
a momentous day in my life, and a major turning point in world
history. It launched the War on Terrorism, but it also
gave birth to war's counterpart--the Era of Vigilance.
Today, in the wake of battles in Afghanistan and
the recent crushing of Saddam Hussein's reign of Terror in Iraq, one
might be inclined to think history will punctuate September 11 as an
historic date equal to those of World War II's liberation of Japan and
Europe. I believe it will be remembered far more
gloriously than that.
If September 11 is a lesson rather than an example
of man's inhumanity upon man, it will rise into history as the Dawn of
Vigilance, one of the bookends of a world not intent on killing
Terrorism as much as disarming it.
Terrorism--the sum of the Fear, Intimidation and
Complacency that wracks a society under threat from the unknown, unseen
forces threatening its security, especially that of the innocent and
children--cannot be killed.
It is part of the nature of human beings, for
Terrorism is a malignant growth of Fear, the cancerous malformation of
Intimidation, and the narcosis of Complacency. Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency are standard issues of human beings'
emotional chemistry. Under normal conditions, Fear helps
produce Courage, Intimidation boosts the manufacturing of Conviction,
and selflessly directed Right Actions selflessly sprout out of Complacency.
To believe we can remove Terrorism from the world
is as logical as saying we can remove night from swallowing day, or
eliminate all bad from the good, or make any object or living thing
perfect--void of any flaw
The venom of
Terrorism can be reduced
Terrorism is one of human beings great character
defects, of that there is no question, but it is not one that can be exorcised from human nature, or surgically extracted, or genetically
altered. However, Terrorism can be managed. It can be
stunted. Its growth can be crushed. That which
fertilizes it--Fear, Intimidation and Complacency--can be treated with
Courage, Conviction and Right Actions so that the venom of Terrorism
that leads to war and human mutilation can be reduced, and even
But its threat will never leave us.
Even though we might find ways to imprison it, it
will still be doing push ups. It will still lie awake at night
waiting for human Fear, or human Intimidation, or the worst of all
possibilities, human Complacency, to swing open its door and allow it
free reign to haunt, stalk and brutalize the unsuspecting, the
unaware, the unprepared.
Hopefully, over the past 600 days and more than
51 million seconds of time, we Americans and others throughout the
world watching the War on Terrorism rip the entrails out of societies,
would agree that Terrorism grew because the world turned its head to
the Beast of Terror.
Nations, in selfish desires to feed
themselves the bounty of other nations goods and services, or to
receive rewards for feeding them such bounty, turned their heads to
the tyranny and despotism of Terroristic states. Hiding
under the veil of sovereignty, these nations turned a blind eye to the
mask of Terrorism.
The United States joined countless other
nations such as Germany, France, Russia and China by supplying future
Terrorist nations with tools and weapons in exchange for support, only
to have the Beast of Terror turn.
No one is pure.
We were like
these rabbits turning a blind eye to Terrorism
But that doesn't mean that mistakes create
a sinner. If mistakes have value, they are often brutal
and sometimes bloody lessons for the future. They form a cry for the
need to change behavior so that such mistakes will not be repeated, so
that less blood and fewer mangled bodies will result.
Stopping Terrorism in its tracks isn't
really about stopping war, it's about stopping the events that lead to
The suicide bomber and tyrant all become
Terrorists as a result of how they were shaped. Their chemistry
as human beings is the cause of their Terrorism, for along the path of
life they have chosen the brutality of others as their mission, and
have a twisted sense that power results in the dominance of one person
over another, either for selfish reasons such as Saddam Hussein's
thirst for ego glorification, or the child abuser's hunger to see the
innocent tremble with loss of purity and power.
Our thoughts shape Terrorism.
When we allow our Fears, Intimidations and Complacencies to grow
unchecked, they form grotesque creatures in our minds, twisting our
sense of humanity into inhumanity, whether it be to become king and
rule over all, or to become deified as a "holy warrior" who finds
Paradise awaits those who kill others in the name of God or some cause.
Emotional Terrorism precedes Physical
Terrorism, for without the clay of a human being shaped in such a
manner as to cause death and destruction, or Fear, Intimidation and
Complacency to be fuels for their own sense of power, there would be
That's why on September 11, 2001, 600 days
ago, I vowed to become a TerrorHunter. I vowed to do everything
humanely possible to alert every human being within reach of my words
and examples that the Beast of Terror stalks within us all, and to
combat the Beast, we must become Sentinels of Vigilance, Parents and
Citizens of Vigilance.
With more than 1.5 million words, I have
done my best daily to remind myself and all who are in earshot of my
messages that they must look in the mirror each day and vow to battle
the Beast of Terror for Terrorism to be put in check.
To think, imagine or pretend that
governments or police or society as a whole will protect the
individual or child from Terrorism is pure folly.
Only the Sentinel of Vigilance can do that,
for only another human being can help another human being belay his or
her Fear, Intimidation and Complacency by example. When we
all begin to act in one concert, making decisions not based solely on
our selfish needs, but on the selfless needs of the Children's
Children's Children, we are now on the right path toward winning the
War on Terrorism.
The battle against Terrorism is the battle
of Courage over Fear, of Conviction over Intimidation, and Right
Actions for future generations or selfish Complacency.
I vowed to
become a TerrorHunter as well as a Parent and Grandparent of
In more than a million words, I've
shaped tools to fight Terrorism's roots. My contribution
to the War on Terrorism is a weeding tool, a way to yank out TerrorThoughts before they take hold.
But they work only for those willing to
take the Vow of Vigilance, willing to take the Pledge of Vigilance,
and then to combat TerrorThoughts and turn them into Vigilant
Thoughts, and the Right Actions necessary to remove Terrorism from the
I hear the Sentinels of Vigilance reminding
me each and every day of my duty. And while it
sometimes seems futile and useless that anyone will listen to me, I
keep trudging, believing not so much in myself as in the innocence of
the children, and their right to be protected from Terrorism's wrath.
I think of the Terrorist not as the suicide
bomber or the Osama bin Laden or the Saddam Hussein, or the Adolph
Hitler or Stalin.
I think of the Terrorist as the parent who
ignores a child's need for love, or a relative who abuses a child, or
a teacher who tells a child "You're not as smart as the other kids,"
as one once told me. I think of a Terrorist as the
mother or father is "too busy" to go over the child's homework, or the
man or woman passed over for a promotion who looks in the mirror and
says, "I'm a loser...a nobody. I'm a failure."
I think of the teenagers who see others laughing
and enjoying life, and consider themselves too poor or too fat or too
ugly to be a "popular person" and takes out a knife and carves "Loser"
on their soul.
Terrorists are people who sit in armchairs
complaining about the world and life, berating ethnic groups in front
of children or grandchildren, setting examples of bigotry and
prejudice that can morph into monsters.
This is my "Terrorism Killing Field."
It is the loss of human character from within, a mind full of time
bombs planted by parents and guardians who instead of promoting
Courage over Fear, let Fear rule the child - Who, instead of
teaching Conviction over Intimidation, lets his or her child or ward
cower in the face of life - Who instead of standing up for what is
right, tells the child--"Don't Rock The Boat. Duck, it's safer.
Don't get involved. Survive!"
The past 600 days has been a constant
battle for me, but one that I am glad I have fought. And one
that never ends.
While on the horizon Kim Jong Il looms with
his weapons of mass destruction, a scene just as frightening is
playing itself out in a home somewhere in America. A mother or father is
angry because of something and swings around fiercely to the child
tugging at his or leg and spews: "Don't bother me, don't you see
ignores or abuses a child
The cold, icy knife driven in the
heart of a child seeking love and attention is far more horrible than
3,000 adult bodies buried under millions of tons of rubble at the
World Trade Center. The reason it is more horrible is because it
happens ever day, times a hundred, times a thousand, in both small and
I fight this Terrorism, for it
is this abuse that shapes the Saddam Husseins, and the Kim Jong Ils
and whomever is about to take their place.
But it can be stopped.
When we, as a society and
individuals believe Terrorism starts within, and can be stopped
within, then we have become members of the Era of Vigilance.
Join us. Take the Pledge
of Vigilance today. There's a fresh 600 days just ahead.
May 2--"All Glory is
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