cd6-20-03- - All the news that's fit to print about fighting Terrorism with Vigilance
Article Overview:   Harry Potter faces the Beast of Terror tonight at 12:01 a.m.  Will he win?   Millions of readers in 200 countries will devour J.K. Rowling's newest book in 55 languages.    But, will the Beast of Terror be driven away as a result?   Only Harry Potter knows.


Friday--June 20, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 646
Harry Potter vs. The Beast of Terror
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

  GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--June 20, 2003--Bespeckled Harry Potter is preparing for Round Five with the Beast of Terror.  The bout begins at 12:01 a.m. tonight, the eve of the shortest day of the year.

Newest Harry Potter book goes on sale at 12:01 a.m.

     Millions of children in more than 200 countries, plus an army of parents, friends and loved ones, are poised to rush their local bookstores as the bewitching hour unfolds.  Their mission: to buy the 896 page opus, in which Harry Potter and his friends battle the Beast of Terror's Fear, Intimidation and Complacency in the magical and mythical lands of J. K. Rowling's imagination.
     In this book, rumors rage that one of the characters will die.  If it is true, it will be a reminder to dragon slayers that, "sometimes the dragon wins."  But, like life, it also means we have to go on.
     According to record-setting pre-sales, even death won't stop the rich and poor children worldwide from reading Harry's latest adventure, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, in 55 different languages including Braille.
     This fifth installment of Harry Potter's adventures sets a new first-printing record, with 8.5 million copies flooding bookstores worldwide.   The new book will join the already 200 million copies of previous  Harry Potter titles that have captured the imagination of a global generation, and sparked the reality that the Beast of Terror's Triad--Fear, Intimidation and Complacency--can be driven from a child's world with the magic and wizardry of Courage, Conviction and Right Actions.
      The Harry Potter series proves it doesn't take a superhero to achieve this goal.
      Harry, an orphan, looks like a nerd and is riddled with the defects of character all 13-year-olds burden,  but he battles his Fear, Intimidation and Complacency with the power tools of any Sentinel-of-Vigilance-in-training.   Harry attends wizard school with other children, learning how to battle the demons of imagination with magic and witchcraft.

Harry looks like a nerd yet fights his battles using the Tools of Vigilance

       Author Rowling deftly carves the issue of Vigilance and Terrorism into a distinct world of black and white.  "You either walk into the woods full of giant spiders, or you don't.   Stand up to bullies, or hide from them.  Hang on to hope, or surrender to fear."
       The choice isn't always easy.
       Harry and his friends face common challenges any child or adult faces in life.  How do you muster at least One Percent more Courage than Fear to face the giant spiders?   How do you handle the Intimidation of a bully threatening you with Conviction when he's ten feet taller than you and as frightening as running into Saddam Hussein, accompanied by Osama bin Laden, in a dark alley?   And, how do you shun Complacency when all around you others are ducking and running the other way, leaving you to either run with them or take the Right Actions not just for yourself, but for your helpless friend caught in the Beast of Terror's jaws?

Hogwarts School is the training academy for young wizards

       Hogwarts School, the training academy for young wizards, doesn't provide Harry Potter or his loyal readers any easy solutions.  Facing the Beast of Terror both from within and without, requires mistakes, fumbles, patience.    Harry and his friends aren't perfect, but they keep trying.    Despite every reason to throw up their hands and duck the responsibility of becoming  time-tested wizards, they band together to support one another when an ally stumbles or falters.    It is as if they know that to give up is "death," and that the difference between a rut and a grave is only the depth.  Despite all logic, they face the demons.
         Of great importance is the fact the children reading the books learn that adults aren't their enemies. 
         In most young-adult books, authors cleave the relationship between the child and adult, stranding the child and making the adult appear cold, indifferent--a shadowy extension of the Beast of Terror's efforts to chase down and eat the Children of Vigilance.  In most camps, adults become the enemy of the child.

Hagrid, gamekeeper, is "the best friend imaginable."

         But J.K. Rowling weaves a blanket of Vigilance over her children and parental-like characters. The adults protecting them with positive, strong, loving characters such as gamekeeper Hagrid, termed "the best friend imaginable."
        Adult imagery today is rife with the negative spin.  The real world is riddled with Beasts of Terror ranging from Saddam Hussein to King Jon Il who loom on the horizon as real-time monsters.   Then, there is the constant Fear many children have of not being loved by their parents, or accepted by their peers, or not having the right clothes, or being smart enough or popular enough, or being too fat, too thin.   Many children blame their parents for their shortcomings.  But Harry Potter's theme lifts a child's spirits into believing that Vigilance can and will overpower Terror.  It makes a distinction between the "good parent" and "evil force," and puts the duty to evolve square on the shoulders of the youth.
        Rowling's words stitch sutures into the often wounded hearts of many children.  They help heal a child's sense of alienation and disenfranchisement by showing them there is hope, that David can beat Goliath, and that the world offers more sunlight than dank, dismal forests of Fear.

       The pain she assuages in her readers comes from her own toils with life, from her own countless battles with her Beasts of Terror.  Not too many years ago, the 37-year-old author, currently estimated to be worth $450 million--$50 million more than the Queen of England--was a single mom on welfare struggling to make a living.  Now, she lives in a castle, but continues to reach out to touch the hearts and imaginations of global children that they are the Sentinels of Future Vigilance, that they are the true Terror Hunters who are charged to keep Terrorism, both within themselves and without, from spreading.
        Time Magazine's June 23 issue reports how she read from her new book to a young girl dying of cancer.  She called the American girl from England and shared her newly finished book with her in private readings.  When the girl passed, Rowling helped support a cancer foundation in the young girl's name.  Fame and fortune have not dislodged her roots as a Mother of Vigilance.
         But, all is not perfect for Rowling.
         She has critics who appear to live in Slyutherin, the home of the evil Voldemort--the symbol of the Beast of Terror.   These critics look upon her as a Mother of Terrorism, rather than a Teacher of Vigilance.

Harry Potter book-burning in New Mexico

        Detractors accuse Rowling of promoting witchcraft.   Jack Brock, pastor of the Christ Community Church in Alamogordo, N.M., made headlines in 2001 when he held a "holy bonfire" and burned Harry Potter books along with others deemed "evil."
        On the opposite end of the religious pole, Harry Potter books are used to teach Sunday School.   Instructors dress up in costume and relate scenes in the book to Biblical scriptures.
        But Rowling's fans roar their approval over the radical dissidents who attack her intent to teach children the timeless values of life--Courage, Conviction and Right Actions for future generations.
        Her success, I believe, is teaching children how to battle the Beast of Terror in a world that offers few solutions to the endless dilemma of "good" vs. "evil."
        The world is full of real Voldemorts; it is riddled with forests of giant spiders.   How does a child strengthen his or her moral muscles to stand up to the snarling fangs of Terrorism's monsters who hiss and growl? 

Harry often uses a sword to battle his Terrors

       The undercurrent in Rowling's books is a force within us all, a power greater than our defects of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, that comes to fruition when we decide to face-off the Beast. 
       Harry often uses a sword to battle such demons.   Under the guise of magic and witchcraft, he is actually employing faith and his belief that there are powers of "greater good" than defeat all evil if one is brave enough to stand up to his or her demons.
        A Sword of Vigilance was used by Harry in the second book, Chambers of Secrets.  In it, Harry battled a serpent with the Sword of Gryffindor.
        Symbolically, he was fighting Fear with Courage, Intimidation with Conviction, and Complacency with Right Actions for future generations, in behalf of the Children's Children's Children.  He proved once more the power of Vigilance over Terrorism.
        Children and adults who read the Harry Potter books are learning the messages of Vigilance--that Terrorism can be driven off, banished, but also that, once banished, it will reappear again if one is Complacent, unprepared, unwary.
        When I was at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and the horror of the people leaping from the buildings embossed itself on my mind, and was followed by the great explosions as the structure collapsed and the nearness of death speared into my being, I realized that Terrorism was no farther than an arm's length away.

Terrorism is no farther than an arm's length away

        Harry Potter's message is a reminder that the madness of a Terrorist driving a plane into a building filled with thousands of people is not the only form of demons one must be alert to drive off.   Terror monsters also lurk under a child's bed in the dark, or in the crushing emptiness when the child seeks to have his or her parents wrap him or her in loving arms only to be told:  "I'm too busy, don't bother me!"
        Children's journey through their own Terror-filled emotional worlds are as precarious and fragile as a warrior tip-toeing through a mine field.   The crushing Fear of feeling unwanted, unloved, not good enough is as devastating to an ossifying a child's psyche as the conflagration of a World Trade Center, or the bombed out innards of one's former home in an Iraqi village.
       Without a good mentor to guide one through the maze of Emotional Terrorism, without a Nimbus 2001, children end up hiding under the covers, becoming Emotional recluses or recalcitrant bullies to hide the pain, to protect themselves from senseless harm.
         J. K. Rowling is changing all that, book by book, reader by reader.
         The children who bury their minds into the characters she has carved relate to their reality, to their fears and foibles, and, to the adventures they face when challenging their own demons.   They learn that if one is Vigilant, if one believes that Courage, Conviction and Right Actions overcome Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, then there is hope for them despite their seeming plight.  They learn they must become Sentinels of Vigilance to evolve rather than Victims of Terrorism.

J. K. Rowling is a Sentinel of Vigilance

      Rowling is, in my opinion, more than a mother and an author.  
     She is truly a Sentinel of Vigilance.  
     She offers the Sword of Vigilance to children.  She presents them the Shield of Vigilance to ward off the demons of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency. 
      She spells out the Principles of Vigilance in engaging, fascinating ways that remind children, and their parents, that a child needs to believe in himself or herself--despite his or her flaws--and if one believes that facing one's Terror results in sunlight on the other side, then the battle with all the demons is worth the effort.
      For all these reasons, she symbolizes that Courage, Conviction and Right Actions for future generations is the core of all hope, and that these qualities belong to all the children.   Her books unlock that secret.
       But if I were a wizard, and I had a magic wand as Harry Potter, I would wave it over J.K. Rowling and wish  I only wish that she would include a Pledge of Vigilance in every copy she sold.
          There would be one Pledge for the Parent and Loved One of the child, and one for the child.
          I'm sure that Harry Potter would be the first to sign it.


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