Wednesday--June 26, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 287
The Dreadnought Of Terrorism
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
ZERO, New York City, June 26--I've decided there is a new weapon in our
fight against Terrorism. It is Battleship Vigilance. It
is the dreadnought of Terrorism.
Let me explain how I arrived at this new
weapon, and how it can be deployed to keep Terrorism of both Physical and
Emotional forms from attacking you, your family, loved ones, and children.
Each day I subscribe to a new word via
Merriam-Webster email. I review the day's word with great
care, much as a major league batter might wake up and stroke his
home-run-giving bat before having a cup of coffee, or a stock broker who
rolls over and flicks on his ticker tape
to see whether he grew richer or poorer during the night.
Words are the swords of truth and must first be
sharpened before used, or they cut through nothing. Since
Terrorism is covered by the thick armor of Complacency, I need all the
keen edges possible to slice Complacency's hide so readers might be
reminded that Vigilance requires daily recommitment to insure its
Perhaps the biggest conventional weapon used to
attack enemy forces of Terrorism's Fear, Intimidation and Complacency is
the battleship. On the high seas, the battleship has been the
stalwart crusader of naval victories. Historically, it has
been the muscle behind any fleet.
But there is one battleship that stands as
the grandfather to all. It is the Dreadnought. It was built in
secrecy a year and a day with construction beginning on the Oct. 2, 1905
and the great ship going to sea on Oct. 1, 1906. Built by the
English under the direction First Sea Lord John Fisher, the Dreadnought
immediately made every other battleship in the world obsolete fitted with
the first Parson's Turbine. It was faster, more heavily armed,
enjoyed increased armor and could be built without additional cost or
retrofitting of existing ship building equipment.
It hallmarked a new attitude in fighting
Terrorism. It became the offensive weapon against those who
tried to dominate others, to instill Fear, Intimidation and Complacency in
those they sought to oppress. Thus, the name Dreadnought.
As you might expect from the sound of the word--dread...not--it
means what it sounds like--Fear Nothing!
The battleship represented an attitude as well as
a weapon. It told the world that its builders were not going
to cower under the shadow of Terrorism, but instead puff out their chests
and stand boldly where before, others might have run or hid or ignored the
tyranny and oppression Terrorism brought to their doorsteps.
Below, I've reprinted the definition of
"dreadnought" from Merriam-Webster.
The Word of the Day for June 25 is:
dreadnought \DRED-nawt\ (noun)
1 : a warm garment of thick cloth; also : the cloth
2 : battleship
*3 : one that is among the largest or most powerful of its
Sam would settle for no less than a dreadnought of a boom
box, which was fine with all of his friends but didn't go over
too well with his landlord.
Did you know?
"Fear nothing" -- that's essentially what "dread" plus
"nought" means. The name might seem a strange one for a
garment, but if you consider that dreadnoughts were worn on
board ship, you can appreciate the colorful name perhaps as
much as the seafaring men must have appreciated the thick
protection. The clothes and the cloth, first called
"fearnought" in the late 18th century, came long before the
battleship. Not until 1906 did the British Navy launch the HMS
Dreadnought, the first battleship to have a main armament
consisting entirely of big guns all of the same caliber. All
ships of this type were then called "dreadnoughts." That
particular type of battleship soon became obsolete, but their
legacy lives on in the extended third sense of "dreadnought."
*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.
I believe we need a Battleship
Vigilance, just as we needed a Dreadnought a century ago. It
would be of the dreadnought class, heavily armed with Courage, Conviction
and Right Action.
On Battleship Vigilance, the crew would
comprise the Sentinels of Vigilance, representing the 3,000 plus "Soldiers
of Vigilance" who died on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center,
the Pentagon, and on Flight 93.
Their mission: to patrol the high
seas of Terrorism in search of those seeking to instill Fear, Intimidation
and Complacency in the hearts and minds of children, parents, loved ones
through shelling them with either "physical" or "emotional" rounds, or
torpedoing their security.
In this War Against Terrorism our President
is fighting, the battlefields selected are both political and military in
nature. They represent an archaic system of war where the
amount of bombs and bullets deployed measure the success of any attack on
But Terrorism is more about an attitude
than about a mass of enemy soldiers or sailors trying to occupy a land.
Terrorism is about the occupation of one's mind, paralyzing one's faith
and trust in personal security, personal safety, personal happiness.
Terrorism must be fought with different
"tools of war," as First Sea Lord John Fisher envisioned when fought to
bring about the birth of his new battleship, Dreadnought.
We, the Citizens of Vigilance, need to keep the
word "dreadnought"--Fear Nothing--close to our chest. We need
to realize that the government can never control Terrorism, for government
is a fixed body that exists at the top of a social pyramid and issues its
Terrorism eats at the base of the pyramid as termites gnaw at
the foundation of a home or building, bent on weakening its structures
from within, not without. One can look at the outside of a
home or building and assume it is built on solid rock, and then one day
pass by and see it has crumbled into the earth, shattered, because the
nefarious Termites of Terrorism have eaten it from the inside out.
Battleship Vigilance sails the seas at the
base of the pyramid. It hunts the Termites of Terrorism.
It realizes that Terrorism's fuel is the people's fear of it, their sense
of impotency that they can do nothing about it, and the resulting
Complacency that settles in as they abdicate the responsibility to fight
Terrorism to the top of the pyramid--to the most inept of all sources, the
Terrorists are nothing more than "neighborhood
bullies." Yet we treat them as though they were emperors of
some great dynasty, and if we crush the empire in which they live we will
eliminate them and their threats. This is not "Dreadnought
The truth is that Terrorism is a state of mind, now, as it was in the
past, and will be in the future. Terrorism exists within us
all, and Terrorists only ignite its existence to life by flying airplanes
into buildings, blowing up buses, and threatening a society's innocent
with indiscriminate violence.
Terrorists are nothing more than street muggers,
individuals who collect in pods or cells and use Fear, Intimidation and
Complacency to make people retreat into their shells, to cause them to
shudder and shield their eyes from Terrorism's dark, ominous shadow.
Dreadnought is a word as important today as
it was in 1905 when it became the signet of a new battleship and a new era
of fighting Terrorism of its time.
It not only refers to a battleship, but
also to how we dress ourselves. We can dress in flimsy
clothing that offers little to no protection from Terrorism, that
represents a "thin skin" when facing Terrorism's Fear, Intimidation and
Complacency, or, we can elect a wardrobe rich in warmth and thickness to
ward off the assaults of Terrorism. When we put on piece of
clothing we can think of it as "dreadnought fashion," and remind ourselves
that it will protect us from our Fears, our Intimidations and our
Complacencies--just as those Sentinels of Vigilance who ride the
Battleship Vigilance wear dreadnought clothing to keep them alert to
I stumbled upon a quote from Jarris Callan, a guild
leader for various plays. He employs the message of "dreadnought" as
it relates to individuals in a succinct, powerful way:
We are the army of the people,
furthering the peoples cause. Let the nobles bicker as they may. One
day the people, lead by Dreadnought, will arise and throw off the
shackles of our noble oppressors. So stand tall and keep your head
raised. For Dreadnought is with you.
In many forms our Fears must be
fought. Battleship Vigilance isn't just about preparing us to
stave off another bin Laden-like attack on our physical security as a
nation. It is primarily sailing the seas to keep us from
letting the Termites of Terrorism eat at us from within--when we sense we
are not as worthy as, or we feel victimized, or we believe we are "stuck"
in life and can never escape, or we are too busy to learn our children's
fears and share ours with them, or carve our society apart with prejudices
and bigotries, or we think we're not smart enough, or gifted enough.
The real Battleship of Vigilance plows through the waters to remind us not
to "fear ourselves." It reminds us that the attacks of
September 11 have called us to a new awareness. The destruction of
our internal national security is only symbolic of the vulnerability of
our emotional security, and the need to strengthen it.
Our children suffer today from many forms of neglect, and the
neglect of their emotional well-being is foremost. Inside our
children are being planted the eggs of Termites of Terrorism.
If they are not rooted out, the
eggs will hatch and begin to gnaw at the child's self worth, making him or
her think he isn't good enough, loved enough, smart enough, thin enough,
pretty or handsome enough, gifted enough.
It is the Terrorism of our
children that must become the mission of each individual's Battleship of
Vigilance. Each of our children must be taught the meaning of
"dreadnought," fortressing them with an awareness that within them is the
Courage to fight their Fear, the Conviction to sink the ship's of
Intimidation, and the power to take Right Action against their worst
enemy--Complacency--the resigning of their will to achieve beyond the
limits they have placed upon themselves.
Battleship Vigilance is of the Dreadnought
class. Each of us can become the captain of our ship, and
teach our children and loved ones to also captain theirs. When
we all climb aboard Battleship Vigilance, Terrorism will turn 180 degrees
and run for cover.
To June 25--Who's In Charge Of Death These Days?
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