1, 2002—Ground Zero Plus
Terror Of The "Creep Factor!"
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, July 1--It's called the "creep
factor"--an old type of Terrorism wrapped in a new package.
It's a product of fame and fortune, infecting those who seek to rise above
all others in their sport or profession.
The most recent victims of the "creep
factor" include the stars of women's tennis, a sport which once drew few
viewers, but now is so dominant it rivals football ratings.
Last year, for example, the United States Open
televised final women's match drew a 6.8 rating, double the amount of
viewing the famed Notre Dame-Nebraska college football telecast.
Women's tennis stars are also topping the most
famous basketball legends on the Internet. Measured by Web
searches, Shaquille O'Neal logged in 122,000 "hits" while Venus
Williams, top tennis star, garnered 255,000.
Not only is the public gushing unlimited
attention to the women tennis stars, but the economic world is also.
Forbes Magazine recently published its Celebrity 100 list, hosting a raft
of women tennis stars whose income both on and off the court has rocketed
them into the financial as well as "sex-appeal" spotlight.
Jelena Dokie, for example, is about to appear in
a GQ photo spread. Russian Anna Kournikova was voted sexiest
woman athlete by FHM magazine in Great Britain and in the United States.
Kournikova has more hits on her web site
Michael Jordan did in his prime. And everywhere one looks, women tennis
stars are appearing to endorse various products, often promoting their
sexuality and alluring beauty.
All this media focus leaves a scent.
And attracts the "creeps"--the stalkers, who become obsessive in fixation
toward the stars of tennis.
Recently, Serena Williams has been stalked by a
German man. A year ago Martina Hingis testified against
Dubravko Rajcevic, a 46-year-old Croatian-born engineer who stalked her
for 20 months, including to the iron gates of her house. Monica Seles was
forced off the court after being stabbed by a crazed Steffi Graf fan in
Munich in 1993.
But this rash of news about stalkers, or the
growing "creep factor" in tennis, isn't really news.
Terrorism of this kind has been part our society
for decades, most clearly represented by the presence of children's faces
on milk cartons. The "missing children" of America syndrome is
far more newsworthy than the stalking of tennis stars, but less able to
sell newspapers or gather headlines.
Thousands of children are stalked each year. According
to the FBI, National Crime Information Center (NCIC), Missing Person File,
between 7 and 7.5 thousand juveniles were reported missing in 2,001.
These "creeps" are far more venomous and need
greater attention that the sick and twisted adults seeking out women's
I had such an experience just the other
My wife and I took our grandchildren, 6 and
4, to the public swimming pool a few blocks from our daughter's apartment.
Hundreds of people were there swimming and playing.
The night before we had been watching a
movie where a father took his son to a public swimming pool and in a
moment of innocent neglect, the child was snatched.
It brought a new sense of Vigilance
to both my wife and me as we nearly smothered our grandchildren, never
taking a watchful eye off them.
Back in California
where we lived for many years before coming to New York City two and a
half years ago, our neighborhoods bore signs on every street of a man in a
dark coat, an evil eye staring out and the words--Neighborhood Watch.
It was a warning to the "creeps" that we were Vigilant Parents, and that
we knew our children were subject to their invasion. These
signs were posted in a very exclusive part of Laguna Niguel, California,
and always struck me a sign of Terror for a child who might look upon them
and wonder why society broadcast the presences of evil so boldly.
We worry a great deal these days
about Terrorist attacking America from abroad, and invest billions of
dollars in thwarting such attempts, but each year "creeps from within"
terrorize our children far more than any Middle East Terrorists could
They stalk and often capture children.
Yet we run Terrorism up the flagpole from abroad with such passion one
would think that is the only enemy we have. Not quite true.
Our real enemy is within society's
perspective. If we look at Terrorism from only one
viewpoint--protecting the children--we come up with a far more important
set of facts. We find the real "creeps of Terrorism" are the
children stalkers, the child molesters, the child abusers, and, worst of
all, the Complacent parent who is far "too busy" to get to know his or her
child's Fears, Intimidations and Complacencies.
Were we to put the children in our society
first and foremost as the benchmark for Vigilance, our headlines would
ring different tunes. The percentage of Terrorism against a
tennis star would not even nudge the Terror Richter scale.
If it comes down to a matter of money and
fame, our children possess both. If one were to project the
collective wealth and collective fame of all the children who are
Terrorized by the "creeps of society," that sum would far outweigh all the
tennis and movie stars.
Children are the seeds of our future fame and
fortune. We often forget that the adults who stand in the spotlight
today, not long ago were children playing in playgrounds, enjoying their
innocence. Tennis stars border that innocence since many of
the top athletes in that sport are still teenagers.
Vigilance demands that we keep the "main
thing the main thing." We need, as a society, to look at all "adult
Terrorism" as a symbol of neglect. Whenever "adult Terrorism"
is being reported, we need to ask: "So where are the headlines about
our children's Terrorism?"
Neglecting the promotion of the awareness
of Terror of Children brings about a state of Complacency. It
makes us drop our guard. It makes us forget to keep a Vigilant
eye on our children's vulnerability.
It has been a long time since I've seen a milk
carton with the picture of a missing child. While I didn't like them because they smacked of
the ugliness of human nature, at least they reminded me of the importance
of never taking a Vigilant eye off my own children, and, to keep an alert
eye on other children's safety.
I also miss the dark, ominous signs of the
Neighborhood Watch stalker. Those signs offended me, but at
the same time reminded me to remain Vigilant.
I think the new emphasis on "creep factors"
should be our battle cry to get the "missing children" posters put back on
If society is more concerned about a tennis star being
stalked than a child being neglected, we have little to worry about from
bin Laden and a lot to worry about from our own Complacency.
To June 30--The Torture Of Vigilance
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