Wednesday-- May 1, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 232
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City,
May 1-- The New York Times story leapt off the page at me this
morning. It told a gripping story about a small, 400-student college
in Huron, S.D. suffering from "viral Terrorism."
The alleged viral Terrorist is a
six-foot, seven-inch 18-year-old center on athletic scholarship from
Chicago who plays for the Si Tanka Huron University basketball team.
The African-Cuban student is
charged with five counts of knowingly exposing a young woman to HIV.
through unprotected sex. Authorities said they believe at least
another 50 were also exposed to the AIDS virus.
The farming community of 10,000
is in a turmoil over the infections. Barb Bhuhler, a State
Health Department spokeswoman, said at least 200 people have been tested
for HIV since last week, in a state that reported a total of 22 HIV cases last
year. Before last week, she said, there had been only six known
cases in the entire county since 1985.
47-year-old father of the young man charged with the felony, who describes
himself as Afro-Cuban American, called the case a "public lynching."
He said his son was being depicted as a "viral terrorist who had invaded
their pristine community."
In a similar case in
upstate New York in 1977, a 20-year-old man, Nushawn Williams who also
knew he was HIV positive, was arrested after authorities claimed he had
unprotected sex with 48 women and girls, 13 of whom where later confirmed
to be HIV. positive. In the recent South Dakota case, four people
have tested positive for the virus.
I found the story
interesting because Terrorism, as a state of thinking, and as a negative
label, is putting more responsibility upon each of us as citizens,
to think in terms of the selfishness our actions when such actions
In the South Dakota case,
the young man knew he was HIV positive and didn't warn any of his
sex partners that he was carrying the virus. He neglected to be
Vigilant at the expense of others.
The big issue in
this story, and countless others, is the endemic problem of Complacency.
The real "viral
Terrorist" isn't the hideous AIDS virus, as much as the lack of Vigilance
to warn others of the dangers. It is the Complacent attitude
we, as a society take, with others--especially those closest to us.
Teaching a child to
become responsible for all of his her actions, and, most importantly, to
create a sense of duty for the safety and security of others is Vigilance.
Somewhere along the
course of his upbringing, Nikko Briteramos, the young basketball player,
forgot that his responsibility as a human being was to protect others from
harm. Had he been taught the elements of Vigilance--Courage,
Conviction and Action--he might not have had unprotected sex, and he might
have warned those he was intimate with of the impending danger he posed.
Perhaps, he might not have contracted the virus to begin with.
Of course, this is all
hindsight and presumption--but one thing is clear--that he didn't warn his
"victims" of the Terrorism swirling around his bloodstream.
Complacency, Fear and Intimidation held him back.
I hold his parents and
guardians and loved ones most responsible for his actions.
While none of us can control the behavior of another, we can present to a
child certain standards of Vigilance to arm the child with the Courage,
Conviction and Actions necessary to live a life of Vigilance.
It begins with Pledge of
Somewhere along the line of our
evolution as human beings we have assumed parenthood as a "matter-of-fact"
instinctive process. We haven't looked at parenthood as a duty
full of massive responsibilities to thwart Terrorism.
Each child is born into a world
It is all about survival in the
If one looks at the animal
kingdom, each creature born has to struggle to survive. Few make it,
and those that do have the most strength because most creatures are left
to fend for themselves, or, at a certain age, they are shoved from the
"nest" to forage on their own. Humans are unique in this
aspect. We keep our children close to us for nearly a third of our
lives, under our roofs, protecting them and preparing them for the "cold,
During this time, we either teach
them how to evolve or simply how to survive.
The child who walks away from their
parents full of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency has little chance of
evolving into the creature they could become if instead of the Fears, they
were peppered with Courage, Convictions and Actions that would result in
the strongest character traits possible for their enjoyment of life.
James Dean's movie, Rebel Without A
Cause, depicts a child disguised as a young man wandering the earth in
search of substance of his self. He has "viral
Terrorism" in his blood--angry, resentful, pained--he searches for
So do countless millions of children
who escape the nest each year. Their search is all about
finding the Courage to face life, the Convictions to stick to something
fruitful and satisfying, and to seek the roadmap of Actions that will lead
them there on the safest route.
But their paths are strewn with Fears of
Failure; their minds laced with Intimidations they aren't good enough, or
smart enough, or pretty or good looking enough, or gifted enough, or
worthy enough. Complacency settles in. They begin to
believe they are "victims" of their past, stuck into being a "wandering
generality" rather than a "meaningful specific." When their
attempts to succeed or achieve are thwarted, they retreat within
themselves, gingerly, if at all, testing the waters with their toes and if
it is too cold, they return to their inner caves of self-imposed
Terrorism, resigned to be "what they are"--a nothing, a nobody--in
comparison to what they "want to be," or "wish they could become."
The roots of this discontent, I believe,
comes from the "viral Terrorism" of the human condition. We
are born to learn to survive against Terrorism--those harsh elements from
which we evolved that attack us in such insidious ways as to create Fear
and Intimidation and Complacency.
Parents of Vigilance are those who
recognize the absolute need to teach their children the elements of
Vigilance to overcome these Fears, Intimidations and Complacencies.
They are parents who realize that they must do everything in their power
to teach a child about self-worth, not at the expense of others, but to
The young basketball player in Huron, South
Dakota is a symbol of the lack of Vigilance. But he is no different
than the child who grows up and resigns himself or herself to a life of
unhappiness, a life of inner anguish where all those around him or her
seem to have the benefits of life and they only have its trailings.
They too have a "viral Terrorist"
within. And, sadly, they pass that "viral Terrorist" on to their
children by acting in such a way as to foster the child's Fears,
Intimidations and Complacencies.
When they transmit attitudes and
outlooks and emotions to a child, these "viral Terrorists" fuel the
anguish in a child. "Shut up, don't bother me!"
Those words are as potent to a child as is the disease of the AIDS
virus. The words kill a child's spirit, crush his or her
hunger for love, teach him or her to shrink within himself or herself.
"I'm too busy now, can't you see I'm
busy...." More insidious words, spoken from a parent who
hasn't time for a child, hasn't time to crawl down on the floor with the
child, to talk about his or her fears, intimidations, complacencies.
Viral Terrorism is not just about AIDS. It is a
far deeper disease that we must all protect ourselves and our
children from catching, and worse, from passing it on to others.
The first step in
fighting this problem is taking the Pledge of Vigilance.
By vowing to fight Terrorism, we provide an antidote to our
If you haven't yet,
consider protecting your children and their children by taking
the Pledge of Vigilance.
If nothing else, it is
a vow--a specific commitment to fight a child's "viral
Terrorism" with Vigilance.
Hopefully, it will
add insurance that your child won't become a "viral Terrorist."
Go To April 30--Eagle's Eye Of Vigilance
From Ground Zero
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