3, 2002—Ground Zero Plus
Crocodile Hunter Should
Head Up Homeland Security
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York
City, August 3--I've wrestled lots of crocodiles in my life, but not
the reptilian kind.
Mine included human forms, and psychic
forms. All of them had one intent, to sink their jagged,
prehistoric teeth into my flesh, and twist and thrash until I became their
But there is a guy who wrestles real
crocs, not make believe ones. And as far as I'm concerned, he
ought to appointed as the head of our Homeland Security. He would
personally hunt, find, and wrestle Osama bin Laden to the ground, hog tie
him, and redeposit him in some remote place he would never bother anyone
My candidate's name is Steve
Irwin, aka The Crocodile Hunter.
My grandchildren are some of his biggest fans. He's
the "Aussie" whose face dominates cable TV's Discovery Channel, and is
always out in the wild wrestling with some venomous snake, or, most
notably, leaping into murky waters to wrestle crocodiles at the risk of
his life, or at least, a couple of his limbs.
He reminds me of the guy who leaps off tall
buildings just to show others why they shouldn't, but lands safely on his
feet to show you if you know what you're doing, you can handle the most
His story is the antithesis of the one
highlighted by recent headlines of former President Bill Clinton spouting
out at a Jewish fundraiser he'd take up arms and fight to the death for
Israel. Unlike Clinton, Steve is all about "doing" and
"boasting." Well, at least not boasting until
he's done it. Then he screams out his accomplishments, but after not
before the fact.
Unfortunately, I had to laugh, when I saw
the headline and picture of Bill Clinton telling the world how courageous
he would be if Iraq invaded Israel. Was this the same
guy who protested the Vietnam War, who had trouble saluting the
American Flag? Was this the chubby, likeable guy who savored
fame, fortune and naive young women, the guy who lied to the American
public on television until his hand was caught not in the holster, but the
cookie jar? Yup! It wasn't the Crocodile Hunter, it was the Monica
As a U.S. Marine combat vet, I have to
admit I put Bill Clinton in the same category as Jane Fonda regarding his
Worse, I could smell the scent of bull waste reeking from Clinton's words,
while I heard the tintinnabulation of Truth from Steve Irwin's.
In the Crocodile Hunter's version of
Vigilance, Action is the key. Bill Clinton's version is
headlines--words rather than deeds.
I found it hard to believe Bill Clinton would
face death when he was afraid to face the Truth about Monica. But
who's to say? Strange things do happen.
Before I'd buy what Clinton said, I'd
first like to see him test his Courage by jumping into the murky waters of danger
and grab a 12-foot crocodile's back and ride him. Maybe then I
might imagine Bill Clinton picking up a gun rather than a Big Mac.
I guess the difference between talkers and doers
is the reason the Croc Hunter and I have become
friends. I watch him often with my grandchildren on
television, and even took my six-year-old grandson to see his recently
released movie. Unfortunately, we were nearly the only
ones in the empty theater. There was at least one other person
there, for I was sure I saw a pair of feet sticking up some rows in front
I grew more appreciative this
morning. My wife recently purchased a board game called
Crocodile Hunter. A big, fat, hungry croc, 'Agro', motors
around the board and shoves his snout against the wall constraining him.
If his snout hits one of the spring-loaded players sitting on the fence,
the player shoots up in the air, ejected from the game temporarily.
What I like best about the Croc Hunter is his willingness
to face danger He grabs the
world's most poisonous snakes by their tails, and massages their
underbellies until they calm down. He lays down and stares the most
frightening creatures in the eyes.
He wrestles crocs and, with his wife's help,
Terri, he puts them
in a boat and moves them away from civilization where they will be safe
from hunters and those "silly people" who feed them and end up becoming
lunch. He also puts his money where his mouth is. He donated the proceeds of his
recent film to wildlife
Unlike a lot of wildlife film makers, Steve doesn't cram politics down
people's throats about conservation. His emphasis is put on respecting the
creatures of the earth, not about rallying huge armies in protest against
civilization, or issuing tons of guilt and shame on the human race for
their vile treatment of animals.. If he makes a point, it's about us learning to
live in "the animal world." If he is political, its
about reminding us the "we" make the animals our
enemies when "we" encroach upon their ways of life, their habitats.
I thought about the parallels between the Crocodile
Hunter's world, and the world of Terrorism. How did the two
size up, if at all?
In the Middle East, America is taking an Imperial
Colonist's point of view. We are trying to inject "democracy"
in cultures that may or may not be ready for our way of life. In a
way, America is a Crocodile Hunter, wrestling with ancient, prehistoric
civilizations. But, instead of trying to protect their roots, we're trying to modernize them
overnight. We're trying to turn some crocodiles into peaceful house
pets over night. We're trying to accelerate Mother Nature's
I wondered how the Croc Hunter would see our
dilemma. Would he see us--civilization as we understand it--trying
to change the crocodiles of the Middle East's way of life?
Were we encroaching on their habitats, or were they encroaching on ours?
In his recent movie, Steve pointed out the problem
wasn't that the croc had turned from a peaceful, quiet creature into a
horrible Terrorist, but rather society was advancing and pushing the
nature of the croc. People were feeding it marshmallows, and, as
Steve so deftly put it, the people who fed them began to become
I wondered if our problems in the Middle East
The veil being used to be demonize the Middle
East Croc is the "threat of nuclear and biochemical weapons of
destruction." But, I wondered, have those in power
in the Middle East simply sharpened their canine teeth to
protect themselves from being encroached upon? Have we fed
them so many marshmallows they now want to eat us?
I found it hard to imagine Iraq or
Iran as Colonial Imperialists in disguise, wishing to turn Manhattan and
the Western World into marshy, primordial swamp lands. Instead, I
saw them more like vipers who sank their fangs into those who threatened
them. I wondered if the Croc Hunter saw them the same way.
These questions were sharpened by playing
the board game, Crocodile
Hunter, with my grandchildren. I wondered how Steve Irwin would
handle the crisis in the Middle East were he in charge of the world.
Would he wrestle Al Queda, tie them up, and take them back home to live in
their own environment with fences not to keep them in, but the rest of the
world out? Or, would he cut their throats, and contend that
they were unfit and unjust to breathe the same air as modern man?
Of course, I knew the answer. Or, thought I did.
The Crocodile Hunter is a "live-and-let-live" kind of guy.
He's more into balance than dominance of one species over another.
And when it comes to the most vicious of Nature's creatures, he has utter
respect rather than Fear, Intimidation and Complacency regarding them.
He's into massaging their underbellies and building trust rather than
lopping off their heads.
and Neanderthal Skulls
Politically, I'm a Naturalist.
That is, I believe in the final analysis, human beings and beasts aren't
divided by much. I don't think mankind is the Lord Of The
World, or that Nature is our servant. Perhaps that comes
from growing up in Oregon, and studying Indian lore where Native Americans
always asked permission of Mother Earth before taking anything, and only
took what was needed.
I also don't believe mankind is as smart or wise
as he or she thinks. We're just little confused children in relation
to the rest of the world.
We haven't been around that long. While
earth is estimated to be
5-billion-years-old, modern man and woman is estimated to be around 50,000
years old. Humanoids have been evolving for about 1.8 million years,
and we didn't walk on two feet until less than a million years ago, and
then, we were more like apes than humans. We couldn't even talk. (See Chart
To give some perspective, the
first living organism is claimed to appear about 3.5 billion years ago,
and the first animals on earth, about 1.2 billion years past.
Ironically, one of the first animals was the worm. It
makes homo erectus, just 40-50,000 years old, seem like less than a blink
in time. Why would we presume to know more than any other creature?
We haven't had a lot of time to evolve.
And, we've evolved to the point of such infancy that we can blow up the
entire planet, make it radioactive overnight, kill most everything that
exists. I don't know if that's advancement or retardation, but
certainly it's not something we want to slap ourselves on the back over.
What it does indicated is that the primitive versus the civilized is a relatively new concept.
We are looking at it clearly for the first time as a result of September
11. We are seeing the "uncivilized" Terrorizing the
We are seeing the "meek" inheriting
the earth because a few people from an ancient land with little technology
can turn civilizations weapons against the civilized. It's king of
like arming all the crocodiles with machine guns.
And, the irony of it all is that the
"Terrorists" in the Middle East and in other lands--those whom we call
primitive--have taken the advancements and technology and turned them
against those who sought to control and manage them.
But the irony of "modern man"
versus "primal man" doesn't stop there.. If one looks closely at the Middle East,
it is the Fountain of Civilization. Under its soil boils the
treasure of the modern world--oil, black gold, the energy that drives the
engines of advancement.
The Middle East pumps most of the oil that feeds the "monsters of civilization," while,
paradoxically, remaining ancient, underdeveloped. It
owns the headwaters of civilization--the fuel of prosperity, yet it remains,
in so many ways, a "cave dwelling" culture. If one wishes to
argue with this point of view, as the U.S. military how successful they
have been in bombing the caves and tunnels in which the Al Queda find
crocodile-skin cigar case
One thing we can be sure of, however, is that the
Middle East's skin is thick and leathery, probably not unlike that of the
crocodile. That may account for why so many people in
that culture are willing to strap a bomb around their bellies and blow
themselves up, or fly airplanes into giant buildings. The
primitive thickness of their skin blinds them to the modern morals.
What the modern world calls Terrorism, the ancient world calls "jihad,"
the highest form of loyalty and commitment to their way of life.
Perhaps that is why modern society doesn't promote crocodiles for pets, or
venomous snakes crawling in the playpen with their little children.
Naturalistically, the dispute between Palestine and
Israel is similar to trying to steal a mother crocodile's eggs.
The more Israel claims ownership of Palestine, the larger the mouths of
the mother crocodiles open and snap at the hands and fingers who reach for
their eggs. Mother Nature operates on the principle that
possession is nine-tenths of the law, and the Palestinians claim
possession rather than right of ownership. Telling a mother
croc that her nest really belongs to you is not a convincing argument, at
least, not to a croc.
The Crocodile Hunter, I assume, would look at the political
aspects of Terrorism as part of the natural order of "creatures" fighting
for their lairs against those who tried to take them away, or relocate
them, or, ultimately, make them extinct.
Since motive is the key ingredient behind any crime,
Terrorism's motive is generally retaliation against others for some "real"
or "perceived" crime. Some Terrorists simply see modern
civilization as it is today a threat to the world, especially Western
culture. That doesn't make them right, but from a Naturalistic
point of view, a crocodile point of view, it doesn't make them wrong
either. It just is what it is. And it leaves only two
solutions. One, cut off the head of the creatures who threaten
civilization, or, massage their bellies.
Terrorism may, in the final accounting, be
nothing more than misinterpreted retaliation. Winston Churchill said:
"Appeasement is feeding an alligator (crocodile) in hopes it will eat you
last." Maybe, just maybe, Al Queda and other Terrorist organizations
have decided to bite back, refusing the rush to "evolve" according to
the modern world's time
Remembering that modern man has only evolved over
the past 50,000 years, and only recently created societies
attempting to learn to live peacefully with one another's differences, we
shouldn't be so shocked that we don't have all the answers at our
Crocodiles are over 200 million years old,
about 200 times older than any humanoid form. Trapped in their
genes is the ability to survive while others of their kind perished.
The dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago, making the crocodile
three times more hearty than the biggest and most ferocious of all
creatures in earth's history.
And it wasn't very long ago that man lit his first fire, or
scrawled his name on a cave wall.
So when it comes to taking
a gun and shooting Terrorism between the eyes, I'm not sure we can kill
something that old, something that primal. I'm thinking more
in terms that we should consider the Crocodile Hunter's approach,
wrestling it, rubbing its belly, creating Trust so that it doesn't bite
us, and we don't bite it.
Old Bill Clinton's comment about grabbing
up a rifle and dying for Israel seemed like a cry for making Terrorism
extinct. It sounded like he was willing to go cut the throats
of the crocodiles rather than rub their bellies. It seemed he was
echoing the U.S. Government's point of view that we are going to stuff
civilization down the crocodile's mouth whether he likes it or not.
I didn't hear any words about Vigilance. I only heard
Terrorism must be fought with Terrorism. I heard there wasn't
in room on this planet for the "old" and the "new" to coexist.
That's why the Crocodile Hunter has more credibility with my grandchildren than the
former or present President of the United States--at least on this issue
of Terrorism. Each week, they see the Crocodile Hunter being Vigilant in the face of Terrorism,
and, unfortunately, all they hear about Terrorism is the war we are
fighting against it. They don't see a solution, just violence
award for sand sculpture contest in Texas
The contrast isn't
healthy. On one side of the coin, they see this antic-laden Aussie jumping
and shouting and loving and respecting creatures that could rank right up
there with Osama bin Laden. But instead of wanting to cut off their
heads, he simply respects their origins and tries to assure the children
who view them, that despite their natures, they're just "trying to get
along." And, he reinforces that we, modern man, are intruding
on their way of life--a life that has been lived for eons. He
promotes Vigilance, not Terrorism. He warns children to be
wary, but to respect their "right to exist." He creates credibility,
because he doesn't attack the Terrorists of Nature, he compares.
Vigilance takes Courage, Conviction and
Right Action to be believed. It isn't something that one wins
because we lop off a few heads. The idea of reorganizing
Homeland Security to appease America's Fears, Intimidations and
Complacencies is only truly about sharpening our swords so their clean
blades can cut through the thick hides of the crocodiles.
I would like to
think that each Citizen of Vigilance, Parent of Vigilance and Loved One of
Vigilance would take a page out of Steve Irwin's book. Maybe
if we modeled our behavior and attitudes after his, we might teach our
children and grandchildren far richer and more sincere lessons about how
to deal with Terrorism than by rolling heads down the street.
Maybe we really need the Crocodile
Hunters as head of
Homeland Security. He might be able to charm the snakes
of Terrorism away.
Go Aug. 2--AMBER
ALERT Marks Era Of Vigilance, Saves Teens from Death
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