Patriot Act be altered to an Interim Law so it doesn't
perpetuate the violation of children's Constitutional Rights?
Are we fighting Terrorism with Terrorism when we strip away our
rights to privacy to quench our thirst to eliminate Terrorism?
If we do sacrifice Liberty to Paranoia, are we bankrupting the
hope we can evolve? Judge for yourself.
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
September 22 - Ground Zero Plus 740
FROM THE ARCHIVES
25, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 439
Terrorism & Paranoia
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
New York City, Nov. 25 --Nothing is more futile than the belief
that Terrorism cannot be defeated. Such thinking stems from the
paranoia that once bitten, all dogs are beasts.
Bush signing the Patriot Act
In a sweeping
vote swollen on the wave of paranoia, the U.S. passed the Patriot
Act, and is now in the process of finalizing a bill that will allow
the government to snoop into private citizens credit cards, phone
calls and emails--fundamentally, allowing it to become George
Orwell's Big Brother incarnate.
The paranoia is that Terrorism will last forever. That it
will have no end. That every shadow, every creak of the tree hides
behind it some venomous serpent, ready to fang innocent passersby.
Paranoia turns the possibility of sunshine into constant gloom. It
transforms the earth into a huge minefield where no matter how
carefully you try to stroll, you are apt to trigger something odious
buried in earth's womb.
The sad part is the Complacency we take as citizens in
allowing the paranoia to be perpetuated. We do not stand up for
the "evolution of the human spirit." We do not demand that such
intrusive acts as spying and jumping to conclusions are knee jerk
reactions to deeper, more fundamental problems about the fiber of
our society, many of which are frayed and need either to be
re-weaved or snipped off.
We look at the
effect of Terrorism not its cause, which lies within us not the
Terrorists are errant children. They are bullies. They
are immature, non-evolving creatures of victimization who refuse to
climb out of the caves of their anguish, and seek to drag the rest
of the world into their darkness. Their tools are Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency. They cry victimization as the
justification for their retaliation and the perpetuation of their
paranoia that the Western World is trying to oppress them, that it
is evil and must be struck down even at the expense of the innocent,
the helpless, the women, the children.
But when we
fight Terrorism with Terrorism, and paranoia with paranoia, we
become the enemy we call "enemy." We become what we seek to be
better than, for we employ the same tools as our enemy, and we
suffer the same "victimization" they suffer, and seek the same
result they seek, "retaliation."
If we are to stand on higher moral ground than our
enemy--Terrorism--we must seek to find weapons to fight Terrorism
that are evolutions of human dignity, not retreats back into the
caves of the Beast from whence Terrorism was born.
Vigilance is such a tool. In opposition to Terrorism's
Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, Vigilance demands of its user to
replace Fear with Courage, to overpower Intimidation with
Conviction, and to take the Right Actions rather than wallow in the
bog of Complacency--that sense of powerlessness over "evil."
Vigilance goes a step further. It's ultimate goal, its
"effect," is to make the world a little better place for the
children's children's children. It forces leaders to think through
paranoid-based decisions such as the Patriot Act and the bill about
to be signed by President Bush and ask: "While this might make our
jobs easier today to snoop on our fellow citizens in search of
Terrorists, does it injure the ultimate Constitutional Rights of our
children, and their children's children? It is a selfish, paranoid
decision for the present, or a long-range benefit for future
This kind of question requires great Courage, Conviction
and ultimately, the Right Actions to the benefit of our evolution as
a society. But is it being asked? And, more importantly, is it
I fear not.
Expediency and paranoia seem to rule the battle against
Terrorism. The implication seems to be that Terrorism is a
"constant state" and that paranoia rules in such a fixed state,
thereby authorizing the right of privacy to be sacrificed for the
future as well as the present.
Laws are easy to enact, and very difficult if not
impossible to unwind. Government has the ability to spin secure
webs around the heart of them, making their elimination virtually
impossible once they have wrapped their tentacles around the spine
of the Constitution.
That's why I believe such paranoid-based laws should be
constructed on a self-destruct basis--Interim Laws--that require a
time frame for their automatic expiration, much like a lease, and if
the problem persists, a renewal of the Interim Law until the problem
If we don't
look at such intrusions on our rights to privacy in interim views,
then we concede to the paranoia that we can never evolve. We fall
Complacent we are going to always be "the same,"--incorrigible,
untrustworthy, violators of moral principles, seeking to victimize
We cement the paranoia of Terrorism in our marrow.
We become paranoia hunters, looking always for the dark
side, seeking to raise the bones of the past dead up as our
justification for perpetuating our moral demise, constantly
reinforcing we are "victims" and will be "victimized" again and
again. We hover in the shadows of Terrorism waiting for the other
shoe to drop, for the next World Trade Center to implode, for the
next anthrax scare.
We become dogs chasing the shadow of our tail.
Emotionally, the paranoia seeps into our souls. As we
stop evolving through Vigilance, that is, stop believing that we can
win the battle over Terrorism by changing how we react to it,
Terrorism grows more cancerous within. We turn our heads when new
laws are passed, we stop standing up for our rights, we stop
demanding that we won't be Terrorized by our own government and
allow them to do what they want to perpetuate the paranoia.
Citizens of Terror, not Citizens of Vigilance.
This morning I had such an occasion. A person accused me
of perpetuating past crimes, ones I was guilty of and had admitted
to. They were crimes of indiscretion, crimes of neglect, crimes of
selfishness. Because of my prior guilt, I was assumed currently
guilty. I was judged, prosecuted and found guilty based on the
past, not the present. I retaliated with anger, frustration and
spite. What bothered me the most was that the past cannot be
buried by some, perhaps most, and that it lingers like a foul stench
in the air suffocating any hope of human evolution, driving away the
slim belief that human beings can crawl out of their Caves of Terror
and walk in the Sunshine of Vigilance, even if that journey is only
a fraction of an inch at a time.
I am not alone in what happened this morning. Human
beings tend to Terrorize each other in a variety of ways. A poor
worker is slotted as a "poor worker" and even if that worker starts
to improve his or her skills, the weight of prejudice of his or her
past work bears harshly on his or her performance reports. Others
tend to be advanced because they have no "history" while the
improving worker--however small the improvement--is passed by. It
makes the worker stop trying to improve.
A child who acts
out in bad behavior, and then attempts to correct that bad behavior
finds that the world still looks at him as a "bad child." Attempts
to reverse the opinions of others--teachers, parents, peers--often
fail to achieve recognition for self evolution, and the child often
retreats back to prior behaviors, sensing the futility of trying to
improve is met with the "sins of the past," not the glees of the
The Patriot Act and swift decisions to impinge on the
Constitutional Rights of our children's evolution to become Citizens
of Vigilance suppress that hope we, as a society, can rise above
Terrorism fighting Terrorism.
of Terrorism holds us back
The paranoia of
Terrorism holds us back, as it holds back a child trying to improve
himself, or a worker seeking to overcome a unproductive reputation.
The truth is
that things are not constant. They are in a state of flux. They
change daily, sometimes minute by minute. A bad child can be good.
A good child can be bad. A poor worker can be a good worker in some
areas, and in others, bad. Terrorism can exist one minute and go
underground the next. Vigilance can rise out of the Caves of
Terror. Hope can replace dismay. Sunshine can lighten the
Flux, not perpetuation is the key to life's formula.
Yet governments and many people live in the belief that a law
must be imposed to control behavior, and that the law is
perpetual. By making a law perpetual, we resign ourselves that the
only solution to upholding it is issuing out indictments for
In other words,
we become a society of paranoids, as Orwell sought to illustrate in
Big Brother. We deny the individual the right to evolve by
suppressing his or her privacy, by Terrorizing all into thinking
that moral evolution is not possible.
But Interim Laws
rather than Perpetual Laws, would change that perspective.
An Interim Law recognizes the need for an immediate stop-gap
solution to keep the dyke from bursting. It's only a plug. It
also suggests that human beings can change, that the world is in a
state of flux, and when that flux shifts, so the law should be
removed to allow the sunshine to replace the gloom.
This tells our
children that they have the ability and right to make mistakes and
overcome them. And, that society encourages them to do so.
Our bankruptcy laws are designed that way. Years ago a
person who fell deeply in debt--who committed a crime of financial
indiscretion--was placed in debtor's prison, or sold as an
indentured servant. Today, one can file for bankruptcy and restart
one's life in hopes of not making the same mistakes. We absolve
the "sins" and let the individual proceed onward toward an evolution
of maturity from one of immaturity.
We should apply this same thinking regarding
Terrorism--whether it be emotional or physical. We should make
allowances for moral bankruptcy and the right of a person to rise
above it. Who is to say that Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein
might one day regret their acts, and plead for mercy to the world's
Who is to say an abusive parent might change and become a
Who is to say a law that strangles the rights of citizens
should be allowed to perpetuate itself beyond the immediacy of the
the Sunshine of Vigilance
If you are a
Parent of Vigilance, a Citizen of Vigilance, don't let laws be
passed that fan the flames of paranoia. Demand they be Interim
Laws, self expiring so they don't Terrorize the children in the