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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

"It could be any time. It would be so easy."

"It could be any time. It would be so easy."
The terrible events of Friday night in Paris got me to thinking about a Law and Order episode that has always stuck in my mind for various reasons. I will elaborate on why throughout this blog.
First though, let me say that in no way am I trying to minimize what happened to the victims Friday night. Real people just out living life died and that's a terrible thing, something nobody deserves or should have to deal with. That also goes for the relatives, friends and loved ones of those people. However, I am still going to focus on the big picture of what I believe is going on here. There is a lot of talk on Social Media about it, and of course, I have my opinions as well. 
While many are talking about borders and refugees, or many other secondary factors, I don't see those as relevant issues to this situation. They are issues for sure, but not in this case. My position is that there is no safe border at this point, and anybody who really wants to enter a country, legally or otherwise, can do so even under the tightest security and precautions. If they want to, they can and they will. As well, many of the worst attacks come from home grown terrorists, kids who have been recruited by ISIS or any other group devoted to terror and evil actions. Many aren't even born as Arabic, Muslims, or Islamic, or however you choose to describe and categorize who actually carries out these attacks. In Canada, the majority were neither refugees or illegals, and many were born here and lived reasonably normal lives until they were recruited and brainwashed. That sort of thing you can never stop.
 The overall premise of Law And Order always was "ripped from the headlines" but with a dramatic spin and artistic license to alter the facts and directions to make it more interesting and less predictable. That is what was great about the show. What happened in Paris however is fact based. The facts are the facts and we must view all of this within that context. Many will dispute what those facts are, and that is fair. But my assessment doesn't take into account any emotion or speculation. Strictly the cold hard facts of what I think happened and why it happened. And why it will again.
One of my favorite episodes, because it was so well written, chilling and well crafted, was the Season 4, Episode 14 episode called Censure. It still chills me to watch it. I watched it again twice--start to finish--for this blog piece, and it still is very disturbing, haunting, and yet intriguing. Many Law and Order episodes met that criteria. This one was just that much better than that.
In this particular episode, there are two main story lines. First, a family is being threatened by someone who indicates he will kidnap their 5 year old daughter. They find out that he has been watching and stalking them for some time. The motivation of why is unclear at the start of the episode. By the middle of the episode, it is very clear.The second story line weaves within the first, as most do. Claire Kincaid, the assistant to the assistant District Attorney, Ben Stone, has a man from her past, a powerful judge named Joel Thayer who becomes the main suspect for the threatened kidnappings. Kincaid both worked for Thayer, and had an affair with him. Kincaid tries to get off the case, but she doesn't succeed as she conceals the previous affair and that creates all sorts of conflicts when they get to trial. Clearly a conflict of interest as she does not divulge the details of why she wanted off the case until its too late and the damage has been done. When it becomes very clear that Thayer is the guilty party, the two story lines weave back and forth within the story as it goes forward. The common thread of both story lines is threats, intimidation, control and fear. It is debatable whether Thayer would have ever taken the child, but he doesn't and never makes an actual attempt.
How does Thayer go about accomplishing this terror on the family?At first, he leaves the child's favorite doll in a box in front of their apartment. That is immediately followed by a very disturbing disguised voice message on their answering machine. The child has not returned home from school. The mother, Janet Rudman, becomes frantic and then contacts the police. Out of the blue, the child and her nanny show up at home while the police are there.
The mother is relieved. One of the two detectives, Mike Logan, knows this is just the beginning, not the end of the story. 

Janet Rudman: "Everything is alright, it's over."
Logan:  "My guess, its not over for the guy who made that call."
Thayer is stalking Rudman, a woman who also had an affair with him, but who has now rejected him, as Kincaid had years earlier. Next he sends a haunting video to Rudman and her family along with a ransom demand. The video is basically showing her how easy it would be to take her daughter, whenever he wants to. Below are the words he uses on that video. It's very telling and very relevant to Friday's attacks, and what they are really about. (In my view). You really have to hear how the video was distorted and the way they presented it (he presented it). It was designed to create maximum fear of a total psycho, which Thayer is. Also which ISIS members and followers are. 

Thayer: "Could have been then. A turned head. A moments distraction. She could be taken so easily."
Using haunting and disturbing videos is a tactic ISIS has used many times in the last few years. It is meant to remind the public of the reality of their potential and persistent brutality.
To this point in the episode, nobody knows or has figured out it is Thayer doing all this.
When a messenger is caught trying to pick up the ransom, he leads them to Thayer. The Rudman's--specifically her husband--find it hard to believe that someone they know and have common social interests with, could be doing this. Lenny Brisco, the other lead detective, reminds him of the realities of life and people we think we know well. At this point, it is still not clear or known that Thayer is that person. He is, however, a member of the Rudman's private club.

Mr. Rudman: I find it hard to believe we've been having dinner next to that creature on the phone.
Brisco: Well, life can be full of surprises.
Mr. Rudman: Look, this is absurd. These people are our friends.
Brisco: All but one of them. 

All the evidence leads the detectives to Thayer, and he is arrested and charged. As you would expect, he goes after the only defense he would have left.....and that is that this is persecution, not prosecution. Ben Stone even portrays the tactic that very way.
As it turns out, Thayer has used this tactic on Kincaid when she rejected him. When she exposes him causing him to be arrested, removed as a judge and lose his marriage, he lashes out at her when she comes after him on his boat, for a tactic he does not like and is not used to: Resistance.
Later in the episode, they come back to that, as Kincaid engages Thayer, both of them seemingly ruined by the whole situation.

Thayer: "Hey, you want real trouble?"

Kincaid: "What are you going to threaten me with Joel, I'm a censured lawyer and you're barely a judge?"

Thayer: "You little bitch."

Kincaid: "No husband you can tell. No child you can threaten to harm."

Thayer: "That's right. But I learned my lesson. So, get the hell off my boat and stay out of my life. There's some things I wont allow."

Kincaid: "No Joel. There's just certain things you can't control."

That is how it worked in the episode. In real life, in the real world, ISIS does have complete control at this point.
To ISIS, in my view, its not about killing people. It's not about violence. If they just wanted to kill people, they could kill thousands, maybe millions of innocent people in a day, and get way more bang for their buck.
World domination is the long term goal. I will return to that at the end when I take on a statement made by a very prominent politician about all this. But in the present, their main goal is to be disruptive and to threaten by intimidation. To deter resistance. Terror and killing the average person is the means to that strategy and end.
It's about showing that they can strike anytime, and that we are helpless to stop them. To achieve that, they use violence and they kill people. They want to let us know that they are in control of their purported destiny, and we cannot get in their way. If we do, they will act very much like Thayer. Further, they want us to see it.

"It could be any time. It would be so easy."


That is the haunting line at the end of the video Thayer sends to the Rudmans. It is overt mind control intimidation. In many ways, it is much more powerful than actual actions. It has more long lasting reach. It is the scar left on our brains after the brutality of blood and death have faded and healed. That is how fear and intimidation works. And it did work. Janet Rudman is shaken. Even though she is scared, she decides to go to the park and pay the ransom. She just wants it to end. To make him go away.
Janet Rudman: "What else can we do?  I cannot live like this."

ISIS want to disrupt our lives. Strike every so often. Not often enough to have our guard up or our backs up and be on alert. Just enough to remind us when we start to relax that we can never relax. They are in control. They control the ballgame. We have no control or options. They want to take away our fun. Our freedom. Our piece of mind. That is what they want. Mind control. They want us to urge our powers that be to not get involved in ISIS affairs. To deter us from caring about a bunch of people and places too far away from us that have no real relevance to our daily lives. That is what they want to achieve.
Later in the episode, on the witness stand, Mr. Rudman referred to the actions of Thayer as a "campaign of terror".
And right now, that is what this is. A campaign of terror. ISIS have achieved that goal and they are very good at it. If nothing else, the masterminds behind all of this are very tactical. They are now in our heads. Again.
What can anybody do about any of that? On the home front? Nothing. There is nothing you can do. If you even try, start altering your daily behavior, then they have won for sure. They are acting and we are always reacting. If we start acting before they are even acting, they are so deep in our minds and controlling us, that we are lost for good. On the home front, there is little that we can do other than hope its not us who is one of the unfortunate to be in the bar, the concert hall, the stadium, the mall, the school, the church or the office tower when they strike again. Which they will. That is a guarantee.

 On the bigger, world stage, the answer is direct action. All out war. With obvious and massive casualties. It is just like any war. If you want to win the war, not just the battles, you have to be willing to risk a lot and risk the chance that you don't get to survive to enjoy the victory. That is what is required and at stake. 

French President Hollande has called it war, and he is going to show no mercy, as you don't in a true war. That is the way its going to be from now on.
That wont help or stop the home front attacks. Not in the short term. In fact, more air strikes, more resistance means escalation of these types of events by ISIS. What will people do?
Well, I have friends who have visited Paris in the last few years. They are saying now they wont go back. Two attacks in less than a year. They don't think its safe. In that way ISIS has won. Partly won. Wait until they can convince people that going to the mall in their own neighborhoods is not safe. Have them looking over their shoulder at every person there, and in the parking lot. At every meaningless package or piece of garbage. That will be a very bad day for freedom. But a great day for their desire for control. In the region I live, just in the last few days, there have been 4 or 5 attacks on Muslims who have nothing to do with anything. ISIS is definitely winning the mind control and intimidation game from all of this. Which was their ideology in the first place.
So, the next time you are thinking of going to a concert, maybe 3 months in advance, will you consider how safe it is? Whether its a likely target for a terrorist statement? Maybe. But probably not. Today you are thinking about it. Next week, or the week after, or month after, you will just forget about it.The truth is, there is no likely target. There is no way to predict. Nobody in their right minds predicted that anybody would have the balls, the skill or just the wacko concept to fly two planes into the twin towers, and then try to fly more planes into the White House, Pentagon and any other place they might have targeted. Nobody thought that on a Friday night in Paris, a cafe, a stadium and a concert Hall would be the target for a bloody mass murder.
It's a fools game to try and predict. The only thing you can predict is that the next target is not something we can predict at this moment. What you can predict is that it will happen, that those that do it will not be so well known and obvious that they could have been stopped, they likely wont be refugees or illegals, and that there are so many of them that you cannot stop them all.

And the one thing you know now, is that for most, they don't consider any terrorist potential plan to be out of the question and not likely. No matter how crazy it sounds today. That idea has now been planted in our head, just as Thayer did to the Rudmans.
I can only tell you this. I wont even consider it when I make my daily decisions. They never get in my head. But, there are certain places in the world I wont visit, because I already deem them to be unsafe places. That is just a judgement call I make. We all do. And one I've made long before there was an ISIS out there, and not because they are out there now. That part wont change.
Is it hopeless then? No, its not hopeless. Much like Thayer, the way you stop them is to figure out who is doing it (planning it), and how to put them out of business. A Thayer can always hire someone to do the job, but the idea will always be his. Stop him, stop the terror. 

The way you stop this type of thing, over time, is to find the masterminds and wipe them out. The majority who follow are just sheep. They will follow a peaceful leader like Ghandi as much as they will follow a bloodthirsty, crazed leader like Hitler, Bin Laden or Assad. Killing 10,000 of them on the fields of Turkey or Iran, or Iraq, or Syria, wont make a dent---long term. Short term, it might push them back. But for those 10,000 there will be 100,000 more to take their place. Killing the 200 or 300 at the top will make the bigger impression.
At the end of the episode, Thayer is cornered by all the sides, and has to plead out. He rails against actually taking responsibility, but when pushed to do it or go back to a trial, he finally admits to his motivation.

"I just wanted to scare her. If I scared her, then she couldn't leave me."

Part of the problem is that our politicians, or the ones who want to be, don't understand how this whole dynamic works, and they spew out foolishness that backs that up. On the weekend, Marco Rubio, who in my mind is the leading candidate to become the President at this point in time, did exactly that.

“The attacks in Paris,” Rubio began,“are a wake-up call.”..... This is not a geopolitical issue where they want to conquer territory and it’s two countries fighting against each other,” Rubio declared. “They literally want to overthrow our society and replace it with their radical, Sunni Islamic view of the future. This is not a grievance-based conflict. This is a clash of civilizations.” 
In my view Rubio is just dead wrong. No, its not a wake up call. The correct term is a "warning shot". And it is very much a grievance-based conflict. Another way of viewing it, is that it is a statement of what they can do when we interfere in their affairs. Of course, interfere is their perspective. Not mine. And not probably yours. However, its the message they are sending. If you come into our house and try to interfere, we can come into yours and make you pay for that. Its not a coincidence that Paris was attacked just after France initiated air strikes in Syria aimed at ISIS. It had everything to do with them doing that.
Another way to look at it, is that its a warning shot at the USA, and/or Britain, Canada or any other country that enters this fray. In other words, see what we did to those French when they messed with our business? We can and will do that to you if you decide to follow their lead. So, back off.
Yes, we disagree on lifestyle with them. That is something that creates this type of conflict. But in this case, not the reason for the attack. The reason for the attacks in Paris on Friday was to get France, and other Western countries, even Russia as well, to back off. Stay out of their affairs. The author of the above article I linked makes that very valid point at the end of his piece, when he refutes Rubio's misguided claims.

"it has everything to do with America’s “military assets in the Middle East.” Women drive in Costa Rica too, but the Islamic State is unlikely to attack it, because Costa Rica is not contesting ISIS’s control of the Middle East. The United States and France are challenging that control, and as long as they are, the Islamic State will try to attack them."
Those that use fear and intimidation to gain their way, like ISIS does, and Thayer did in the episode, will use that very tactic when they don't get their way and go directly after those they perceive are sticking their noses where they think it doesn't belong. Until they get their way.
Since ISIS will never get their way, the type of attack we saw Friday in Paris, and 14 years ago in New York, will happen whenever ISIS feels the need to show how easy it can be for them to do that. It could be any time. They make sure to remind you of that. It's the key point of the entire blog. The reason behind the attack. To remind us to stay out of their way. Think twice about butting in. Or else.
Below is the translated statement that ISIS has put out there for their "reasoning" to initiate the types of things they did Friday in Paris and to Charlie Hebdo back in January. It backs up my argument that they are sending a message to France, and of course, to anybody else who mixes in what they consider none of our business and not a fight we should get involved in.

"Let France and those who walk in its path know that they will remain on the top of the list of targets of the Islamic State, and that the smell of death will never leave their noses as long as they lead the convoy of the Crusader campaign, and dare to curse our Prophet, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, and are proud of fighting Islam in France and striking the Muslims in the land of the Caliphate with their planes, which did not help them at all in the streets of Paris and its rotten alleys."
What is ISIS? Aside from everything else vile about them, they are cowards. They don't fight battles against those who directly attack them. It would be easy to equate them with two men who tough talk themselves into a street fight. While one side is ready to fight head on (The French, U.S. and its allies) , the other side (ISIS) doesn't want to fight that fight. So, while the street fight is taking shape, they go to your house and murder your family. It's the cowards way of standing up for what you say you believe.
It's what Thayer did in the episode. He can't have Janet Rudman, so he threatens to kidnap her daughter. Claire Kincaid is trying to stop him from committing his acts of terror, so he tries to have her disbarred.

At the end of the day, the only way to deal with these types is to slaughter every last one of them, which is what will eventually happen once they pull a stunt like they did in Paris one or two more times. Even the most peaceful and moderate of us will, at that point, endorse a full out, no holds barred attack on them, with the understanding that many innocent people on both sides will have to be sacrificed for the greater good of wiping them out completely, or at least enough to the point that they are negligible on a world type stage.
It's exactly what Hollande is doing now, and its what the Americans will do if the next attack is on them. Or the British. Its easy to say that ISIS is looking for a fight and trying to engage us (which is true) and we should not give in and avoid that type of taunting. That is easy to say, but in the real world, when someone directly attacks you, to your core and tells you they are doing so, you don't back down. You meet them at the pass and beat them to death. It's the only way. There is no peaceful solution to dealing with an ISIS. Most of us understand that. If you don't stop them, they will just run you over on the way to wherever they wish to end up.
Once again, as I do often, I will refer to the Untouchables scene with Kevin Costner (Ness) and Sean Connery (Malone). It is very much on point here.
 Malone: You said you wanted to know how to get Capone. Do you really want to get him? You see what I'm saying? What are you prepared to do?
Ness: Everything within the law.
: And then what are you prepared to do? If you open the ball on these people, Mr. Ness, you must be prepared to go all the way. Because they won't give up the fight until one of you is dead.
: I want to get Capone. I don't know how to get him.
: You want to get Capone? Here's how you get him. He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue! That's the Chicago way, and that's how you get Capone! Now, do you want to do that? Are you ready to do that? I'm making you a deal. Do you want this deal?

I close there, and I use that scene for a reason. ISIS has no intention of stopping their steamrolling of every country they can take. When anybody decides to get in the way of that, they are going to terrorize and kill in the way they did in Paris Friday. And more than that, they will use that threat to further that cause. If they are going to put 130 French citizens out for a night out in the morgue, then our leaders have to put 130 ISIS stragegists right there as well. Since we understand and get that the threat factor works while they don't respect the threat that comes back with that, it leaves no choice but to go further than even bothering to threaten. And now would be a very good time. But it wont be easy. It will be hard.
Freedom is and always be a hard thing to gain, and maintain.

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