COLLATERAL DAMAGE

Have you seen "Collateral Damage?" It's about "world terrorists" from Columbia who wanted the US out of their business. In order to make their point, they delivered a motorcycle bomb. They missed their actual targets, but during the course of the explosion, the wife and son of the "hero" were killed. When a spokesman who was sympathetic with the movement was asked about the innocent losses of life, he said that it was regrettable, but that it was just what they called, "collateral damage."

Then it struck me. At Baylor, or more specifically, from Baylor, we have a group of alumnae and fans who believe very strongly that they have the solution to our football woes. They believe strongly that the total reasons for our lack of success since joining the Big 12 has been in the coaching and the administration and they want changes. Actually, if one is comparing apples to apples, their motivation and desires and they way they communicate those motivations and desires are not really any different from their "world terrorists" counterparts, especially concerning "collateral damage." Let me explain.

Let's take a "terrorists" group – any group from anywhere in the world. The first thing they need is a cause. It really doesn't matter what the cause is because once they begin to "terrorize," the cause, more or less, goes out the window and all we're left to deal with is power. Power is the unspoken or unseen motivation behind any kind of terrorists' movement. Politics and/or Religion may be used as causes, or more appropriately the named excuse, but "power" is what is behind it all.

We'll stop here and make the comparisons so far. These "Baylor Terrorists" feel very strongly about this football coaching staff and want them fired. They also feel that the head of the sports administration, in this case the Athletic Director is more a part of the problem than the solution and want him gone, also. A few have even indicated displeasure with the President of the Country, I mean, University, and want him removed also. The sanest of the "terrorist group" feel that removing the University President might be too aggressive at this point and are willing to "settle" for the A.D. and head football coach. It's really quite easy to see the comparisons, isn't it? However, "power" is also an issue. Many of these "Baylor terrorists" just like other terrorists are nameless and faceless and practice much of their "terror" under the anonymity of the internet. Some of the leaders have faces and are known, and even speak openly about their deeds, and to what lengths they will go to attempt to "force" their solutions onto the decision makers and administration. It is this act of trying to "force" the issue and to "make" the decision makers submit to their pressures that creates the "power."

There is a difference, a big difference however. For we are America and these terrorists have the right to protest and to disagree and voice their opposition. It's probably a very good thing they are in America, because if this were Columbia or Iraq, these "decision makers and administrators" would probably seek them out and have them shot, and just not worry about it anymore. However, the analogy as to what they are trying to do and how they are attempting to accomplish it is flawless and uncomfortably close to how "world terrorists" do the same things.

"World terrorist" have a plan. After they know what it is they want, the first thing they feel they must do is get the attention of their target audiences as well as recruit followers. Therefore, they start with propaganda. They start preaching dissatisfaction and calling for changes and pretty much stirring up followers. At first, most of the leaders are anonymous so they will have more freedom to do their work, however they have to find one or two individuals who are willing to come out. This is normally someone(s) who is known to the people, maybe even one who once served in some capacity for the opposition, but who has name recognition and can gather followers because of who he is, or more to the point, who he "used to be." It is also possible that this individual or these individuals even tried to become "involved" with this new leadership, but were turned down, or otherwise rejected.

The "Baylor terrorists" got started on the internet. They found a "headquarters" on the internet which appeared to be the most conducive to getting their message out, in other words, where most felt the same way they did. Then they picked up some leadership with past or present ties to the university, and began to spread their "propaganda" and threats, and began doing those "legal" and "moral" things they could do to affect their protests. Some even began setting things up after the first loss against Boston College. Then as each week went by, more fans became disenchanted with results, as more and more joined the movement. They infiltrated other websites, told their stories, posted their displeasures, and all the time calling for change. Then they started with threats of boycotts and withholding contributions from the university in order to have a financial effect, or at least a threat of financial consequences. As time went by, some even exercised their options on those boycotts and threats, staying away from games and/or withholding or greatly reducing their contributions to the university in protest. They did all this, all the while, trying to force their "ways of thinking" onto those who were involved in the decision process.

However, nothing was getting done. The school still had its President, the same Athletic Director, and the same head football coach. Now, it matters little what these three individuals and their staffs felt the problems were, as far as the "Baylor terrorists" are concerned they are the problem and once they are gone and they have the leadership in place they feel will be successful, everything will improve to their level of contentment, or at least until something else they disagree with or dislike comes up, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

When the "world terrorists" have exercised their forms of protest such as propaganda, then work stoppages, withholding investments, and anything intended to disrupt the lives and liberties of the leadership, they go to the extreme – they commit acts of terrorism. They blow up buildings, or they commandeer aircraft and fly them into buildings, or they assassinate, or they commit other extremes because they feel their message is "that" important and that nothing else matters. They also feel that any loss of life, maiming, or injuries that come from such activities are regrettable, but a necessary by-product, otherwise known as "collateral damage." They have made the commitment, spent the money and even elected their martyrs who will be publicly known for their deeds. The tragedy is that by what they are doing, people's lives are affected, people are killed, hurt, disfigured, maimed, and certainly inconvenienced, but those are allowable losses or losses they can live with because they are necessary in order for them to "force" the changes they want made.

Now, am I saying the "Baylor terrorists" are just like the "world terrorists?" Certainly not, because no one is getting killed here, no real estate is being destroyed, but after that, it's like apples and apples. The "Baylor terrorists" drop bombs of their own by spending their money on airplanes to fly over "fan-filled" stadiums to carry their messages of protest and disenchantment. There is also a rumor they are going to pay for billboard advertisements all over Waco to spread their messages of "demands." These are nothing more than "bombs" dropped on the unexpected masses to garner attention and show how dedicated to their tasks these "Baylor terrorists" are.

However, how about the innocents? How about, for example, the players on the field who see these things written about their coaches? I mean, some of these coaches have become "father-figures" to some of these players who don't have fathers. These are people they care about, but yet these "Baylor terrorists" are attacking them. These players may also become distracted and might even make a mistake on the playing field that could cost us. That's all right, you see - it's just "collateral damage."

How about the wives and friends of the coaches and administrators or their children who can't understand why this is being done by supposedly people who are supposed to represent the same things they've been told Baylor represents? How can they be expected to understand that these are Baylor people who just disagree with the way things are being done and feel they have to go to this extreme to effect changes? It doesn't matter that they may not understand why their parents or friends are being attacked. But see, again it's just acceptable "collateral damage." They don't care if or who gets their feelings hurt – their cause is the bigger, more important picture. The similarities are glaring.

How about the football recruits who are attending the game? The "Baylor terrorists" are virtually telling them they shouldn't play for these coaches under this administration. They may be also sending them a message they don't realize – that Baylor is not where they need to come play football, because if they do, and they don't perform the way these "terrorists" feel they should within the time-frame they feel they should, they may very well become the objects of their "displeasure." Once again, it's just "collateral damage."

What many of the "Baylor terrorists" don't seem to realize is that they also have another audience. This audience is in the form of other coaches and recruiters from competing schools who are also aware of what's going on, and are using the activities and demonstrations by these "Baylor terrorist" to try and convince some of the better recruits who have committed to Baylor to change their minds and commit to their schools. I suppose it's possible, no make that likely, that one or more of these recruits may change their commitments and may go play for one of our competitors and could one day deal us some real misery and cost us winning a future game because we are playing against them instead of with them. That's okay too, because see, it's just more of that acceptable "collateral damage."

There is little doubt that many of those involved in the activities described above are going to shout "foul" and how dare me to convey such a comparison. True, terrorism is an ugly thing and is a very serious and distasteful matter. Some, who feel the analogy is unfair will say that I am content with losing and don't care, but that's just the point – I do care – I care about this university. But, my intentions are to point out the similarities of how a few people can get caught up in a movement such as the one going on now, and totally lose site of all the ramifications that such activities may invoke. However, some of those involved, especially those who have taken leadership roles are akin to "union negotiators" during a strike. When there is no strike, or in this case, no protest, they have zero power. They are no more, no less than an ordinary fan. However, right now, using this as a screen, they have some power, or at least they feel like they do, and as things get hotter and hotter the power becomes even more consuming. So, look closely, look rationally, and focus on what has been said – now, just how closely does what's going on resemble real "terrorism?"


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