I’ve been told my blog is too dark, too negative. “People can’t read that stuff all the time.” I know it’s true. How do you get up in the morning? So don’t read this, because today I don’t just go dark and negative, I want to scare you. Today I go nuclear.
All those zombie movies you watch, the dystopian Hunger Games, the Terminators, and horror flicks, don’t come close to the terror of the nuclear holocaust that lurks just around the corner. I come by this naturally because I grew up in the 50s and 60s, my dad worked in the defense industry designing our nuclear submarines, and some of my best friends were Navy brats whose dads went on patrols in enemy territory on submarines armed and primed for war. I read Nevil Shute’s On the Beach (if you live in Australia you get a brief respite before the radiation kills you), and watched Dr. Strangelove (or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb). What made the most impression was a novel by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler called Fail-Safe. The fail-safe mechanism for alerting our nuclear-armed bombers fails, the bombers are mistakenly given the war code and head for Russia, and they can’t be called back. My dad thought this possibility was all too real. We watched the movie too. So that nuclear holocaust dream that sensitive kids might have – they do a reasonable semblance of it in one of the Terminator movies. I saw that one first hand, waking up in a sweat and surprised to be here.
Down the street Captain Beach, a famed submariner, author of Run Silent, Run Deep, and then captain of the submarine Triton, was building a bomb shelter in his back yard. A friend’s mother, driving me home from a party and listening to the radio during the Cuban Missile Crisis, suddenly pulled the car over and blurted out, “They’re really going to do it.” We didn’t have to ask “do what?”
Alright. That was then. Should we worry now? Let me link you to the Wikipedia article on known Near Incidents. Wikipedia lists about eleven such incidents, including the Cuban Missile Crisis itself, when an American destroyer depth charged a Soviet sub armed with nuclear torpedoes. The list does not include the Scorpion incident during which knowledgeable people claim an American submarine was torpedoed by the Soviets and the incident was covered up to avoid a nuclear confrontation. See Scorpion Down. That book alleges the incident occurred in retaliation for the American sinking of a Soviet sub. We are here today only because, in the crunch, the cooler heads have prevailed.
And now the American people have put Donald Trump and Steve Bannon in the White House. Both have expressed fascination with nuclear weapons. Bannon believes we are already at war with Islam. My non-scientific opinion is that both of them should be certified as mad and put in a secure institution. Should I mention that the modern nuclear weapons are magnitudes larger than those at Hiroshima and Nagasaki? I’m scared, you should be scared. This is not normal. We can’t afford for our representatives in Congress to be “statesmen” and play their partisan games. This is not a game.
If you are not at ground zero, what probably happens first is the power grid gets fried by the electromagnetic pulse of the first bombs. You may have a few minutes to wonder why the internet isn’t working and why Verizon is down when you try to call the power company.