Bringing Back The Nuclear Anxiety

How I Never Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Written by Bo Elder on Tuesday March 21, 2017 - Permalink - Category: life

I was 12 years old in November 1983 when the made-for-television movie 'The Day After' came out. They sent us home from school with a piece of paper warning our parents about the movie. It was the apex of the Cold War, and nuclear war was never very far from my mind, what with a major SAC base 60 miles away, and an airport with a 10,000 foot runway less than 10 miles away from my bedroom - a bedroom that was not hardened against a 50 Mt nuclear weapon.

Then, Mr. Reagan told Mr. Gorbachev to 'tear down that wall', and within a few years, the Cold War ended as the Soviet Union dissolved. To be sure, the weapons were still there, but thanks to the arms control work that began in the 80s and continued through the 90s, the threat of an all out nuclear war between the two great superpowers became less probable.

And here we are today. 

Browsing one of my favorite former-Gawker property 'Lifehacker', I come across a story titled, "Where to Hide If a Nuclear Bomb Goes Off In Your Area", and the nuclear anxiety I'd left behind in my teenage years decides to come back for a visit.

Let's get something clear: if a nuclear bomb goes off in your area, the best place to be is directly under that nuclear bomb, where your body will immediately and painlessly return to its constituent atoms (mostly carbon). This positioning assumes that the nuclear bomb in question is one of many, perhaps thousands, that are going off at nearly the same time all over your hemisphere. Maybe you're just unlucky and it's just a simple attack by a rogue nation or a terrorist cell. In that case, I guess the recommendations detailed in the article will be of some use. After all, there will be medical facilities still intact, even if they're a hundred miles away, or so.

With bloated drunks like Steve Bannon* in the White House, whispering his apocalyptic worldview into the empty head of Donald Trump, we seem to be moving further and further toward a period where nuclear weapons will be used on the battlefield rather than used as a deterrent. Because our President has no real understanding of nuclear weapons.

If 'The Day After' left any impression on me, it's that the survivors of a nuclear war don't really survive - they linger on a bit, but the lingering isn't very pleasant.

I'm hopeful that Donald Trump makes it through his whole administration without any sort of major terrorist incident on United States soil, and I hope that the guy who carries the nuclear football will only have to endure selfies, rather than opening that briefcase up for actual use.

The last 25+ years have been fairly enjoyable without the nuclear anxiety... Thanks, Lifehacker, for bringing me back to the 80s.

* - not substantiated, but the nose on that guy is telling - it's telling me he drinks a lot of liquor.