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Sunday, January 14, 2018

37 Minutes of Nuclear War



For 37 Minutes, Hawaii was dealing with nuclear war. Apparently someone pushed the wrong button at the warning center and it took that long for the problem to be corrected.

Now if you were one of those people who got the warning message, things got pretty darn real for a while. I'm betting a lot of people were thinking that they were definitely not prepared for nuclear missiles.

The story brings me back to the duck and cover days of my youth. Back in the 60s we had regular nuclear drills. Our teachers would dutifully march their classes down to the basement until the all clear was given.

Being an inquisitive kid with a pretty high reading level, I got hold of the actual civil defense booklets on nuclear war. One of the first things that jumped out at me was how poorly equipped we were at my school. There was no water or food storage. The basement had no backup power. We lacked filters for radioactive particles. The adults I talked to about all this basically told me to shut up and not worry about it.

So I had to ask myself, is this real or not? Many people said they would not want to survive a nuclear war and the end would be too quick to even notice. While that might be true for those in the immediate blast area, for others death would be a lot slower and more painful. The information on radiation poisoning was pretty scary to a little kid. Come to think of it, it's pretty scary as a grown adult. For those further out, death can be pretty painful and ugly. If if you survive the initial sickness your risk of cancer goes way up.

The incident in Hawaii shows that those duck and cover days are not over. Since the end of the cold war, they've been pushed to the back burner. However, thanks to our little tiff with N. Korea, it's all very real and possible once more.

You could look at the false alarm as just another screw up. Another way to think of it is as a test. How ready are we? I bet for a lot of Hawaiians, they thought they were not very ready at all. Scary days are here again.

-Sixbears

13 comments:

  1. We played that silliness when I was in grade school, too. The only thing was, we were a very real target as we were a suburb of an air base and a third to a half of my class in any given year were military brats. We pointed out that hiding under our desks, when half of the exterior wall of our classroom was glass, was pretty stupid, be it a nuclear drill or tornado drill. We were told to hush-up, repeatedly, but when a bunch of third and forth graders can see the stupidity, you have to wonder about the 'adults' in charge.

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    1. The kids could see the emperor had no clothes.

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  2. Much of it seems to be conditioning and control.

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    1. It's got little to do with actual safety, that's for sure.

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  3. Personally, I suspect it was a hack that they'll never admit to happening.

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    1. Could be. If it is, you are right, we'll never know.

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  4. This incident is inexcusable. I hope they learn from this incident and install safe guards like it takes two or three people to push the message send button like a nuke sub missile launch.

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    1. You want something that is fast, but that can't be accidentally tripped. It's not that hard to get right, and yet . . .

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  5. We're not prepared and never will be. I know it scared the s..t out of those in Hawaii.

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    1. We may not be as a society but the ones at the top of the food chain are in a lot better shape. If it happens, they'll find out if their hardened bunkers etc will work. My opinion is we are as closed to a nuclear exchange breaking out, possibly by accident, than we have ever been since they started that clock thing. The rest of us may just end up as crispy critters thanks to our "wise" leadership.

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    2. We don't have a for real civil defense system for the little people. The leaders have complete underground cities. If they retreat down there, let's block up the doors and plug the air vents.

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  6. I too, remember those duck and cover days. At school, we had to duck and cover under our desks. My dad was a member of the Civil Defense and had one of those white helmets.

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    1. Those desks must have been sturdier than they looked to be able to survive a nuclear blast.

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