The good news about nuclear destruction
Posted: August 24, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Shane Connor
What possible good news could there ever be about nuclear destruction coming to America, whether it is dirty bombs, terrorist nukes or ICBMs from afar?
In a word, they are all survivable for the vast majority of American families, if they know what to do beforehand and have made even the most modest preparations.
Tragically, though, most Americans today won't give much credence to this good news, much less seek out such vital life-saving instruction, as they have been jaded by our culture's pervasive myths of nuclear un-survivability.
Most people think that if nukes go off, then everybody is going to die, or will wish they had. That's why you hear such absurd comments as: "If it happens, I hope I'm at ground zero and go quickly."
This defeatist attitude was born as the disarmament movement ridiculed any alternatives to their agenda. The sound Civil Defense strategies of the '60s have been derided as being largely ineffective, or at worst a cruel joke. With the supposed end of the Cold War in the '80s, most Americans neither saw a need to prepare, nor believed that preparation would do any good. Today, with growing prospects of nuclear terrorism, we see emerging among the public either paralyzing fear or irrational denial. People can no longer envision effective preparations for surviving a nuclear attack.
In fact, though, the biggest surprise for most Americans, if nukes are really unleashed, is that they will still be here!
Most will survive the initial blasts because they won't be close enough to any "ground zero," and that is very good news. Unfortunately, few people will be prepared to survive the coming radioactive fallout, which will eventually kill many times more than the blast. However, there is still more good news: Well over 90 percent of the potential casualties from fallout can be avoided if the public is pre-trained through an aggressive national Civil Defense educational program. Simple measures taken immediately after a nuclear blast, by a trained public, can prevent agonizing death and injury from radiation.
The National Planning Scenario No. 1, an originally confidential internal 2004 study by the Department of Homeland Security, demonstrated the above survival odds when they examined the effects of a terrorist nuke going off in Washington, D.C. They discovered that a 10 kiloton nuke, about two-thirds the size of the Hiroshima bomb, detonated at ground level, would result in about 15,000 immediate deaths and another 15,000 casualties from the initial blast, thermal flash and radiation release. As horrific as that is, the surprising revelation here is that over 99 percent of the residents in the D.C. area will have just witnessed and survived their first nuclear explosion. Clearly, the good news is most people will survive the initial blast.
The study also determined that another 250,000 people would soon be at risk from lethal doses of radiation from the fallout drifting downwind toward them after the blast. These much larger casualty numbers are avoidable, and that's more good news, but only for those pre-trained by a Civil Defense program in what to do before it arrives.
Another study, released this month by the Rand Corporation, looked at a terrorist 10-kiloton nuke arriving in a cargo container and being exploded in the Port of Long Beach, Calif. Over 150,000 people were estimated to be at risk downwind from fallout, again, many more than from the initial blast itself.
Today, lacking any meaningful Civil Defense program, millions of American families continue to be at risk and could perish needlessly for lack of essential knowledge that used to be taught at the grade school level.
The public urgently needs to be instructed in Civil Defense basics, like the good news that thousands can be saved employing the old "Duck and Cover" tactic, without which most people will instead run to the nearest window to see what the big flash was just in time to be shredded by the glass imploding inward from the shock wave. They need to know when promptly evacuating, doing so perpendicular to the coming downwind drift of the fallout would be their best strategy. They must also be taught how to effectively shelter in place for a brief time while the radioactive fallout loses 90 percent of it's lethal intensity in the first seven hours and 99 percent of it in two days. For those requiring sheltering from fallout, the majority would only need a couple or three days of hunkering down, not weeks on end.
This good news is within easy grasp of most people because an effective improvised family fallout shelter can be put together at home both cheaply and quickly, but only if the public is trained beforehand, as was begun in the '60s with our national Civil Defense program.
Unfortunately, our government today is doing little to promote nuclear preparedness and Civil Defense instruction among the general public. Regrettably, most of our officials, like the public, are still captive to the same illusions that training and preparation are ineffective against a nuclear threat.
Department of Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff demonstrated this attitude last year when he responded to the following question in USA Today:
Q: In the last four years, the most horrific scenario – a nuclear attack – may be the least discussed. If there were to be a nuclear attack tomorrow by terrorists on an American city, how would it be handled?
A: In the area of a nuclear bomb, it's prevention, prevention, prevention. If a nuclear bomb goes off, you are not going to be able to protect against it. There's no city strong enough infrastructure-wise to withstand such a hit. No matter how you approach it, there'd be a huge loss of life.
Mr. Chertoff fails to grasp that most of that "huge loss of life" is preventable if the survivors of the blast and those downwind knew what to do beforehand. He only acknowledges that the infrastructure will be severely compromised – responders won't be responding. Civil Defense training of the public is clearly the only hope for those in the fallout path. Of course, the government should try and prevent it happening first, but the answer he should have given to that question is: "preparation, preparation, preparation" for when prevention might fail.
The federal government must launch a national mass media, business-supported and even school-based effort, superseding our most ambitious public awareness campaigns like for AIDS, drug abuse, drunk driving, seat belts, anti-smoking and smoke detectors. The effort should percolate down to every level of our society. Let's be clear – we are talking about the potential to save, or lose, many times more lives than those saved by all these other noble efforts combined!
Instead, Homeland Security continues to be focused primarily on two missions:
1. Interdiction – stopping nuclear materials and terrorists at the border
2. COG – Continuity of Government for when No. 1 fails
The most important mission has been largely ignored:
3. Continuity of the Public – proven mass media Civil Defense training of the public that would make the survival difference for the vast majority of Americans affected by a nuclear event.
This tragic and deadly oversight won't change until the crippling myths of nuclear un-survivability are banished by the good news that a trained and prepared public can, and ultimately has to, save themselves.
National Civil Defense is an issue we hope and pray will come to the forefront politically this fall, with both parties vying to outdo each other in proposing aggressive Civil Defense educational programs. We are not asking billions for provisioned public fallout shelters for all, like what already awaits many of our politicians. We are just asking for a comprehensive mass media, business- and school-based re-release of the proven practical strategies of Civil Defense education, similar to what already has been embraced by the Chinese, Russians, Swiss, Israelis and even Singapore.
In the meantime, though, don't wait around for the government to instruct and prepare your own family and community. Educate yourself today and begin establishing your own nuclear survival preparations by reading the free nuke prep primer "What To Do If A Nuclear Disaster Is Imminent!"
Then pass copies on to friends, neighbors, relatives, churches and even local news media – and to your local elected representatives – with a brief note attached saying simply: "We hope/pray we never need this, but just in case, read it now, and keep it close for later on!" You might also forward them a copy of this article to help spread the good news that's liberating American's from the deadly myths of nuclear un-survivability!
Shane Connor is the CEO of www.ki4u.com and www.nukalert.com, consultants and developers of Civil Defense solutions to government, military, private organizations and individual families.