Friday, January 11, 2013

boys and their toys

Back in my youth there was a general fear pervading the world and all of its inhabitants.  Everyone, everywhere was living their lives with the threat of quick catastrophic death at any minute.  Hard to believe now, no one talks about it, but the threat is worse now than ever before.  Big boys and their toys. Bay of Pigs was not a paragraph in old history books, it was a tense, fearful time that led into the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the first time the term Mutual Assured Destruction ( MAD ) came into usage.  Makes sense doesn't it, MAD.  Back then, every kid in school had to go through "Duck and Cover" drills, on the floor under your desk with your arms over your head to protect it from flying glass when the H-bomb goes off down the street from your school.  I've been around a long time, but I never could figure out why Phoenix was a strategic target.  That old Alcoa plant on 35th and Van Buren was supposed to be vitally important, as was Luke.  (as a side bar, the Alcoa plant was the largest brick building ever built)((little known factoid))  But really, Luke was a teaching base, not really strategic.  

So why did we all have to go through life, one ear listening for the sirens, the other tuning into new rock and roll on those amazing new tiny transistor radios and then watching those crazy antics of Beaver and Wally on TV?  Why was there a threat of nuclear annihilation?  Well, boys and their toys is the real answer.  Silly huh?  Nikita, Kennedy, all bluster and bluff.  Back in the Cuban missile crisis, there were barely enough nuclear weapons to wipe out life on the planet.  At least in the first strike sense.  The true catastrophe would have been the fallout from the first generation horrific dirty bombs that were in use.  Those wonderful and creative scientists that study crap like that eventually came up with bombs that weren't packed full of isotopes that would poison everything for thousands of years.  Nuclear war was something that was a very real possibility.  With over 25,000 bombs out there in the world, all ready to go and hazard total destruction on the enemy; or supposed enemy, we are pretty lucky indeed that nothing ever happened.  And if you think about it, we EXTREMELY lucky that there was never any accident that caused one missile to be lauched, or one bomb to be detonated while in a silo, or any other stupid accident of any kind to have happened.  I mean really, REALLY, no major accidents, that just doesn't seem possible does it?  

So, anyway, the cold war is over, no more spying on each other, the Rosenbergs are footnotes in history books that no one reads about.  And the threat of nuclear annihilation is over and done with.  If only that were true.  There are still about 10,000 nuclear devices out there.  And that is just the one in the hands of responsible countries, like the US.  And black market Russian profiteers, and Pakistani extremists, and fundamentalist Hindu Indians, and hell bent on world domination Koreans, and slave driving Chinese, and, well, who knows who else has a few hydrogen implosion devices lying around.  But we shouldn't have to worry about any of that, the safety surrounding all of the weapons of mass destruction are impeccable, and the minds of those guardians of MAD are reasonable, and sane.  

Just a little thought to keep you warm by the fire tonight.      

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