Archive for December 2007

An editorial decision

December 13, 2007

I received a comment to my post of 12/3/07 (“Bet on surviving a nuclear bomb and have a plan”), which I have pasted in below. This blog is set up with the option of approving or deleting comments. I don’t like to delete comments; it smacks of censorship. Yet online communities often need moderating for such things like keeping people on topic and weeding out malicious posts.

Even though it seems sincere, I’m deleting the comment because it’s off topic. I don’t want this blog to turn into a soapbox for people to voice religious beliefs. This blog is about how to survive the blast and radiation of a nuclear bomb, not biblical prophecies. That said, the writer makes a decent comment about the CBS show Jericho, a show about survival after a nuclear bomb, and I’ll talk about Jericho at some point.

My apologies to the comment-writer. Here’s his comment:

From a biblical perspective, the USA is not mentioned in the end times bible prophecy. When Israel’s enemies attack her as described in biblical prophecy, no-one comes to her aid, including the USA. Ever wonder why? Bin Laden is not supid. He knows that the USA protects Israel and a pre-requisite for destroying Israel is to disable or destroy her protector. If the USA was so focused on surviving and rebuilding from a nuclear attack, we may not be physically and militarily capable of coming to anyone’s aid. Public outcry would demand that we focus our resources to taking care of the USA before others.

The Jericho TV series on CBS provides an interesting scenario of what it may be like after an attack.

Remember the 3 B’s: Bibles, Bullets, & Batteries!

UPDATE:

The comment-writer responded to my decision with this comment, which I approved (he awkwardly posted it in the contact link to my email address, which I have no control of):

I understand your editorial decision to remove my post mentioning biblical prophecy. I can’t say that I blame you, based on the focus of your site that you wish to preserve. Religious wackos could definitely hijack this blog, and they unfortunately taint the opinions of the more level headed evangelical Christians. Some sites have such ridiculous religous perspectives posted, they are a waste of time to read.

I just started subscribing to “Survive a Nuke Attack” a few days ago and enjoy the discussion. Nice site.

Thanks,

Jim

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Journalist Paul L. Williams talks about an ‘American Hiroshima’

December 11, 2007

My post of 10/25/07 (“How much is that nuclear bomb in the window?”) mentions award winning journalist Paul L Williams. He has a large body of work documenting attempts by terrorist groups to obtain enriched uranium and nuclear weapons and their conviction to use them. He was interviewed on 11/28/07 on a radio show called Third Rail Radio, which bills itself as “politically abrasive new media radio” talking about “the stuff that old media won’t touch.” He talks about nuclear terrorism and you can listen to the podcast here. It’s just audio and runs, I’m guessing, about 45 minutes.

Dr. Williams has an impressive bio. He was a consultant to the FBI. He has been a subject on PBS, History and Discovery channels and is a guest on Fox News, MSNBC and NPR. He won the National Book Award and has written numerous books on terrorism, the latest being, The Day of Islam: The Annihilation of America and the Western World.

‘…widespread panic, chaos and death is inevitable and will happen soon…’

December 6, 2007

When it comes to nuclear weapons, Iran still gets all the headlines. They cancelled their nuke program…blah blah…I get it. But google for the “International Conference on Illicit Nuclear Trafficking,” a meeting just two weeks ago, and there’s virtually no press.

If you follow the last link in my post of 11/30/07 (“Nuclear Terrorism News”) about a warning from a top UK official, you eventually get to a piece from Scotland’s Sunday Herald, “Top police officer warns that nuclear attack is inevitable.” The article is about the conference noted above, which took place in Edinburgh. It was hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency and was attended by 300 experts from 70 countries. I’m heartened to see the world taking action—wait, correction, I mean they’re talking about the problem.

Sorry to be cynical, I’m sure there’s action being taken. Wait, correction, I don’t know if there’s any action—I barely knew there was a meeting—but I hope there’s action. What I do know is that, from my perch, there’s a lack of information being published on nuclear terrorism.

Here are some excerpts from the Sunday Herald article that raised my eyebrows or dropped my jaw or made me spill my coffee:

A nuclear attack by terrorists causing widespread panic, chaos and death is inevitable and will happen soon, a senior Scottish police officer has warned.

Ian Dickinson, who leads the police response to chemical, biological and nuclear threats in Scotland, has painted the bleakest picture yet of the dangers the world now faces.

Efforts to prevent terrorist groups from obtaining materials that could be made into radioactive dirty bombs – or even crude nuclear explosives – are bound to fail, he said. And the result will be horror on an unprecedented scale.

“These materials are undoubtedly out there, and undoubtedly will end up in terrorists’ hands, and undoubtedly will be used by terrorists some time soon,’ he declared. ‘We must plan for failure and prepare for absolute terror…”

He said: “An incident will continue for days and all the public will see is people dying without reason. What will we do when our children come home from school with blisters on their skin and their parents don’t know what to do…”

Worldwide efforts to stem the spread of radioactive materials by the governments represented at the conference were vital, Dickinson concluded. “But the sad fact is that your work will fail.”

Dickinson’s nightmare analysis was backed up by Dr Frank Barnaby, a nuclear consultant who used to work at the Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment in Berkshire. “The amazing thing is that this hasn’t happened already,” he told the Sunday Herald.

“We should expect it any minute. It’s an obvious thing for a terrorist to do. A primitive nuclear explosion would simply eliminate the centre of a city like Glasgow or Edinburgh….”

Richard Hoskins, from the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Office of Nuclear Security in Vienna, revealed that there had been 1266 confirmed incidents in which radioactive materials had been stolen or lost around the world since 1993.

Bet on surviving a nuclear bomb and have a plan

December 3, 2007

When I tell people that I’ve started a blog on how to survive a nuclear attack, the reception is stone cold. People think death is certain—they’re going to melt or fry or vaporize. People hope they die so they don’t have to deal with the day after; or, perhaps worse, a slow, hideous death from radiation poisoning. One friend said to me, “You know what my survival strategy is? Run for the light!”

While the Cold War created visions of cities bombarded by many large nukes, the greater risk today is from one, small bomb. Probably 99 percent of the people in the vicinity of a small nuclear explosion will survive. If you live or work near a possible target, I think a fatalistic, stick-your-head-in-the-sand attitude is…how can I say this…a bit irrational. A few hours of planning and preparing could vastly improve the quality of life immediately after an attack—and for the rest of your life. Plan a little, avoid contamination and decrease the risk of cancer. Get it?

Even if you think nuclear terrorism is remote, radioactive contamination is not limited to bombs. There can be problems at nuclear power plants as well as nuclear waste transportation accidents. Come on, from fires to floods to earthquakes to hurricanes to mudslides, from tornadoes and trunamis to all forms of terrorism, from epidemics to blackouts to…enough already. There’s a lot of commonality planning for any disaster and it’s the smart thing to do.

I’m not a survival nut (yet). I’ve not spent weeks and weeks and thousands of dollars preparing for Armageddon. Not me. But I doubled up on candles, canned goods, batteries and bottled water. I moved my camping gear from a distant location to a large, interior closet in my home. I bought a battery operated crank radio for $48, which will also charge a cell phone by cranking (I’ll talk about emergency radios in a future post). I bought some dust masks (potentially handy for fires and epidemics). I did a few more things that take little effort, which I’ll go into at another time.

But putting together survival gear is easy and commonsensical. What I felt was missing, and what motivated me to do this blog, was information. Things like: What’s a safe distance to live and work from a possible nuclear target? What do I need to know to help me decide whether to seek shelter or evacuate? How do I best avoid contamination from radioactive fallout?

Beyond the gear and information there’s something else. I wonder—remember, I live and work just three miles, in direct sight, from a known target—if I hear a loud blast and the ground shakes, will my instinct be to run to the window to look at the blast or will it be to duck and cover?

The stakes are high: If I look at the blast and it’s a nuclear explosion, I risk burning my retina and going blind.