1. "It's probably an even chance this will happen in the next 10 years" - referring to a rogue nuclear detonation
2. "The one that really keeps me up at night... is that somehow Russia and the United States blunder into a nuclear war."
I rarely join organizations. But I got involved with one that preps northern Indiana for disasters and comes up with plans for if they do happen. I got involved after a big flood in 2008.
From time to time, we hold training sessions. It's dozens of Emergency Managers, cops and firefighters from towns, cities, counties, the state, feds and private industry... and one media guy. I have been the organization's media liaison for about 10 years, which doesn't mean much unless there is a real disaster. I took somewhat of a role in the pandemic. But if you ever see my grizzly face, something has gone seriously wrong.
One time we held a training session on a South Shore train. Members of local theater groups play acted a major train accident, complete with fake blood on their faces. This prep is necessary, but it didn't scare me.
What has scared me the most in the past 10 years of my life is a federal EMA guy telling us what the Region would be like if a nuke went off near downtown Chicago.
It turns out that the part of Lake County is outside of "the blast zone" and part is in. You shouldn't set up a command center on the "in" part.
This might not even matter. Our steel mills and oil refinery are, as we all know, "attractive targets" to enemies. In a nightmare scenario, it might actually be that Chicago would wind up measuring how far they are away from us than us from them. Either way, if it's a single bomb, we're in for a world of hurt but some of us would survive.
Then there's the other scenario, the one that frightens William Perry - that the US and Russia blunder into a nuclear war. Are we close to that now? Will this situation in Ukraine iron itself out in the next few weeks? Or will WW3 start and we'll all be dead? If that's the case, why worry about it anyways?
I wrote about fear of nuclear war and a professor told me - "Nobody worries about that."
I engaged in a tabletop exercise on what to do if a nuclear bomb goes off in Chicago. If it happens near Wrigley, you might wind up seeing me on TV. If it were to happen near Guaranteed Rate, you'd see someone else.
William Perry's words in a Vice News segment scared the shit out of me and maybe even one of the three or four of you - 6.5 million people have watched the YouTube rebroadcast of that appearance.
A madman threatens the world.
As in 1982, I give words to my fear of nuclear war. As far as I can tell, a single bomb would kill about 100,000 people, depending on where it was dropped, and would force us into social and economic upheaval. You couldn't have enough guns in your basement.
But what if it was more than one bomb? What if the US and Russia do blunder into nuclear war? What then?
3. "An all-out general nuclear war between the United States and Russia would mean no less than the end of civilization." - William Perry, 2017
How's that for a bedtime story? The best we can do is hope it doesn't happen. Even if only a few go off, dust and debris block out the sun for the better part of a decade. With a diminished source of heat, we could plunge into an ice age. A whole lot of us would die from starvation... if not from the force of a blast or lingering radiation. These are tense times, folks. No wonder when you're driving around you're more apt to get cut off by a pissed-off driver than ever before.
Me? What am I gonna do? I'm gonna try to do what I did between 1982 and 2014, which is forget about it. This situation will work itself out and in a couple years this journal entry will seem like the stupidest thing ever written.