Curtain Raiser

About That Gorilla, Colltalers

The first reminder – and if anything, this is a but a reminder – is that, once it starts, ending it is unlikely. No such thing as a warning either: we’ll lose count by the second shot. Also, while it won’t drag on as climate change, once the first nuke strike lands, so will all others.
It’s crucial that this generation gets the gist of it, and fast, for some are working to normalize it on our minds. Even ‘extreme rhetoric’ pales compared to reality, and talk about ‘tactical weapons’ is a deranged lie. So, again: a nuclear war may leave survivors but no survivable life.
Let’s get down to the nasty of it, for a moment. It’ll be unpleasant, and many may’ve already averted their eyes while hearing once more about the gory details of a nuclear hit. Get acquainted with them, though; they’re handy if coming across some sweet folks still needing convincing. Many movies did inform us about what may happen, but only a handful are realistic enough to show it without a sugar-coating happy ending.
First, they’ll take Manhattan. For before 9/11, few would bet that terror would punish America by picking its most open, liberal, and diverse city. But when New York got hit, the pain inflicted was but a small payback to millions living in hellish war zones they blame on the U.S.
Scientists at the Center for Social Complexity at George Mason U. have run some pretty dire computer simulations of a blast to the Big Apple. And found that a bomb with half the power of the one that razed Hiroshima, for instance, would instantly level downtown Manhattan.
That likelihood is corroborated by Nukemap, an interactive map using Google API, created by Stevens Institute of Technology historian of science Alex Wellerstein. Besides creating a 1.09 square km radius fireball, a 150kt H-bomb, would instantly kill some 386.000 people.
Plus, given that about 10 million people, including tourists, move in and out of the island at any given time, another 600.000 or more would be injured. Obviously it gets immediately worse. An air blast would cause most residential buildings to collapse, destroying parts of midtown, Brooklyn and east New Jersey. Mortality in following weeks, due to spread out radiation, is expected to be from 50 to 90% of anyone around.
It comes without mentioning that such a catastrophe would, at least momentarily, overwhelm city and state’s health and emergency systems. Even though this is New York, massive amounts of concrete of its back-to-back tall buildings, now collapsed,

would take months to remove, as any earthquake victim would know. Massive exodus, people futilely trying to outrun the radiation, would also call for military intervention.
The U.S.’ financial brain would inevitably freeze, and that’s not a problem exclusive to the wealthy safely monitoring it all from a distance.
And not to forget: while most would be busy helping others, or dying, the nation’s nuke warheads response strike would be already on the air.
But what if it’d be the other way around: a demented Trump-ordered first strike. For starters, it’d get executed faster than many believe that controls in place, to avoid just such a cataclysmic conflict, would be able to stall it. And undoubtedly, the bombs would indeed be bigger.
Although estimates about casualties in the Korean Peninsula are not as easily available as those that’d occur in the U.S., it’s possible to guess that, from the 76 million Koreans living in both sides, between 5 to 10% could be killed by an American uncalled for strike. Tragedy doesn’t pick sides; they’re too close to avoid sharing the same fate. Following the progression described above, you may imagine what’d be next.
An important component of both doomed scenarios, one that’s usually left out because of its unpredictability, is the likely ‘unintended’ results of a strike. Assuming that, out of phony piousness, hits would be directed primarily at each other’s arsenal, they’d also cause the obvious multiplying of the destruction. Pundits may say what they will, but raging fires would naturally spread and ignite anything in their path.
Lastly, one hopes, are the other implications of a nuclear conflict. It hasn’t even started and many nations are deep at work deciding what kind of role they’d play. Russia, as you probably guessed, won’t be idle, and recent troubling reports talk about some ‘doomsday torpedo’ (their lack of imagination extends even to fake scenarios), designed to ‘wipe out U.S. coastal cities.’ But as alarmist as the report is, its intention is clear.
Putin is a realist, but modesty is not among his personal assets; he won’t want to be forgotten when whatever global horror plays itself out.
Like Russia, another country that soils the pants of Pentagon hawks for years is Pakistan. Recent intel has determined that in the last decade, it’s increased its nuclear arsenal. Remember: the U.S. is waging its longest war right next door, and its other border is with nuke-ready India.
Enough said. None of this is new, but neither are the 70-year-old warnings that a nuclear war will produce no winners, only the end of the civilization, and the wreck of the planet for the next hundreds of years. It’s a force that’s still beyond humans’ current abilities and wisdom.
One final word, which would be totally redundant in wiser times, about the so-called survivalists, or preppies: what kind of world are you getting prepared for? Kings of the wasteland, unlike what they show in the movies, your savings and resources won’t be enough, energy won’t be an option, and untreated disease and radiation mean an even more horrible death than that of those who did not survive the first impact.
Now, with your considerable resources, and will to live, wouldn’t it be much more intelligent and rational to employ them to help reverse the tide? How much life has been already wasted in this unattainable future? How many loved ones you’ve lost to pursuit such silly endeavor?
There are many bombs either ticking or already going off in this complicated world. They’re somehow interconnected, and solutions to halt climate change will also imply addressing inequality and global hunger, and at least some of our thirst for profit and domination. It’s not naive to foresee a point when wealth accumulation ceases to be achievable as there’s a limited and dwindling pool of untapped resources to exploit.
But without counting on the also dwindling human sense of perspective and transcendence, there’s an urgent need to raise our voices, if not to call out for reason, then to appeal to the most primitive of our instincts: survival. We won’t last, it’s as simple as that. And no bunker will be large enough, powerful enough, exclusive enough to assure those responsible to light up the doomsday to avoid getting hit by it too.
It’s one planet, a single boat in an inhospitable ocean. If it sinks, we all drown, and considering the options, those who’d go first would be the relatively ‘lucky’ ones. But if enough adults rise to take the matchbox away from grown-up children, we may stand a chance. That it’d also save billions of yet unborn children, who may built a better, and equally beautiful world, is our responsibility. There’s still time. Peace. WC


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