Thursday, March 7, 2019
Confronting the monster
How did any of us who lived through that period come out sane? (Are we sane?)
A few years later (because The Big One hadn’t dropped and I wasn’t dead) I read about the aftermath of the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and about how the current nuclear weapons were much more powerful. I decided if the sirens ever blew I wouldn’t run for shelter. I’d step outside and hope to be vaporized, because I wouldn’t want to live in the world that would be left.
When I found out the other day there were tours of a decommissioned Titan II missile silo outside Tucson, I thought it would be “fun” to dredge up old anxieties and revisit the concept of mutually-assured destruction. Yay, peace (or at least a stalemate) through nuclear deterrence.
I didn’t freak out.
The actual warhead was also much smaller than I had imagined. About the size of a kitchen wastebasket, but powerful enough to instantly kill everything within a 35-mile radius. Even kids hunched under their desks.