When the Soviet Union was rattling its nuclear missiles and issuing not-so-veiled threats to the free world, students like me in American schools were trained to hide under their desks at the sound of a siren. Families built bomb shelters in their back yards, some of which still exist. In fact, it was a selling point for real estate salespersons then.
And who of that era can forget when Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev pounded his shoe on the desk in the United Nations and declared, ''We will bury you!'' Actually, his son, Sergei, who moved to the United States after the Berlin Wall fell, recalled that his father's words were probably better translated, ''We will outlast you.'' Whatever the precise meaning Americans feared a nuclear attack and were prepared to do their best to survive.
Now, Physicians for Civil Defense, look up their informative website (http://www.physiciansforcivildefense.org), which works to save lives of the first responders and the public in the event of disasters, especially terror attacks, has started a campaign to prepare citizens to survive a nuclear attack. The group created The Good News Nuke (http://www.goodnewsnuke.com) website, where Shane Connor has written an article entitled; ''The Good News About Nuclear Destruction.'' He explains that nuclear explosions, dirty bombs, terror attacks and more are survivable if targets ''know what to do beforehand and have made even the most modest of preparations. The lessons of ''Duck and Cover'' are still valid today.''
Today's culture, Connor wrote, has ''been jaded'' by the pervasive ''myths of nuclear un-survivability.'' He adds, '''Most people think that if nukes go off then everybody is going to die, or it'll be so bad that they'll wish they had. That's why you hear such absurd comments as, 'If it happens, I hope I'm at ground zero and go quickly.'''' Connor said the ''defeatist attitude was born as the disarmament movement ridiculed any competing alternatives to their ban-the-bomb agenda, like Civil Defense. These activists (as agents of the Soviet Union) wanted all to think there was no surviving any nukes, disarmament was your only hope. The sound Civil Defense strategies of the 50s, 60s, and 70s have been derided as being largely ineffective., or at worst a cruel joke.''
Connor goes on to say that since the end of the Cold War in the 1990's, most Americans and Western countries have seen neither a need t prepare nor believed preparation would do any good. ''Today, with growing prospects of nuclear terrorism, and nuclear saber rattling from rogue nations, we see emerging among the public either a paralysing fear or irrational denial,'' he said. ''People can't even begin to envision effective preparations for ever surviving a nuclear attack. They think it totally futile, bordering on lunacy to even try.''
The Reality: The biggest surprise for most people, from the first flash of a nuke being unleashed, is that they will still be here, though ill-equipped to survive for long, if they don't know what to do beforehand from that very first second of the initial flash onward. The Chernobyl disaster in the Soviet Union and the Fukushima meltdown in Japan have demonstrated that nuclear disasters are significant, dangerous and a threat, but they are survivable. Dr. Jane M. Orient of the organization says, ''The public urgently needs to be told about nuclear effects and these proven protective actions. They are easy to learn and grasp and could save many from needlessly perishing in a future nuclear disaster.''
The Physicians for Civil Defense website lists Duck and Cover, Shelter in Place and Radiologic Monitoring as routine defense steps in any disaster. The danger actually increases if someone tries to run away from a blast and ends up heading right into the path of radiation. Dr Orient's group publicizes basic precautions that are applicable to any disaster or emergency situation. They have also posted a billboard in Salt Lake City (see below) just a few weeks ago to begin advertising its Good News Nuke.com website. ''The advice has been proven to work in the 2013 meteor air burst in Chelyabinsk, Russia,'' the organization reported.
The Way I See It......the ''un-survivable'' ground zero for nuclear explosions these days is about 2.2 mile. Death and injuries could occur for another nine miles. With ''duck and cover'' employed by all, there could be more than 15 times fewer casualties from a blast wave. But the United States and just about all the European nations have not only neglected teaching such defensive maneuvers, they actively teach fatalism.
In the U.S., former Department of Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff at one point told a USA Today audience, ''In the area of a nuclear bomb, its prevention, prevention, prevention. If a nuclear bomb goes off, you are not going to be able to protect against it unless you are prepared.'' The current incompetent Obama administration also fails to grasp that the single greatest force multiplier to reducing potential casualties, and greatly enhancing the effectiveness of first-responders, is a pre-trained public so that there will be far fewer casualties to later deal with. Connor finishes with, ''Spending millions to train and equip first-responders is good and necessary, but having millions fewer victims, by having also an educated and trained public beforehand, would be many magnitudes more effective in saving lives.''