the american civil defense assn.

Home » Posts tagged 'preparedness'

Tag Archives: preparedness

Advertisements

Let There Be Truth.

Washington DC
Government, the military and industry have sunk billions into special protective measures for leadership, staff and critical systems in case of nuclear war. But for John Doe, the taxpayer who foots the bill – and his family? . . . Read on.

By Frank Williams (Journal of Civil Defense, Jan-Feb 1978)

Silent steel doors – like a scene from science fiction – lead into an outsize buried complex. They shut behind you. Deeper silence. The sleek subdivided space spread before you is encased in a heavy jacket of reinforced concrete. Utilities, clocks, furnishings are shock-mounted. Systems are redundant. Special valves protect ventilation shafts and pipes. Supplied with its own food, its own water, its own power, its own accommodations, its own fuel – completely independent of outside help – it can be a sealed-off “home” to a select group for two to four weeks. This in a brutal, close-in nuclear attack environment.

Is this protective shelter that government has built for people?

No. It is shelter that government has built for government. One of many.

Well, you might ask, where are the shelters government has built for people?

And the answer is simply that government does not build shelters like this for people. Not in the United States. Government builds them for government. For emergency operations. Some are highly sophisticated. Some are less so. Over 4,000 such shelters exist for officialdom, for the military.

But not for the people. Why? What’s to happen to the people?

Authorities in Washington have for years – with dignity, conviction and persuasion – pointed out compelling reasons for a “low-key” civil defense: It would be useless, because protection is not possible. It would be provocative, because the security afforded would cause the Soviets to take offense. “Overkill” proves that everyone would be killed many times over. It would cost billions to protect the public. We must maintain our people in a “hostage” status and exposed to annihilation to show good faith. Destruction is more effective than protection. It is pessimistic to think of nuclear attack. The whole thing is “unthinkable.” Therefore unamerican. And unimportant. It might interfere with weekends.

You might also ask – If protection is such a low priority for people then why is it such a high priority for government?

And this would be a good question. Perhaps an embarrassing one.

President Carter might well ponder it. He might ask why in a nuclear crisis carefully, laid plans exist to spirit him and his advisors quickly out of Washington and airborne where they will be out of reach of incoming nuclear weapons, why key military and government crews will fan out to buried bunkers that circle Washington? And why most of his neighbors – the children, the women, the people of Washington, D. C. – will be left to fry, sizzle and pop under the attack?

Is this the “American way”? A part of Potomac dogma?

Perhaps the most dramatic of the government’s shelters – one which illustrates best the attention given to protecting “the vital few” – is the military North American Air Defense Command in Colorado. Buried under millions of tons of granite, tunneled over 1,000 feet into Cheyenne Mountain,’ it consists of windowless multi-story stainless steel buildings mounted on mammoth coil springs. It boasts many other special features.

It is superb protection – built obviously by those, who believe that such protection is necessary and effective and well worth the cost.

But outside Cheyenne Mountain churches, schools, homes and commercial buildings – eggshell structures– stretch across Colorado, across the United States. Those in target areas would crumble under the direct effects of nuclear explosions. Those in locations remote from explosions would for the most part offer pitifully inadequate protection against fallout. No more than “nuclear traps.” This deplorable pattern of neglect is why serious scenarios have for years predicted 100,000,000 initial deaths for the United States in an all-out nuclear attack.

What is the rationale that permits government to take taxpayer money to protect itself and to ignore the taxpayer? What moral code allows leadership to condone this protection for itself and exposure to death for those whom it serves?

Industry also gives us examples of survival preparedness. AT&T, for instance, has during the past twelve years constructed vast underground communications lines with buried, reinforced two-story control centers to serve them. These lines crisscross America, carefully avoiding cities and military installations (except for spur lines), and are built to withstand the shock of nearby nuclear detonations. Well over $1 billion has so far been spent on these lines –a good deal more on this one project alone (for cables) than the United States Government has spent during this same period to provide a civil defense agency for its 217,000,000 human charges.

Do Americans really want protection?

A recent American Security Council nationwide poll report shows that 91 % of the people queried (of a total of 135,841) wanted ABM protection against nuclear attack. 1% said “No.” The rest were undecided. An accompanying poll report showed that 89% of the respondents thought an agreement between Russia and the United States not to protect their peoples (which reportedly took place in 1972) was objectionable. Such responses are not really new. They show that a great majority of Americans think that government has provided for their protection. In the light of proud American heritage this is a logical assumption.

The Russian, too, assumes such protection and has it. The Chinaman assumes it and has it. The Swiss. The Swede. The Finn. The American is fooled, deceived. He is a deliberate “hostage.”

In this way, in a land where leaders preach human rights without letup, the citizen himself is deprived of his most basic and most precious human right – the right to survive. While our leadership worries and frets about the rights of people in other nations around the world, and at home rights for Blacks, Indians, women, the poor, the handicapped, the aged, the young, the sick, gays, old soldiers, prisoners and whatever, has it forgotten the right of the working citizen to have his tax money applied to making his life safer?

Apparently.

A goodly number of Washington studies are now in progress to respond to the recent surge of interest in civil defense. One of them, the White House civil defense review by Greg Schneider’s “Reorganization Project,” is scheduled to wind up by the end of February. It is in all probability the pivotal study. As an “in-house” effort its conclusions may well be influenced by Administration policy, which appears not to favor any meaningful upgrading of civil defense. It should be recalled that other White House civil defense studies such as the Gaither and the Lincoln reports (both of which strongly recommended a greatly improved civil defense posture) were in effect ignored. Pentagon studies which showed the tremendous life-saving potential of a proper civil defense have also been ignored. Today’s Secretary of Defense, Harold Brown, feels that American opinion would not support an upgraded civil defense program and discounts the Russian effort. His answer to the pleas for planning protection for the people (similar to that which he enjoys as the Pentagon chief) is to say that we must not be led to “replicate” Russian civil defense.

So, can we count on current studies being taken seriously in Washington?

Congress has indicated that if by March no Administration action has been taken to correct the tragic civil defense imbalance then Congress will act on its own.

In reviewing the Schneider’s report when it goes to him on February 28th, President Carter would do well to keep a few salient points in mind, among them:

(1) That protection for government, the military and industry is taken very seriously and that a tremendous investment has been made in it.

(2) That protection for himself and his advisors is taken even more seriously and that his move to an airborne command post is ready to be implemented on a moment’s notice at any time.

(3) That the American taxpayer pays handsomely to buy this protection.

(4) That the American taxpayer has no such protection, is himself – with his family – left exposed, at the mercy of an attack.

(5) That the myths and excuses for maintaining his exposure are effete platitudes, credits only to aggressor propagandists.

(6) That Pentagon studies (as well as others) show that good civil defense measures would bring survival expectancy up from less than 50% to around 95% – near that of the Soviet Union.

(7) That human rights – in addition to faith, food and freedom – include the No. 1 right of the people to be considered for survival in nuclear warfare.

(8) That a tough home defense would make aggression against the United States unwise, unrewarding, a long-shot gamble, and much less likely. With such a development we would truly be opting for the highest possible peace odds.

President Carter has said to the country: “I’ll never lie to you.” He is certainly very serious about living up to his promise. He rules out the lie. But neglect to face an issue squarely, neglect to cover a question fully and failure to speak out frankly and accurately can be tantamount to the lie. Silence can be a lie. Mark Twain called the “silent lie” the worst kind. That it is. And it is a highly developed art in our national capital.

We hope Mr. Carter remembers his Georgia roots. On civil defense we need a lot of common sense, a lot of candor, a lot of courage. Mr. Carter needs to give the taxpayer back some of what the taxpayer has given him: protection. It’s that simple.

Let there be truth.

Advertisements

Roadblocks to Civil Defense

Eugene Wigner

By Eugene P. Wigner

A renowned physicist and civil defense analyst probes behind the mask of apathy in the United States. (Originally printed in the first Journal of Civil Defense, May-June 1968, Vol. 1 No. 1)

I have often tried to explain the need for a vigorous civil defense effort, why and how such an effort would go far in preserving peace and how it could save many millions of lives if war should come nevertheless. “Why Civil Defense?” would be an apt title for this subject because we want the civil defense effort to be strong and vigorous. But my subject is also the opposite: “Why No Civil Defense?”. What are the roadblocks? Why isn’t the civil defense effort as strong and effective as we would like it to be? Why is there not a popular demand for it? There are, it seems to me, three principal reasons for this.

The first reason is the power of the anti-civil defense establishment. What provides this strength? What are the motives of the establishment?

There are, of course, those who would like to see our country become a second or third-rate power, the nakedness and vulnerability of its people forcing its government to accede to the demands of those governments whose people are better protected or who care less for human life. Persons who have these desires are, however, small in number, and they contribute but very little to the undeniably very great strength of the anti-civil defense establishment. Can this establishment muster valid arguments against civil defense? I think it can, and this is the reason for citing this cause for our lagging civil defense efforts as the first of my “principal reasons”.

If we install shelters, store food and other supplies, we make preparations against an attack on our country. Such preparations naturally set us apart from those against whose attack we protect ourselves and render it more difficult to develop a true friendship between the governments of communist countries and ourselves. This is the theory of Festinger, often derided by social scientists, but I do think there is something to it even if not in the extreme form propounded by Festinger. It is, of course, true that the hate propaganda of the other side also interferes with the development of the true friendship, and it is sad – very sad – that this is never criticized by the anti-civil defense establishment.

The second reason why the civil defense effort is not more vigorous and why there is not more public demand for it is that it is unpleasant to think about disasters, particularly disasters as severe as nuclear war. Let us note that insurance policies offering compensation in case of fire are called fire insurance policies, but that the policies protecting our families in case of our death are called life insurance policies. No similarly euphemistic name has been invented for civil defense, and it would not help much if one were invented. Building shelters would remind us in any case of a great and terrible calamity that could befall us, and we all are reluctant to think about such calamities. Why dig a hole in the ground where one may have to live for weeks if one can, instead, walk in the sunshine? We have a tradition for work, and many of us enjoy it, but we do not have a tradition of thinking about disasters which may strike us. However, whereas our reluctance to face the temporary nature of our sojourn in this world does not, as a rule, shorten our lives, our reluctance to protect ourselves may bring war nearer.

The third reason that we do not take civil defense very seriously is that we are all too conceited. Sure, other people have been stricken by disasters, other nations have been wiped out or subjugated. But this cannot happen to us, we say. It is not even decent to think about it. I once went to see the now deceased Albert Thomas, who prevented a good deal of civil defense legislation from being enacted in the House of Representatives. He listened to me for a few minutes and then said: “Take it easy, young man, take it easy. This country is so strong it does not need any civil defense.” Most of us would express this self-defeating doctrine less clearly and less bluntly than did Mr. Thomas. But what he said is present in the minds of all of us. On a peaceful day like today, when we are absorbed by so many more pleasant thoughts, is it not unreasonable to think about some country attacking us with nuclear weapons?

In a very real sense, I believe, it will be a test of the democratic ideal whether our people can resist burying their heads in sand or not, whether or not they, can muster the foresight and maturity to carry out the unpleasant and unpopular task of protecting themselves, their country, and their freedom against dangers which seem far away. Nothing but illusory comfort can be gained by closing our eyes to these dangers.

 

  • Eugene P. Wigner – 1963, Nobel Prize in Physics won for contribution to theory of the atomic nucleus and elementary particles specifically the discovery and application of fundamental symmetry principles.

My disaster preparedness secret weapon: Hydrogen Peroxide

hydrogen peroxide

BY ALEX HOLLINGS

When putting together a disaster plan, it’s important to prioritize human needs in the way that you prepare.  To put together a solid short-term survival plan, you need only to address the most basic of human necessities: water, shelter, food, and security, but as short-term survival transitions into “well I guess this is what’s left of the world now,” it’s important to have a plan in place that can help you get by a bit longer than just the first few days after a disaster.

While ensuring you have adequate food and water will prevent death from hunger or dehydration, it’s important to remember that those are often the very easiest forms of death to avoid.  We worry about supply lines drying up after the collapse of our infrastructure for good reason, but humans have been surviving without grocery stores and running faucets for millennia… what tends to kill us in such situations often isn’t a lack of food, but rather a lack of hygiene.

Enter my favorite survival item: hydrogen peroxide.  Most of us are familiar with the brown bottle of bubbling goodness from our childhoods, when our mothers would pour a bit of the elixir onto our scraped knees to disinfect it before armoring the wound with a Batman band-aid and providing an emergency booboo-kiss for pain relief.  While wound care is certainly one of the things hydrogen peroxide is good to have around for, it’s far from the only thing.

In order to discuss some of the other important uses for the magic brown bottle, I’m going to have to delve into some of the health issues that may impact a person in an extended survival scenario; some of which are likely to sound gross, but it’s important to plan for potential health hazards other than gunshot wounds and zombie bites, because dying of an infection all by yourself will leave you just as dead as the sexier alternatives we see on TV.

Hydrogen Peroxide for Mouth Care

I’m not normally one to close my eyes during a rough scene in a movie – but watching Tom Hanks remove an infected tooth with an ice skate in “Cast Away” was tough for me.  I don’t like going to the dentist, let alone the idea of serving as my own using bits of trash I found on a beach, but I have to credit the movie for including an element of survival that is often ignored in movies and television: dental hygiene.

An infected tooth is a serious issue.  If left unchecked, and infection can spread throughout your body, possibly even killing you without antibiotic treatment.  Beyond that, an infected tooth can make eating an excruciating endeavor and can serve as a serious distraction when you need to keep your wits about you.  If at all possible, one should avoid having to do their own oral surgery, and hydrogen peroxide can help.

That same brown bottle you use on cuts and scrapes is also a FDA approved mouth wash.  Pouring a mix of hydrogen peroxide and water into your mouth and swishing it around once in a while may not give you the same fresh breath you’d get from a tooth-brush and a new tube of Crest Whitening, but it could keep the bacteria in your mouth from going rogue and rotting you from the inside out.  Keeping your teeth intact will keep you eating, and hydrogen peroxide can help stave off infections and even cavities.

Hydrogen Peroxide to Fight Fungus

Athlete’s foot and other fungal infections of the hands and feet can be serious trouble for the long-term survivor.  The reduction in available means of hygiene that may come after a disaster could leave you more vulnerable to this sort of ailment, and yet again, hydrogen peroxide can help kill the fungus causing itching and burning on your extremities.

Perhaps more important though, is hydrogen peroxide’s ability to combat yeast infections.  While we tend to think of such things as a uniquely female issue, and in today’s world, we even see it as more of an inconvenience than a matter of life and death, developing a yeast infection in a survival setting is bad news and must be addressed.

Hydrogen Peroxide is safe to be used as a douche for women suffering from a yeast infection after the stores have long stopped stocking Monistat, and can be used externally for men suffering from the same ailment.  Didn’t know men could get yeast infections?  They absolutely can – and the resulting itching, burning and open sores could lead to any number of further infections, or simply leave you too distracted to handle your day-to-day survival needs with the level of focus they require.  Hydrogen peroxide will not work as well as traditional anti-fungal medications, but as a multi-use tool, it’s good to know that you can keep the swamp-rot off your fingers and toes as well as out of your underoos with the same bottle you keep around for wound care and oral hygiene.  I’d just recommend cleaning the spout before switching between uses (just kidding, do not put the spout inside any part of you, use a different means of application).

Hydrogen Peroxide for Cleaning (everything)

If you wear contact lenses, hydrogen peroxide and water can be used to clean them between uses – extending the life of your contacts and possibly your ability to see if you don’t have access to your glasses.  It can also be used to clean food containers and utensils, water carriers, or even cooking surfaces to kill things like salmonella.

You can also use a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water to clean and disinfect your clothes.  A clean pair of undies may not sound like the most important thing after the end of the world, but remember, we haven’t evolved to prefer the smell and touch of clean things for no reason.  Cleaning your clothes will help prevent skin irritations and even infections.  In fact, using hydrogen peroxide to clean your underwear could prevent you from having to using hydrogen peroxide to treat a yeast infection in the first place.

Hydrogen Peroxide for Farming

In a long-term survival situation, cultivating your own food may be a necessity, but if you weren’t blessed with a green thumb, you’ll likely need all the help you can get in order to turn your little garden into something that’ll feed your family.  Believe it or not, hydrogen peroxide can also help you start to grow your own food.

Adding a small bit of hydrogen peroxide to the water you pour on your plants can help fertilize the soil, prevent mold and mildew from developing, and even help an ailing plant regain its health.  Soaking seeds in water that contains a small amount of hydrogen peroxide will even make them germinate faster.  It’s important to use the correct amount of hydrogen peroxide however, otherwise it could kill your plants before they have a chance to grow.  Check out this chart to help you determine how much peroxide you should mix with water for various agricultural needs.

These handy uses for the old brown bottle in your medicine cabinet are far from all of the ways hydrogen peroxide can benefit a disaster victim attempting to transition from short-term to long-term survival.  I highly recommend doing some research and attempting to use hydrogen peroxide for things like oral hygiene once or twice before the world comes crashing down on you.

And maybe grab an extra bottle or two of the stuff the next time you go shopping.  Just in case.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alex Hollings served as an active duty Marine for six and a half years before being medically retired from service. As an athlete, Hollings has raced exotic cars, played Marine Corps football and college rugby, fought in cages, and even wrestled alligators. As a scholar, he has earned a master’s degree in Communications from Southern New Hampshire University, as well as undergraduate degrees in Corporate and Organizational Communications and Business Management.

Check out these Water Bricks!

When You Know the Storm is Coming.

iStock_stormseason

We know there are all kinds of great lists out there, especially pertaining to emergency preparedness.  We love this one by blogger, Mike Smith, and wanted to share …

Get them done immediately!

  • Get prescriptions refilled now, especially if your doctor must approve the refill.
  • If you have a relative at home that requires electricity for life-assistance purposes, you will want to move he or she outside of the higher wind zone.
  • If you can get an electrician to install a generator, get it done. Do not try to install a generator yourself. 
  • If you don’t have a generator, get a power inverter or two. Radio Shack and similar stores sell them. They are a “poor man’s generator” and will keep your cell phone, laptop, and similar items charged. Tell the person in the store what you want to run off it so you get one of the right size. Do not try to run the inverter for hours at a time as that is tough on your car’s battery. Charge the cell phone (for example) and let the charge run all the way down, then use the inverter to recharge.
  • Keep your car’s gas tank full.
  • If you live in a 250-year flood plain (you can check at city hall or your library) or on the coast figure out your evacuation strategy now. Make your list of things you will take with you. Be prepared to leave at short notice.
  • Bring in outdoor furniture and other items that could become airborne.
  • Fill a few gas cans (the type you would use for your mower) to have extra in the event of power failures.
  • Purchase extra food staples. Without power, stores will be closed. Things that require less preparation are better. Bottled water is especially important. Get a Coleman stove.
  • Purchase extra batteries for your cell phone and other essential equipment.
  • If you need insulin or other medicine that must be kept chilled make plans now.
  • Consider what you would do if you were without electricity for a two weeks. If you have an invalid living with you that requires electricity, there will be areas that will be without for weeks. Be proactive.
  • If you live in a heavily wooded area, does someone in your vicinity have a gasoline-powered chain saw? Does it have fuel and a reasonably good chain/blade? Test it, now.
  • Get to an ATM. Without power, credit card readers and ATMs will not be working. In a disaster, cash is king.
  • If you are in the high wind or flood area, thoroughly photograph your home and possessions now. You will need it for insurance purposes. This includes trees, shrubs, etc. Then, if using a digital camera, upload to internet so it will be there after the storm in case the worse happens. Be nice to insurance adjusters!

Whether you evacuate or not, stockpile some good books, magazines, board games and keep a good attitude. Look at this as one of life’s adventures.

There is nothing wrong with a few prayers!

(found on http://www.mikesmithenterprisesblog.com/ )

11 Tips for a Safe 4th of July

4th flag

Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

  1. Be a safe swimmer. Water sports and fireworks are two of the biggest pastimes for Fourth of July celebrations, and these are both linked to numerous deaths and injuries each year. Never swim alone, and make sure that kids’ water play is adequately supervised at all times. Many drownings occur when parents and other adults are nearby, so always have a designated chaperone for water play and don’t assume that others are watching the kids. Statistics show that most young children who drown in pools have been out of sight for less than five minutes. Related articles:
  1. If fireworks are legal in your community and are a part of your celebration, be sure to store and use them safely. Keep the kids away from the fireworks at all times, and keep spectators at a safe distance. Attending fireworks displays organized by professionals is always safer than trying to put on your own show.
  1. Use alcohol responsiblyAlcohol and fireworks can be a hazardous and dangerous combination. Also, have a designated driver to bring partygoers home from the festivities. Remember also that alcohol and swimming can be as dangerous as drinking and driving.
  1. Lakes, waterways, and seas will be crowded with boats. Review safe boating practices, and don’t drink and drive your boat. Alcohol consumption while operating boats or other motorized water vessels is illegal, and you can be arrested for a BWI (boating under the influence!). Be sure that you have an adequate number of life preservers on hand for extra guests. Become familiar with the boating laws in your area.
  1. Cover food and beverages outdoors to discourage bees and wasps from attending your party. If someone is allergic to insect stings, you should have an emergency anaphylaxis kit on hand. Wearing shoes, long sleeves, and long pants outdoors and avoiding fragranced body products, bright colors, and sugary drinks can also help prevent bee stings.
  1. Apply sunscreen both before and during an outdoor party. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause both premature aging and skin cancer in the long term, and a painful burn the next day. Even those with darker skin should use a sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 15, according to recommendations from the American Academy of Dermatology.
  1. Check prescription medications you are taking to assure you will not have a sun-sensitizing drug reaction to the medication.
  1. If you’ll be hiking or camping in an area where ticks are abundant, wear long-sleeved, light-colored shirts and long pants tucked into socks or boots to protect yourself from tick-borne diseases. For your skin, you can use a tick repellent with no more than 30% DEET according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Products containing DEET should not be used on children less than 2 months of age and should not be applied to the hands or face of young children. Check yourself (and your pets) for ticks at the end of the day.
  1. Spend adequate time indoors or in the shade and drink plenty of fluids to avoid heat illness in extremely hot climates. The risk of heat illness is increased when participating in strenuous activity or sports, and those with chronic medical conditions and the elderly are also at an increased risk of heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke. Alcohol consumption can also promote dehydration and increase the risk.
  1. Keep children away from campfires and grills. Gas leaks, blocked tubes, and overfilled propane tanks can be a cause of grill fires and explosions.
  1. Don’t leave the picnic spread out all day. Allowing food to sit in outdoor temperatures can invite foodborne illness. The U.S. FDA suggests never leaving food out for more than one hour when the temperature is above 90 F and not more than two hours at other times. Foods that need to be kept cold should be placed in a cooler with plenty of ice or freezing packs and held at a maximum temperature of 40 F. While mayonnaise and other egg dishes are often associated with food poisoning, any food can potentially become contaminated. Adequate hand washing and food preparation can also help prevent food poisoning.

(Article found at http://www.MedicineNet.com)

Roadblocks to Civil Defense

Image

By Eugene P. Wigner – (Nov. 1902 – Jan. 1995)  Renowned physicist and civil defense analyst. Won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1963.

(NOTE: This article was originally published in one of TACDA’s first issues of the Journal of Civil Defense – forty-six years ago, June 1968. It is interesting that, even after all these years, the message, the concern, and the question remains the same.)

I have often tried to explain the need for a vigorous civil defense effort, why and how such an effort would go far in preserving peace and how it could save many millions of lives if war should come nevertheless. “Why Civil Defense?” would be an apt title for this subject because we want the civil defense effort to be strong and vigorous. But my subject is also the opposite:  “Why No Civil Defense?”. What are the roadblocks?  Why isn’t the civil defense effort as strong and effective as we would like it to be?  Why is there not a popular demand for it? There are, it seems to me, three principal reasons for this .

The first reason is the power of the anti-civil defense establishment. What provides this strength? What are the motives of the establishment?

There are, of course, those who would like to see our country become a second or third-rate power, the nakedness and vulnerability of its people forcing its government to accede to the demands of those governments whose people are better protected or who care less for human life . Persons who have these desires are, however, small in number, and they contribute but very little to the undeniably very great strength of the anti-civil defense establishment. Can this establishment muster valid arguments against civil defense? I think it can, and this is the reason for citing this cause for our lagging civil defense efforts as the first of my “principal reasons”.

If we install shelters, store food and other supplies, we make preparations against an attack on our country. Such preparations naturally set us apart from those against whose attack we protect ourselves and render it more difficult to develop a true friendship between the governments of communist countries and ourselves. This is the theory of Festinger, often derided by social scientists, but I do think there is something to it even if not in the extreme form propounded by Festinger.  It is, of course, true that the hate propaganda of the other side also interferes with the development of the true friendship, and it is sad – very sad – that this is never criticized by the anti-civil defense establishment.

The second reason why the civil defense effort is not more vigorous and why there is not more public demand for it is that it is unpleasant to think about disasters, particularly disasters as severe as nuclear war. Let us note that insurance policies offering compensation in case of fire are called fire insurance policies, but that the policies protecting our families in case of our death are called life insurance policies. No similarly euphemistic name has been invented for civil defense, and it would not help much if one were invented. Building shelters would remind us in any case of a great and terrible calamity that could befall us, and we all are reluctant to think about such calamities. Why dig a hole in the ground where one may have to live for weeks if one can, instead, walk in the sunshine? We have a tradition for work, and many of us enjoy it, but we do not have a tradition of thinking about disasters which may strike us. However, whereas our reluctance to face the temporary nature of our sojourn in this world does not, as a rule, shorten our lives, our reluctance to protect ourselves may bring war nearer.

The third reason that we do not take civil defense very seriously is that we are all too conceited. Sure, other people have been stricken by disasters, other nations have been wiped out or subjugated. But this cannot happen to us, we say. It is not even decent to think about it . I once went to see the now deceased Albert Thomas, who prevented a good deal of civil defense legislation from being enacted in the House of Representatives. He listened to me for a few minutes and then said: “Take it easy, young man, take it easy. This country is so strong it does not need any civil defense.” Most of us would express this self-defeating doctrine less clearly and less bluntly than did Mr. Thomas. But what he said is present in the minds of all of us. On a peaceful day like today, when we are absorbed by so many more pleasant thoughts, is it not unreasonable to think about some country attacking us with nuclear weapons?

In a very real sense, I believe, it will be a test of the democratic ideal whether our people can resist burying their heads in sand or not, whether or not they, can muster the foresight and maturity to carry out the unpleasant and unpopular task of protecting themselves, their country, and their freedom against dangers which seem far away. Nothing but illusory comfort can be gained by closing our eyes to these dangers.