But now we learn that EMP is a more immediate threat, like the issue that scared my youthful generation: nuclear war. My first year of college, we watched news reports of the Cuban missile crisis, which, we’ve learned recently as Russia released its once-secret documents, did come close to nuking some of the East Coast.
The EMP occurs if a terrorist enemy detonates a nuclear weapon above our atmosphere, destroying all electric grids and microcircuitry in the United States — in effect blasting us back to the 18th century. Planes would fall immediately from the sky. Vehicles manufactured after 1970 couldn’t run — this includes those delivering our drugs and our food. While people wouldn’t be affected as they were in Japan by WWII nuclear radiation, I’ve seen an estimate that 90 percent of our population would die the first year, either from lack of essential supplies or by raids from desperate people on what we do have.
Didn’t mean to scare you too much, graduates. Fear No. 3, with help from Fear No/ 2, would basically wipe out any need to fear much else: American civilization would essentially end, and the rest of the world would have to deal with terrorists and disease without us.
More optimistically, all of the above can be addressed, though not easily: If you want to come back here next week, I’ll share some ideas.
Barbara Anderson of Marblehead is president of Citizens for Limited Taxation and a Salem News columnist.