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OTHER VOICES: Patrick Mead – Could It Happen Here?

Patrick preaches for the Rochester, MI Church of Christ. He has two active blogs, one where he answers questions on spiritual matters here and another with items of personal and general interest at http://patrickmead.net/, which is where the following is located. In this blog, he has been doing a series on HIDDEN HISTORY, in which he described highly developed cultures that have vanished with little trace left behind.

A reader asked if the same thing could happen here. Stripped of his introductory remarks, the following is his response:


…. I sat at a table less than two months ago where top men and women in Homeland Security and various agencies whose names are mixtures of three letters of the alphabet discussed threats to our nation, in particular, and to the West in general. One concerned operative approached the table after a fine speech by a high ranking general and former cabinet member and asked that esteemed fellow a question that was very close to this: “You didn’t discuss something I have been wondering about. How about a person who takes a dirty bomb up in a Cessna 152 and climbs to 12,000 feet over, say, Kansas. He detonates the bomb. What effect would that have on our electrical grid?” The general looked at the man and quietly said, “It would go away.” The man was shocked so he asked for more information. “How much would be gone? What, in particular, would go down? For how long?”

The table were unanimous in their response: a man could pack a dirty bomb in something no larger than a good sized backpack (not even the mountain trekker size) and without any tower involvement (no flight plan, no reporting the planned flight to the FAA) fly a rented or stolen airplane over the Midwest and detonate that bomb… and we would be in the dark for six months to three years, minimum. If he got the plane up to 20,000 and had a bigger bomb — say, the size of three backpacks — we would have no internet, no electricity, and no cell service for up to three years. Most personal wealth would be destroyed as it consists of zeros and ones in digital format. It would be wiped. Government records would disappear. Martial law would be declared but communications would be back in the Revolutionary War mode, at least for the first six months. After that time, we might — might — be able to string enough wire around for each city to have one phone powered by old fashioned electrical systems. We wouldn’t quite be cranking the handle to call up Sadie, like Andy Griffith, but we would have to have small power sources all along the wires. It would be a mammoth undertaking because the nation would be in a state of collapse.

Without communications, power, or information sources most of us would be lost. Only those who know how to repair their own tools and home, only those who know how to farm, and only those who can live without reliable heat in the winter or electrical fans or AC in the summer, only those who found their own water and purified it by boiling it, and only those who knew how to treat most illnesses and injuries without modern medicine would survive. And THEY would only survive IF they were armed well enough to protect their food and water from those who didn’t know how to raise or purify their own. We would be a nation of armed gangs, lawless, and without the protections of law enforcement or the Constitution.

Should the bombing be synchronized with other bombs set off above several European and Asia cities, we would all be Afghanistan. No one could come help us. There would be no calvary. In that scenario, we would devolve as fast as the Adena or Olmec people. Someone else would come along and build a civilization eventually. They would wonder what all those old, rusted hard drives meant. They wouldn’t be able to read them so all the literature, business records, and personal stories of the civilization would be lost. A lot of books would survive unless they were exposed to the elements or burned for fuel.

The general turned to the man who asked — now very pale — and told him, “I’m sorry that I had to add a rock to your pack today.” I will say the same to each of you. Still, it should serve as a lesson to all of us — trust in the Lord, not in nations, armies, flags, or money. He will outlast all civilizations, including ours. Our job, according to Ecclesiastes, is to do our work with joy, enjoy our families, and build the cities even though another will take them apart. Read the book again and, this time, don’t look at this as bad news. It really isn’t. It just puts things in perspective.

Can we do anything to prevent this? Other than becoming a police state where all personal privacy and freedom is erased, no. We keep cuddling up to destructive, evil men and regimes and we keep electing criminals, incompetents, and narcissistic imbeciles who promise “bread and the games!” to us just as Roman Senators did to their constituents while the Visigoths approached in the darkness (see: http://www.thereligionofpeace.com to see why I shudder when our politicians say inane things about Islam being a religion of peace). When our “leaders” openly say that the job of NASA is no longer to explore space but, rather, to make Muslims feel good about their past achievements and when four Supreme Court justices consistently ignore the Bill of Rights… you gotta wonder how long this will last.

This helps us remember that every day we have is a gift from God. There was a time when men scoffed that God could destroy this world. Today we live with a constant sword of Damocles that hangs over us. It is so much a reality that we seldom even think about it. If we thought about it very much, we would become nervous wrecks.

What do we do about it? Trust God and maintain vigilance. But I can assure you, I trust God far more than I do the Homeland Security provided by our national watchmen! God can save us even if the civilization around us is lost. Think of the faith of Shadrack, Meshack and Abednigo! Even if God did not save them from the fiery furnace, they were sure He would save them. We need that same faith to live in today’s world.

NOTE: In a comment on this post, one reader pointed out the difference between a “dirty bomb” and a nuclear bomb that would generate an electromagnetic impulse (EMP). To this, Patrick responded: Like I said, I needed to scrub and generalize the discussion since I certainly had no clearance to hear it much less to publish it. Suitcase nukes, EMP devices (easily made, evidently), and dirty bombs were all used in the scenarios discussed.” Patrick himself has a doctorate in physics, so he is very much up on what is possible.


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