Friday, February 09, 2007

1950's "Duck and Cover" advice made sense

Back in the 1950's (and if my memory serves, continuing on into my early school years in the 1980's), schools ran drills in case of nuclear attack. In these drills, students would duck under their desks and cover their heads. The duck & cover technique has become fodder for comedians and wise asses over the years. After all, how is ducking and covering going to save you from a nuclear detonation, right? I even bought into how absurd it seemed for many years. It is actually good advice, though. Of course, this is not going to save anyone near ground zero of a nuclear detonation. This advice isn't really for them, but rather those still within the blast radius but not within that circle of 90% to 100% fatalities. For those individuals, getting as close to the ground and covering up may be the difference between a death from flying debris and surviving a nuclear blast. In a conventional nuclear attack, this makes all the sense in the world as there would be enough warning time for people to get themselves into a protective position (and place) before the blast. In today's world of nuclear terror, it is still good advice, but people need to believe that ducking and covering is in their best interest and they would also need to react instantly to what would be a surprise blast. Because of the way "duck and cover" has been ridiculed over the years, though, I'm not sure enough people do believe that it is in their best interests. I'm afraid too many would instead opt for the less effective "bend over and kiss your ass goodbye" method.

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