Greetings all as Feb. winds down. You readers should know by now that I am a fan of Mysteries at the Museum. I enjoy history and really love it when they present inspiring stories, say of Elizabeth Jennings Graham, as I mentioned in this post (Persistence/Long Time Gone). Again, the show has helped prompt me to write a blog post.
It's hard to try to escape, even for a bit, some of the mess that's going down in our country and the world. I very frequently read articles at The Intercept, and saw a certain headline, but didn't bother to read it at the time since I just wasn't in the mood for more bad news. Then I got to finally watch one of last week's MATM episodes and - ok, this needs to be written.
It seems as though our popular vote loser and head twitterer is signaling willingness to restart a nuclear arms race. All I can say is: that would be just sheer lunacy. The racism, bigotry and misogyny are bad enough. The lack of regard for the environment is bad enough. The lack of regard for civil liberties is bad enough. The total disregard for actual facts is bad enough. But nuclear arms are too serious to be left to anyone who doesn't want to keep a cool head (more later) and clearly think through implications of any change in policy or something else.
So what does that have to do with MATM? The episode was "Mutually Assured Missteps, First Train Robbery, and Declaration Discovered" (very good episode overall, actually!) The first story was of an incident in 1962 when it was thought that a Russian saboteur had breached the fence at Duluth air field in MN. Fighter jets from nearby Volk Field in WI were readying for takeoff when word came that it was a false alarm. The alleged "saboteur" was a bear! Scott Sagan, author of the book, The Limits of Safety, echoes my concerns about such incidents. Sagan uncovered this incident with a FOIA request, so don't let anyone say FOIA doesn't matter! This incident should also remind us once again that nukes are very, very serious business. Even accidental misunderstandings could lead to the unthinkable.
We should remember the example of Vasili Arkhipov, featured in the most excellent PBS episode, "Secrets of the Dead: The Man Who Saved the World." One thing which stood out for me was that one of those who served with him said that he stood out for being 'cool headed.' When the fate of the entire Planet is at stake, I think that's a very good quality to have.
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