Terrorist actions occasionally take a few American lives and, in other parts of the world, take greater numbers of lives. Every lost life is a tragedy. These tragedies should be prevented.
The greatest terrorist threat to Americans, however, is the potential use of a nuclear weapon that causes a nuclear explosion in an American city. The people of our cities should be protected from this threat as much as possible – by intelligence activities to prevent such an event and by protective measures to reduce deaths in case preventive measures fail.
Engineers during the Cold War determined that deaths from a ground burst nuclear explosion are caused in three primary ways – blast and prompt nuclear radiation near the explosion, fires set by heat farther from the explosion, and radiation from nuclear fallout even farther from the explosion. These three effects each cause about one-third of the human deaths.
For this reason, under President Kennedy, American city basements were stocked with water and simple waste disposal equipment, and signs were put on city buildings directing people to these basements. Those alive after an initial nuclear explosion were instructed to immediately walk to the designated basement locations.
These basement locations would protect people until fires and the short period of high radiation abated enough for them to be evacuated – usually only a few days at most.
Thus, about two-thirds of the human deaths from a nuclear explosion at ground level in the city could be avoided. The effect from a terrorist nuclear weapon that would ordinarily kill 1 million people could thereby be reduced to as few as 300,000 deaths.
Basement nuclear shelter stocking and marking is very inexpensive and should be resumed.
While politicians and the administrative state continually frighten Americans and advertise that they will protect Americans from terrorists – providing that Americans give up more and more of their freedom and resources to them, the simplest actual measures for protection are not taken. This neglect should end. Politicians should be required, as a condition for your vote, to provide actual protection from actual threats – instead of providing only fear and empty promises.