CSotD: Why Our Kids Can’t Have Nice Things

Non Sequitur (AMS) addresses the crucial question of life on Earth being obliterated by a meteor, the odds of which, I would note, have not changed simply because we are better at tracking space objects. Though they may become slightly lower, since we’re working on ways of dealing with it.

Not that we haven’t been thunked a few times aside from the one that eventually killed the dinosaurs (through climate change, not impact. We’ll get to that in a minute).

There was a pretty good hit sometime in Arizona and in more recent times in Russia, but we’re still here. That’s not a tribute to our resilience. Just a comment on probability.

Flo’s idea of ducking-and-covering is funny in part because of Then-Wife’s co-worker, whom I’ve mentioned before, who thought if she stayed inside she wouldn’t be hurt by Skylab falling on her.

About five years after that, I was on talk radio at a station where I could see Cheyenne Mountain through the studio window, and that was when Thomas K. Jones, Reagan’s deputy undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, said we’d be okay in a nuclear war because people could simply lay a door across two sawhorses and shovel dirt on it.

I got some government expert on the air and, having pointed out that our being within sight of Cheyenne Mountain suggested that we’d all be iridescent jelly within the first three minutes of a nuclear war, asked him about doors and dirt and shovels.

He admitted that the only real plan for survival would be to GTFO, and that the only real way to do that would be to do it early enough in the impending political crisis that we’d avoid the traffic. And the lineup at the gas pumps. And so forth.

Which made more sense, but boils down to this bit of wisdom:

The way to survive a nuclear war is to not be there.

It’s an unassailable truth, except that, while there are all sorts of things you can survive by not being there, for other threats, “not being there” can be quite a challenge.


Part of avoiding harm involves understanding the nature of the risk. Tim Campbell (WPWG) references the argument that the Founders wrote the Second Amendment with muzzle-loading flintlocks in mind, which is sorta kinda true — that is what they had — but mostly irrelevant, because the whole concept of autonomous state militias as a line of national defense had nothing to do with the specific weapons that existed.

The only thing less accurate than assuming it relied on flintlocks is to reason that by “well-regulated militia,” the Founders meant “any nitwit who can find a gun.”

Or that, once the militias had disgraced themselves in the War of 1812 and been replaced by a more robust standing army, the Second Amendment had any more meaning than the Third.

Point being that, while children would be much safer if school shooters carried muzzleloaders instead of semi-automatic weapons, they’d be even safer if a sane government recognized that the Second Amendment became archaic and irrelevant about a quarter century after it was written, which was more than 200 years ago.

Which doesn’t much matter if you avoid being shot only to die of cancer or by drowning in the rising oceans or of starvation when the crops no longer grow, which brings us to this

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Ann Telnaes)


(Madam and Eve)

There seems to be little reason for Joe Manchin to oppose a measure to control oil drilling off the coast. After all, West Virginia is not only more than 200 miles from the Atlantic Ocean but hilly enough to avoid inundation when the waters rise.

And there’s even less reason for him to be against seeking new forms of energy, since he doesn’t know that his personal wealth comes from coal mining.

He doesn’t know this because it’s all in a blind trust so that, as soon as he entered office, he promptly forgot all about it.

And he’s probably too busy passing laws or making sure they don’t get passed to have noticed the $763,407 in contributions he has received from oil and gas companies.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the oceans of the world, Shell Oil is preparing to use sonic blasting to locate oil, which harms marine life but provides a way to keep that petrol flowing.

Not only is the anthropomorphic sea life in Madam & Eve opposed, but so are a whole lot of actual people in South Africa, as this editorial from the Financial Mail indicates.

And as this illustration from that editorial emphasizes.

Which does not appear to have mattered.

And it’s not just them, and it’s not just there.

Which leads us to

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Steve Kelley – Creators)


(Paul Fell)


(Jeff Stahler)

Well, Darling, we could elect a new Mother Nature, but it wouldn’t be easy, since, of course, she wouldn’t take money from the people who make the planet warmer.

And we’d need to elect enough people like her to form a super majority.

So, no, we can’t, but maybe some day you and your friends will.

Meanwhile, we’ve gotten past the point of denying that climate change will happen, and now we’re denying that it already is happening, thanks in large part to news organizations that seem to have a vested interest in making people believe things that aren’t true and making them not believe things that are.

And even though your generation seems to be smartening up, even if it becomes all of you and not just an energetic majority, the best you will ever be able to do is to keep it just the way it is right now.

By which I mean the “right now” of 20 or 30 years from now when you’re old enough to have something to say about it and the people who don’t want anything to change have mostly died.

So what you see happening now is what you’re gonna have to live with all your lives, only probably a little worse.

But here’s some good news: Duck-and-Cover actually does work against tornadoes.

Often. Mostly. Sometimes.

It’s not so good against hurricanes.

Well, never mind. You’ll think of something.


11 thoughts on “CSotD: Why Our Kids Can’t Have Nice Things

  1. Duck and Cover was a valid survival strategy when there was fewer A-Bombs with lower yield. If you were outside the blast radius, the biggest concern was high velocity debris and the initial gamma ray wave- both of which could be defended by keeping low and away from windows.

    With the outlandish growth of number of bombs, higher yield and more efficient delivery systems, strategy has gone from taking out strategic targets to blanketing an area, so Duck and Cover now seems quaint. The good news is we will all be dead before we know what hit us.

  2. Yeah, Bill’s right. The idea behind Duck and Cover wasn’t that schoolkids a mile away from a nuclear explosion would survive; it was that schoolkids 10 miles away wouldn’t be perforated by exploding windows and gravel flying like buckshot. He’s also right in that bigger bombs have largely made drills obsolete and survival not as attractive as it used to be.

    That reminds me: once in a while, a pal polls his Facebook friends to ask how many of them grew up being told that their town was Number One on the USSR Nuclear Hit List. Turns out almost everyone–there’s always a military base, a major port, a chemical factory, a transportation hub or some other strategic linchpin nearby. Everywhere.

    Of course, a couple thousand nukes could pretty much wipe “everywhere” off the map, so they weren’t wrong.

    I don’t share some people’s faith that the younger generation is full of engaged proper-thinkers who are going to save the world. Some, sure, but I used to think the same of my generation, and the generation that followed, etc. A lot of people I thought were smart and cool when they were 20 turned into dull, frightened, stupid people when they were 40 or 60, and I don’t know if they were always like that or life made them like that but there sure are a lot of them. The cliche of the hippie who grew up to vote for Trump is true enough to hit a nerve.

  3. And we will all go together when we go.
    What a comforting fact that is to know.
    Universal bereavement,
    An inspiring achievement,
    Yes, we all will go together when we go.

    And if you don’t know the song and it isn’t running through your head right now, I will leave the source up to you to find. Just don’t plan to accomplish anything for the rest of the day.

    I started school around 1965 in Florida. I think my class was a year or two too late for Duck and Cover–I remember one of my teachers referring to the fire alarm (one note) and comparing it to the civil defense alarm (wailing), but we never had the latter.

  4. @ Fred King-

    I started school the same year you did. We had monthly civil defense drills but were told euphemistically that they were “tornado” drills. (Our state might have one tornado a year that at worst blew down a shed.)

  5. @Bill Harris

    My town wasn’t much of a target–the main industry back then was the university. I don’t think even first-graders would believe a tornado drill. I remember one tornado while I was growing up.

    @Brian Fies

    These days I work in Washington, DC, and I can see the Capitol from the top of the parking lot. I think I might claim a spot in the top ten on the Hit List.

  6. I grew up in Europe, and am old enough to remember air raid siren testing, and seeing the war wounded begging.

    A survivable war…

  7. When we moved to Rochester NY in 1980 the story we heard (probably a joke) was that back in the 1950s folks here were insulted that the home base of Kodak was *not* on the Soviet hit list. Seems they were targeting Buffalo, and counting on the fallout to fog all the film here.

    “A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.”
    – Joshua/WOPR

  8. An old one that I think Jules Feiffer did a cartoon of: Rock of ages cleft for me/Let me hide myself in thee/Although I know all men are brothers/Let the fallout fall on others.

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