Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The more things change the more they stay the same

Also from The Washington Post:

Winchester and its neighbors along Interstate 81 in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley have much to recommend themselves to potential employers, including a low cost of living, access to a major highway and views of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains.

More recently, though, the area has been successfully trumpeting another attribute: It is just outside the "blast zone."

In a little-noticed migration with implications for both greater Washington and the valley, several federal agencies, including the FBI, are relocating operations to the I-81 corridor. Helping drive the shift is the government's emphasis on security in a post-Sept. 11 world, which turns Winchester's location 75 miles from Washington into a geographic ideal. It is far enough from the capital to escape the fallout of a nuclear explosion -- a distance often estimated at 50 miles -- but still close enough so that employees can get to the District relatively easily when they need to.

"There's a certain distance they need to be out from the strike zone -- and Winchester is outside of that," said Jim Deskins, economic redevelopment chief for the 26,000-person city.

How many of you remember the Cuban Missile Crisis? How many of you had a fallout shelter? How many of you read the late Mel Tappan's survivalist columns in Guns and Ammo? How many of you had a bug-out kit with weapons, ammo, food, water, a first aid kit and a plan on where to go to escape the fallout?

After the Soviet Union blew up its first nuclear bomb and especially after they launched the world's first artificial satellite the American people realized that the oceans would no longer protect us and began to take civil defense seriously. For at least a little while.

It didn't take all that long for the well stocked fallout shelters that were put in urban buildings to deteoriate from neglect and the companies that installed fallout shelters in the backyards of private homes to switch over to swimming pools, but for a little while acted like grownups and took our personal safety seriously.

Then the whole "after a nuclear war the living will envy the dead" propaganda started up and people at first just averted their eyes from the possibilities of what could happen and then a younger generation got tired of living under a nuclear Sword of Damocles and, led by the Pied Pipers of the left - who were supported by generous grants from the Soviet KGB, and flocked wholesale to movements like nuclear freeze and unilateral disarmament (things that would have been national suicide if implemented).

Then Ronald Reagan stepped up and saved us from ourselves.

The question is will the new consciousness of security in the age of Islamic terrorism and man-portable nuclear devises, as well as dirty bombs and chemical and biological weapons, erode as quickley as our will to take affirmative steps to ensure the survival of our population in the event of a nuclear war did?

I hope the answer is NO because as hard as I look out toward the horizon I can't seem to see another Ronald Reagan who will step up and save us from ourselves - again.