Thursday, January 13, 2011

Living in Fear

Apparently "David Pitchford, a Florida trailer park resident," (that was the part where I abandoned all hope, by the way) has filed a personal injury lawsuit against Julian Assange (if you don't know who that is, go to Hell) for making him feel scared.  Pitchford alleges that Assange's negligence has caused "hypertension", "depression" and "living in fear of being stricken by another heart attack and/or stroke" as a result of living "in fear of being on the brink of another nucliar [sic] WAR."  Three things come to mind here:

  1. Stop it.  Seriously, just... God damn it.
  2. "Another" nuclear war?  I'm not sure what kinds of history is taught in Florida trailer parks, but the only thing resembling nuclear war that has ever happened was when we, the United States, became the only country to ever detonate a nuclear device as an offensive strike against another country, twice, effectively ending the conflict with Japan in World War 2.  Granted, I don't want that to happen again either.  It was a difficult decision at the time, and arguably the lesser of two evils.  But despite any assertion that it was necessary (and I agree that it was) it's still a shitty thing to happen.  So I'll grant you that, that you don't want it to happen again.  But the "again" part in this case implies that we would nuke them and that we would win.

    Sure, there were other times when we came close to nuclear war.  The Cold War was full of that crap.  Hell, there's nothing any terrorist has ever done that would scare me more than the Cuban Missile Crisis was fucking terrifying (in retrospect, of course... I wasn't alive then).  But this leads me to my next point...
  3. Does this guy not remember the Cold War?  Specifically, the 1980s?  Looking back on my childhood as I grew up in the '80s, it's kind of strange to remember how we felt about nuclear war at the time.  But those feelings happened.  They were real.  During the 1980s in America, it was in no uncertain terms us vs. them.  And we weren't "in fear" that a nuclear war might happen.  No, sir.  We assumed it was going to happen.  Every man, woman and child in the United States lived each day of our lives back then with the lingering knowledge that, at any moment, World War 3 will break out.

    It wasn't a matter of "if" but of "when."  Movies like WarGames represented the concept eerily well, actually.  One computer glitch, one bad call, one mistake or unlucky day, one guy who has a red phone gets stuck in traffic for a few minutes and misses something important... one tiny little spark and it's all over.  The missiles are loosed, the dogs of war are let slip, and we... are... fucked.

    Sure, maybe we'd win.  It used to be "of course we'd win" back in the days when we were a unified nation.  Back in the '40s and '50s America couldn't lose.  We were invincible.  By the time the '80s rolled around, however, the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction was understood by all.  "Winning" likely means that we have a few scraps of society remaining where they have none.  Not exactly a stunning victory.
So, seriously... living in fear of a nuclear war?  Been there, done that.  As a small child I handled it better than this guy.  We all did.  But even though I no longer fear a nuclear attack, I can still hold out hope for that heart attack and/or stroke that he mentioned.  After all, I wouldn't want him to be shown to be an idiot.  I'd rather he die being right than live being wrong.  The net result is acceptable to me.

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