Saturday, March 16, 2013

"The Day After" revisited

I first recall taking notice of the phenomenon known as EMP while watching the debut of The Day After on TV back in 1983.

Last night, I watched the film for the first time in 30 years with my family. And the brief portrayal of EMP jumped out at them as well.

The Day After
DVD cover
The Day After depicts life around Lawrence, Kansas following an all-out nuclear exchange between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The story line is nothing so shocking to those of us who grew up in the Cold War era, but the content and concepts have largely faded with the demise of the USSR.

Today's kids know little of nuclear weapons, their potential for harm up close or far away, or what steps can be taken to protect yourself in the event of a nuclear attack. This stuff is no longer taught in schools, and my teen and tween daughters were full of questions as the film played out on our TV.

Today's PC schools have replaced nuclear war by presenting guns as the weapons of mass destruction to be most feared. We had "duck and cover" drills, today's kids have "active shooter" drills. But slighting nuclear weapons may be a disservice to our kids.

With nuclear proliferation now wider than ever, it's past time to dust off some of that Cold War schooling. While the threat of a mass exchange like the one in The Day After may have diminished, the potential for a more limited nuclear attack by a rogue nation or terrorist group is accelerating.

One or two high altitude devices might all that's necessary to plunge our country into an EMP birthed darkness without all the immediate mess of blast and fallout of a conventional nuclear attack.

The Day After is available on disc through Netflix and for purchase through Amazon. When I last looked, there was also a bootleg version posted on YouTube.

No comments:

Post a Comment