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John Bressler - What will happen 'One Second After'?
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John Bressler

John Bressler-070811

Listen to John Bressler read his column.

       As most of you know and remember, the decision to drop the atomic bomb not only ended World War II but created a global terror that has continued to escalate. I will never forget the times when I and my classmates went through safety drills to prepare us in case of a bomb actually being dropped on my elementary school. We all crouched under our desks and waited for the inevitable. We really weren't sure what would happen, but we saw newsreels of the destruction in Japan and the horrible results of radiation. If that weren't bad enough, there were more than enough low-budget movies full of large deformed critters, created by atomic fall-out, who ate and mangled innocent teenagers.
       I believe the worst case scenario was when people in my hometown built fallout shelters, stocked them with preserved food and threatened to kill anyone - friend or foe - who might try to share their underground hideaway. Could this be true? Would my good church-going friends actually kill me? You bet your boots!
       Today, most people would laugh at the suggestion that an A-bomb would do much of anything when every nation on this earth is working on or actually has a nuclear weapon that makes the old A-bomb look like a stack of Legos®.
       I finished reading a book, "One Second After." I bought the book after I read in the forward that the story was centered around Black Mountain, North Carolina. It's also the home of Montreat, the getaway for Presbyterians who believe it's as close to heaven as mortals can get. It is about 20 miles from Lake Junaluska, a retreat for the Methodists that believe the Presbyterians are delusional. Anyway, the book is about a war which sends America hundreds of years back into a time worse than the Dark Ages. We fall into a time of anarchy, cannibalism and desperation simply because our country is not ready for and incapable of living in a world without electricity. Far-fetched? Hardly. Take out a pen or pencil and write down everything you can think of that depends upon electronics: transportation, communication, distribution, supplies, defense ... need I continue?
       Science fiction....? The weapon is called an EMP or Electromagnetic Pulse. Folks, this thing is real and many nations already have it. I spoke to an expert in Washington, D.C., and was told, "Yep, we have one, too. The hope is that every nation realizes that it would be adversely effected and would only use such a device as a last resort." The ultimate reality is that whatever damage done would be irreversible and recovery for humankind impossible for hundreds of years.
       This book was quoted on the floor of Congress and suggested as reading for all Americans. That is pretty scary.
       What struck me as the worst possible outcome of such a disaster was the reality of how low we could descend as human beings. The book very realistically relates how the survivors of Black Mountain and Swannanoa banded together under martial law. Violators were executed immediately. Nursing homes turned into morgues, people were left to die because medicine was unavailable, and most ate whatever could be found. Large bands of armed and vicious cut throats killed everyone in sight and were no better than the worst savages imaginable.
       I was shocked by those who claimed to be messiahs of a world order that declared, "There is no God but me and I say that we have no rules, no laws and no pity!" There were others who had the audacity to declare, "God did this to punish us for our sins!"
       I guess my worst fear was that the church had nothing to say. The church had nothing to say.
Could this happen? Yes. Will it happen? I pray to God that it won't. My one hope is that the church will never forget why it exists. "For God so loved the world!!! God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that through Him the world might be saved!!!"
       When there is hope, there is a future. When there is faith, there will be strength. Where there is God, there are no obstacles.
       What will happen, "One Second After?" With God, it will be a new beginning. With God, there will be a new tomorrow. With God, there is everything.

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