I am indeed reading Ted Koppel’s book “Lights Out”, and book reviews take a while. In the meantime, I thought I’d find a couple more videos on the possibility of very long-term power or Internet outages to major parts of the country.
I found a 28-minute lecture “What Happens Immediately After an EMP Atack?” by Evangelist Anita Fuentes (site). This could be watched and compared to Judge Jeanine’s video reviewed here Aug. 6, 2014.
Fuentes gives two big examples in history: The Carrington Solar Coronal Mass Ejection in 1857 (well before the western world was committed to electricity) and then the damage in Hawaii in 1962 from a nuclear weapons test in the Pacific 900 miles away. She conflates a manmade EMP with a solar storm.
But a solar storm (which is more than just the “solar flare” of a Smallville episode), a natural and unpredictable event in space weather, is a very different beast from an EMP pulse from a man-made, enemy (whether a state or terror group’s) nuclear weapon. The higher the altitude of the blast, the wider the area affected. Localized non-nuclear flux gun devices exist (the military has them, like at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, and has used them in Iraq and Afghanistan) and could do local damage. A solar storm probably would not damage car electronics, but an EMP definitely can.
She mentions the "week long" power outage in DC after the June 29, 2012 derecho (she says July 2), but more my neighborhood it was three days, and I have a generator. She doesn't mention the close call we had (missing it by a week) with a possibly Carrington-sized solar storm in late July 2012.
A rogue state or terror group could carry out an attack like in the book “One Second After” (which Fuentes mentions, and reviewed in my Books blog July 20, 2012) but NORAD and coastal defenses should intercept the missiles before they detonate. Koppel fears a cyber attack the most – and I tend to disagree on what I’ve seen so far, but will take this up later when reviewing the book.
Feuntas gets into religious matter (the end of times, making comparisons to the Rapture when planes fall out of the sky, as in Lahaye’s popular “Left Behind” books and movies) in the latter part of the video. Of course, I know where she is coming from. I think that the biggest benefit in discussing the threat is in making policy changes to prevent it. The power industry has made a lot of improvements in the past ten years.
I am 72 years old, with no children and parents gone; and I think I’m useful in an advanced society that is based on law and order. But in an anarchist one thrown back to the 19th century by an enemy’s indignation, my own life would be shameful. Indeed, our current political situation, with partisan polarization and a tendency for most citizens to be interested only in issues that affect them short-term, makes us more vulnerable. In a world like that of NBC's "Revolution", I wouldn’t want to survive, or be saved. The terms of life would be totally different from what they are now: social combat. I have no capacity to function in such a world, or give it another generation to follow me.
I do believe in karma and that an afterlife exists, and it wouldn’t be pretty if this (EMP-wipe) happened first. But I don’t experience the creator in a personalized way. There is indeed a moral paradox in “turning everything over to him” – the ultimate upward affiliation. (When you think about WWII, it seems that Alan Turing was a savior, and look at what then happened.) How could I nurture someone else’s life under such circumstances? Of course, my confessing something like this only makes us more tempting targets to those who want to replace civilization with some other “religious” order. The threat today seems even more profound than what was posed by Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. Resilience is itself part of moral compass, something we didn’t grasp until after 9/11. But for me surviving EMP would be like surviving nuclear war itself, and I lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis as a "patient" at NIH.
video “How To Fix Your Vehicle After an EMP” by FrugalPrepper.
He talks about a metal garbage can as a “Faraday cage”, and makes it sounds like tinkering, to replace modern electronics with older stuff, and distilling your own ethanol fuel, could get you moving again in a Mad Max world.