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The Nuclear Age was introduced to all of Earth’s inhabitants on August 6, 1945, during World War II (1939-45). An American B-29 bomber dropped the world’s first deployed atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The explosion wiped out 90 percent of the city and immediately killed 80,000 people; tens of thousands more would later die of radiation exposure. Three days later, a second B-29 dropped another A-bomb on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 40,000 people.
After World War II, a nuclear arms race between the Soviet Union and the United States began and reached fearful and threatening speeds. Each side boasted that it had the most powerful deployable nuclear weapons. On October 30, 1961, the Soviet Union proved and supported its bragging rights by detonating the largest nuclear device ever detonated, and the most powerful man-made explosion in history. The bomb was called the Tsar Bomba. With a yield of 50 megatons of TNT—3000 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima—the Tsar Bomba was the culmination of a number of hydrogen bomb tests conducted throughout this time by both the Soviet Union and the United States. Theoretically, the Tsar Bomba could have yielded as much as 100 megatons of TNT, but it would have resulted in a dangerous level of nuclear fallout. Additionally, the delivery plane would not have had sufficient time to retreat to a safe distance.
The extreme damage and devastation wrought by thermonuclear weapons like the Tsar Bomba is inconceivable. If such a weapon exploded in any large city such as New York, Paris, Moscow, or London, its metropolitan area plus large portions of its surrounding suburbs would be completely destroyed and devoid of all life.
The United States and Russia (formally, the Soviet Union) have thermonuclear weapons that are theoretically 1000 times more powerful than the Tsar Bomba. Neither side will disclose what types of weapons it actually has. Keeping the other side guessing is what maintains the peace between these two powerful nations.
The early Hiroshima bomb decimated 5 square miles, including every living human being. If the Tsar Bomba is 3000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb, then, theoretically, the Tsar Bomba would have decimated 15,000 square miles. And, theoretically, if there exists a thermonuclear weapon 1000 times more powerful than the Tsar Bomba, 15 million square miles, including every living human being, would be destroyed.
Who sat down and thought about creating such a terrible weapon that would have such devastating consequences to the human race? Who conceived the idea and then acted on the idea to develop nuclear energy? Did these people feel any remorse or concern for the ideas they conceived and experimented upon?
The Soviet nuclear physicist, Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov (1921-1989), often referred to as the “father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb” because he headed the team that created the Tsar Bomba, would later became a human rights activist. He won the 1975 Nobel Peace Prize. After the Tsar Bomba was detonated, Sakharov wrote letters to Soviet leaders urging them to stop nuclear testing. His warnings contributed to efforts by the United States and the Soviet Union to consider nuclear weapons treaties between the two world superpowers. But when Sakharov published an article entitled “Reflections on Progress, Peaceful Coexistence, and Intellectual Freedom” in 1968, in which he publicly dissented against the Soviet leadership’s policies and instead advocated for cooperation with the U.S., he was removed from his responsibilities on Soviet scientific research and development projects. He was eventually convicted of anti-Soviet activity and exiled. When the Soviet Union disbanded, Sakharov and his wife were released from exile and invited to Moscow in December 1986 by Mikhail Gorbachev as part of his domestic liberalization policy that led to the dissembling of the Soviet Union.
Sakharov was hardly the father of nuclear physics. He had nothing to do with the development of the first nuclear weapons that took the lives of thousands of innocent human beings in Japan. We could name a few of the major progenitors of the Nuclear Age, but do they really deserve accolade? Do they deserve any praise for what they did? They figured out how to harness the power of atoms—the building blocks of all matter. Upon figuring it out, why did they use their knowledge to help create weapons of mass destruction? That’s a question that each of these nuclear scientists (and they were mostly men) must ask himself. If what you know contributes to death, destruction, and unimaginable misery, what kind of person are you if you share or utilize your knowledge, knowing that it could lead to such human misery?
Let’s theorize that you are a person who pursues an education in nuclear physics. You study everything that has ever been published by all the nuclear physicists before you. You develop a theory that only you know and understand. Your idea can be used for good or for bad, and your idea is worth a lot of money, prestige, and popularity among your peers. What would you do with your idea? Would you tell others? Would you weigh the options between the good your idea can do and the bad it can do, and then decide if you should share it with others? Would you consider that although your idea could do a lot of good for humanity, in the wrong hands, it would do even more bad? What would be your decision?
Your decision would become the ultimate sign and token of your personal humanity. Would you sell the sign and token of your humanity for money, prestige, and popularity among your peers? More than likely, as human nature is, most would. Most would justify their decision based on the thought of how much good the idea can do, how much money can be made, and how popular one would become. They would deflect personal guilt by transferring the negative consequences to someone or something else’s responsibility.
On August 6, 1945, the U.S. President, Harry S. Truman, decided that the killing of tens of thousands of innocent people was justified and good. His decision did end the war with Japan, but there are some who believe that war would have ended anyway. Truman’s decision might have saved countless lives in an ongoing war, but was dropping the bomb Truman’s only option? Couldn’t he have warned Japan about what was going to happen and then dropped the bomb on some isolated, uninhabited Japanese island to prove its power?
Let’s suppose that Truman’s decision was good and that the sacrifice of thousands of men, women, and little ones for a greater purpose is good. Let’s theorize that the sacrifice of MILLIONS of men, women, and little ones is good, IF the sacrifice would cause world peace, or at least cause the leaders to consider world peace.
What if the United States had a thermonuclear weapon 1000 times more powerful than any other nation’s weapon? Let’s call it, Dios Mío (OMG, Oh My God!). Let’s suppose that Dios Mío could initiate cooperation between the world’s nations that would lead to peace upon Earth. Should the U.S. show its power and explode the device for the entire world to see? If so, should the U.S. detonate it in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in an uninhabited area? Or should the U.S. drop it on Russia or China and take out one of its current superpower competitors?
How would the world respond to such incredible power? Would it make a difference?
Did it make a difference when the United States showed its unprecedented power on August 6, 1945? No! It led to more instability and threat to world peace. Why? Because of the human ego. No one likes to be shown up or proven wrong. No one likes to be devalued and demoralized compared to everyone else. If the United States is right, and it has the power to enforce what it believes is right, but what it believes is right is wrong to people of other nations, those who do not agree with the United States will not sue or seek for peace. Because of human nature, peace seems impossible. Most people would rather have the money, prestige, and popularity that support their personal ego rather than remain a “nobody” in the world.
What if a “nobody” had access to all of the information that the world’s nuclear physicists have, and have ever had, and this “nobody” wanted to make a name for himself and leave a sign and token of his existence so that no one would ever forget his name?
There was once a “nobody” who lived in Greece during the fifth century BCE. He was from a very wealthy family that everyone envied. At that time, everyone wanted to be rich, and the Greek culture afforded people with reasonable opportunities to live the Greek Dream. As this “nobody” grew, he wanted to be as popular and well liked as his father and others of his peers. Because of his family’s wealth, he was able to sit around and think about things. He could read and write. He would sit around for days and read and study things. He developed a theory that became the basis of everything that modern nuclear physicists know and understand about nuclear energy: the atom. His name was Democritus.
Democritus knew that if a stone were divided in half, the two halves would have essentially the same properties as the whole. Therefore, he reasoned (theorized) that if the stone were to be continually cut into smaller and smaller pieces then, at some point, there would be a piece which would be so small as to be indivisible. He called these small pieces of matter “atomos,” the Greek word for indivisible.
Over 2,000 years later, Democritus’ theory started the Nuclear Age. During the later part of the 19th Century, other men sat around all day and thought about the atom and began to experiment with Democritus’ ideas. It didn’t take more than 50 years for Democritus’ ancient theory to develop and lead to the detonation of the first nuclear weapon. So, the question remains, why didn’t and couldn’t Democritus have taken the theoretical steps necessary to create nuclear weapons during the 5th Century BCE? Why did it take over 2,000 more years before the theory was expounded upon? If the ancient Greeks had developed nuclear weapons, there wouldn’t have been a Great Roman Empire. There would have only been the Great Greek Empire, which would have spread throughout and conquered the entire world, but ONLY IF the Greeks would have used atomic energy and power for good.
There were those who lived in ancient Greece who knew where Democritus’ theory would lead. These few men didn’t care about making a name for themselves. They didn’t care about the money, the prestige, or the popularity among their peers. They didn’t have any peers. They were “nobodies.” It was a humble servant and close friend of one of the most popular and influential Greeks in history, Aristotle, who would converse with his master and discuss the ramifications and possibilities of Democritus’ ideas. Convinced of the bad that humanity would do with the atom, Aristotle rejected Democritus’ theory. Because of Aristotle’s influence on education and science, nuclear physics would lay dormant and unconsidered for tens of hundreds of years.
It was because Aristotle’s servant didn’t sell the sign and token of his humanity for money and aggrandize his own ego in order to leave a name and legacy for himself that the world was saved at that time. Had that humble person not existed, we might not have a world today.
There are many more “nobodies” in the world than “somebodies.” If you walk around the world’s most populous cities, how many people do you recognize and know? Very few, if any. The ability of a “nobody” to become a “somebody” has diminished over time. It takes a lot of “nobodies” to make a “somebody.” To be known for your wealth, you need a lot of “nobodies” making money for you. To gain prestige and popularity among your peers, there must exist a lot of “nobodies” to whom you are compared.
During the times of Ancient Greece, only the “somebodies” had the time and the means to read and write and theorize. Information was generally restricted only to the “somebodies.” Not so today. Today, anybody can access most information.
It is not a nation attacking or threatening another nation with nuclear weapons that the world must fear. We must fear a “nobody” wanting to become a “somebody.” It is easy for governments and their law enforcement agencies to monitor and control people of whom they know and are aware. It’s not so easy to monitor and control the “nobodies” of the world.
In a secure and isolated basement, with access to the information of nuclear physics, a “nobody” is devising a plan to become a “somebody.”
Just a few selected men created a nuclear device that was once deemed impossible by the majority of the world. These few nuclear pioneers had access to very limited information compared to what more modern nuclear physicists have access to, much of which is available on the Internet. This “nobody” will acquire the knowledge and ability to take all that the pioneers had and turn a wagon drawn by two oxen into a supersonic jet. And there’s nothing that any law enforcement agency on Earth can do to stop him. There’s nothing that any law, any amount of vetting, waiting period, or background check is going to do to stop him.
If he succeeds and detonates a thermonuclear device that has 3000 times more power than the one that destroyed Hiroshima, how is the world going to react? What is it going to do?
It seems that when something like this happens, the world responds in fear and a strong resolve to never let it happen again by retaliating. When the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001, by a group of “nobodies,” it responded with the full force of its military. The U.S. investigated, pursued, and killed anyone that it theorized had taken a part in the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Centers in New York. Tens of thousands of innocent men, women, and little ones became justifiable “collateral damage.” The United States killed and wounded tens of hundreds of thousands of “nobodies” in retaliation. The American people didn’t know the names, families, addresses, or anything else about these “nobodies.” In March of 2003, the “shock and awe” military campaign of revenge began.
The “nobody” who is learning how to create a thermonuclear weapon in his basement doesn’t particularly like what the “somebodies” of this world have done, and are doing, to the “nobodies.” He has learned a lot from the U.S. response to 9-11. He has learned that he has to remain incognito and do what he is doing (developing a homemade thermonuclear weapon) under the radar of American intelligence and law enforcement.
When this “nobody” becomes a “somebody” in world history by destroying MILLIONS of innocent people as “collateral damage” during an attack on a legitimate target (the United States), which this “nobody” believes is responsible for creating misery and destroying “nobodies” like him throughout the world, how, then, will the world respond? When this person succeeds at developing and detonating a homemade thermonuclear device that is 1000 times more powerful than the Tsar Bomba, in a suburb of Washington D.C., it will completely destroy Washington D.C., Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York City.
What or whom is the United States government going to attack in retaliation and response to this type of attack? The United States government will no longer exist to organize its “well-regulated militia” and lead its military. The Pentagon will be instantaneously vaporized. Every atom of every government building, of every politician, of every military leader will do exactly what Democritus theorized would happen: be broken down into its smallest, non-dividable parts.
New York, the hub of the world’s economy, will no longer exist. The American economy and government will remain in the hands of 300 million, unregulated American gun owners, who have no clue about what they are going to do next. Will they unite along left-wing and right-wing political lines? Will the gun owners take over and force the liberals to reestablish a government according to the concepts presented in the United States Constitution, which would still, theoretically, be in effect in the other U.S. States that weren’t destroyed? Will the gun owners kill the liberals who don’t believe that a citizen should have the right to own a gun outside of a “well-regulated militia,” as the liberals interpret the Constitution?
Perhaps, a well-established foreign government like China would take over. Chinese businesses are well invested in the United States and own many of the companies that will provide paychecks to the surviving Americans. Wouldn’t the Chinese have a stake in what the United States will become after their political and economic structure is completely destroyed?
The gun owners would feel safer than the liberals. They could defend themselves and their families. But what about the millions of people who owned guns in the former States of Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York City? What good did their guns do them?
If the world were to respond like it usually does—like the United States did after 9-11—the homemade nuclear explosion that will wipe out the American government and economic base will not be the last. Eventually, a modern-day Democritus will no longer have to theorize how the sun was created, he will KNOW. And unless this modern Democritus is stopped by the humanity of a humble servant—a “nobody” who will never sell the sign and token of his humanity for money, prestige, or popularity—our sun will be recreated in the isolated basement laboratory of an unknown “nobody.” The creation of a new sun will destroy our solar system and put out the fire that allows humans to exist.
Streaming live over the Internet, this modern-day Democritus will give his final statement to a world that made him feel like a “nobody.” Looking straight into the camera, with his finger on the key that will detonate a new sun’s creation, he will speak his last words:
“If I am nobody, then so shall be the rest of you.”
The “nobodies” of this world now have access to everything and all the information that all the “somebodies” have had. The “nobodies” will continue to use this access to become somebody. To save humanity, we need to understand why anyone would get the idea in one’s head that one must kill other people in order to make a name for oneself, or for what “nobody” considers is justice.
We do not know who the next “nobody” is who wants to become “somebody.” Nikolas Cruz was a “nobody” before he entered his high school and killed a few of his classmates who looked at him as a “nobody.”
Theodore “Ted” Kaczynski, was a “nobody” until he decided to live in a cabin isolated away from others and put together bombs and mail them to people who he had decided were a part of an unjust world. Kaczynski became somebody: the infamous Unabomber. In his mind, he simply wanted a better world for everyone. Kaczynski wrote a manifesto about the inequality and disparity between the rich and poor of the world and the way that technology was destroying the earth’s environs. He called his manifesto: “The Industrial Society and its Future.” He sent the manifesto to the New York Times and told the popular newspaper that he would not bomb anyone else, if the Times published it. His brother read the paper and recognized Ted’s writing style. Once discovered, law enforcement officials surrounded Ted in his cabin. Had Kaczynski developed the technology for a sun’s fusion reactor in his cabin, the unjust world that he observed, and the people responsible for it, would no longer exist.
A few “nobodies” got together and figured out a way to hijack planes and turn the planes into missiles to attack the economic center of the world that these “nobodies” were convinced was the main contributor to poverty and inequality in their own countries. They sacrificed their own lives to become “somebody.”
To stop the next “nobody,” we need to focus on creating a world where everybody is somebody.
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