sand turns to glass

1/29/06

I had much more pleasant things to say, but after seeing Ed Bradley’s report on “60 Minutes” (see the wrap-up here), I am in a state of flabbergastation. Any of you who have followed this blog since the Pleistocene era know I had a big nervous-breakdown-PTSD after being in downtown-ish Manhattan on 9-11, leading to an obsessive fear of nuclear terror – it got so bad that we moved to Brooklyn, and so did the rest of my family.

A good dose of reality, time, information and 40mg of Celexa cured me of the paralysis, and I don’t really think about it so much, but I do feel as though we’ll experience something nuclear in this country before I turn 80. God, I hope not, but there’s something inevitable about it.

Now, I hate to get gruesomely technical, but those in the direct blast zone of such an unthinkable event will never know what hit them. However, anyone more than a kilometer away has a fighting chance, as long as they behave intelligently. Consult the literature of your choice on what you would do – my family has an emergency stash, and a place to meet, etc.

But what if there were a wonder drug that would stop almost all major forms of radiation sickness – bleeding, organ damage – thus rendering you relatively safe for evacuation? Turns out a great little company called Hollis-Eden in San Diego did just that. After 9/11, they perfected their drug Neumune and waited for the government to buy the 100 million or so doses to protect YOU and YOUR KIDS and ME and MY KIDS in case this ever happened.

And what did Bush’s appointee for biological prevention do? He bought 100,000. Roughly the population of Cedar Rapids, IA.

This guy – Stewart Simonson – was a Republican lawyer for fucking AMTRAK. And now he is in charge of Project Bioshield, the agency keeping you from getting smallpox or anthrax. If you thought Michael Brownie was a disaster in New Orleans, wait until you’re trying to run away from a nuclear-devastated Chicago with pieces of your flesh falling off.

His reason for only getting 100,000 doses? Because he says doctors can administer it in hospitals. AFTER A NUCLEAR ATTACK? Jesus fucking Christ: if ONE GUY can close down the 405 freeway IN BOTH DIRECTIONS for two hours (like on Thursday), can you even imagine how stupid that is?

Do any of you remember the traffic jams trying to get out of Houston during Hurricane Rita, a town that has about forty ways to leave? And they had three days warning! And this dipshit Simonson thinks we’re going to saunter over to a doctor in midtown Manhattan after they’ve blown the Chrysler Building to Uranus?

Read the article above, it will show you what we’re up against. It’s like the Bush Administration just wants the world to end already. I want this Stewart Simonson asshole to come explain himself to Lucy.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: you don’t have to be an apocalypse-minded worrywart, but you had BETTER BE FUCKING PREPARED. Because NOBODY IS GOING TO HELP YOU. Your government believes in some kind of awful Darwinism that only befits either the very rich or the very prepared. Nobody is coming for you. You must find your OWN way out of this mess.

Live to tell stories later. Live to joke about how they bombed your city, but you survived. Live to get your sons and daughters into their twenties. But whatever you do, live. We inherited the worst possible government at the worst crossroads in history, and they don’t give a fuck about you. Live to outlive them.

0 thoughts on “sand turns to glass

  1. CL

    Thank you for presenting this. People tend to laugh off preparedness a lot, even a few years after 9/11, and they consider anyone who tries to raise the issue a…well, an apocalypse-minded worrywart.
    There is nothing obsessive about a fear of nuclear terror.

    Reply
  2. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    Great. First, Oprah rips James Frey a new one on her show, and now you have given me an apocalyptic scenario to obsess about. I’ll be back when there is something positive to comment about. . .

    Reply
  3. lee

    Um, I want some pills! Can we buy them ourselves? Being right by the future expansion of Shearon Harris is enuf to want a whole bucket of them!

    Reply
  4. kent

    I guess I’m way more worried about what the Bush Administration does in the name of fighting terrorism than I am with terrorism itself. If terrorism was the threat they paint it, why hasn’t there been more attacks in the United States? I believe this is because the threat has been overstated for political reasons.
    You notices that we’re in a War On Terrorism and not a War On Al Qaeda, or a War On Guys Who Set Roadside Bombs? It’s a War On Terror because Terror is an emotion, and we’ll never defeat an emotion. It is the perfect right wing bugaboo, even better than Communisim. All the Communists we were at war with for 50 years had fucking mailing addresses! Now we’re going to fight and defeat adrenaline and cortisol?
    And if we’ve been spending billions and billions on the War on Terror, why haven’t we won any victories? Terrorism world-wide has increased since 9/11. The US may be somewhat safer because of heightened awareness and tighter security, but even a fat clown like me could think of a dozen terrorist acts that would be easy to carry off, and requre nothing more than a few guys willing to die and a couple thousand dollars worth of weapons you can buy at Walmart. We haven’t had terrorist acts in the US because the people who could and would carry them out are vanishingly rare.
    Ian, you all in NYC have more reason than the rest of us to live in fear of another terrorist attack, and honestly, NYC WILL, at some point in the future, be a victim again. But it’s like worrying about asteroids hitting — because the threat is so ephemeral and rare. There’s not much you can do about it, beyond making sure the police and FBI are doing their jobs effectively.
    We’re not in a War On Terror, we’re in a War For Terror. The Bush Admin no more wants to win the war on terror, any more than the DEA wants to win the war on drugs. Their enemy isn’t terrorists — terrorists are their reason for being; they cultivate their terrorists like orchids. It’s people like you and me, who might stand up to them and take away their power.
    So you’re right that the government won’t help you. But that was always the case. Anyone who depends on the government is always going to be disappointed. But you need to find a way to let go of the fear, because if you’re afraid, George Bush has already won.

    Reply
  5. Claudia

    News flash: You have always had to–and you always will have to–look out for your own best interests, and the interests of your family, regardless of who is in office, or what the nice doctor in the white labcoat tells you, or what you learned in school, or what you read in that New York Times bestseller, or what your brilliant colleagues say.
    ALWAYS. Period.
    P.S. Brooklynites have known this for ages.

    Reply
  6. Kevin from Philadelphia

    Here here!!! I will be looking into how a private citizen can purchase large amounts of these pills. If our “government” won’t provide for us, then we need to provide for ourselves – and eachother – until competent people take over again.

    Reply
  7. Joanna

    Ugh. I’m waking up to another warm and beautiful January day in Chapel Hill and wondering which will get us first, global warming or nuclear attack. Ian, don’t you know we depressive types are supposed to avoid the news? I haven’t balanced a checkbook since 1989 when I decided it was too depressing and now I think I better drop the news, too.
    So, what’s in your “stash?” Have you posted that before? Maybe I won’t know what’s coming, but I could be prepared.

    Reply
  8. CL

    >>>If terrorism was the threat they paint it, why hasn’t there been more attacks in the United States?
    I don’t know that that’s a fair thing to say. Before 9/11, we all would have doubted there would have been any. It’s possible there were no attacks because what the gov’t is doing is actually working. I don’t want to see more evidence that the terrorists are capable of doing it, although that might be what it takes to shock everyone again. I just want us to be prepared.
    As for the war on terror abroad, I’m with ya there.

    Reply
  9. craighill

    although this guy simonson sure seems like an idiot, he pales in comparison to the morons at hollis-eden. they spent $100mm developing a drug that only one customer could afford without a guarantee of purchase???? sounds like a great short from 5 to 0.

    Reply
  10. kjf

    i had the misfortune of working for amtrak for almost two years before i walked out the door. the place was swarming with unqualified political appointees who had no business running a RR. how frightening to see that they have moved on to bigger things.

    Reply
  11. kevin from NC

    I like Lee would like to purchase some of said pills..
    suggestions where they can be purchased would be appreciated.

    Reply
  12. Claudia

    I am not familiar with Neumune, but here is a link to an FAQ from the FDA regarding potassium iodide:
    http://www.fda.gov/cder/drugprepare/KI_Q&A.htm
    One has been able to purchase potassium iodide pills with relative ease since at least 2001; I have known about them since then, and was informed of their existence by a family member–a plucky Brooklynite who looks out for herself. :)

    Reply
  13. kent

    >>>>If terrorism was the threat they paint it,
    >>>> why hasn’t there been more attacks in
    >>>> the United States?
    >>> I don’t know that that’s a fair thing to say.
    >>> Before 9/11, we all would have doubted there
    >>> would have been any. It’s possible there were
    >>> no attacks because what the gov’t is doing is
    >>> actually working. I don’t want to see more
    >>> evidence that the terrorists are capable of
    >>> doing it, although that might be what it
    >>> takes to shock everyone again. I just want
    >>> us to be prepared.
    First off: Americans were, or should have been, keenly aware of the possibility of terrorist attacks before 9/11. They already had bombed the WTC once; there were the African Embassy attacks, the Khobar Towers bombing, the USS Cole Attack. While a fear of immediate attack was not common pre-9/11, the possibility of terrorist attacks was well known.
    The absence of something does not prove it does not exist. But the absence of terrorist attacks, when motive and opportunity exist, is evidence that the terrorists of the world don’t have the reach to be an effective threat. Even something as low-intensity as pipe bombs in the subway would have a huge impact on the US. Three guys with AK-47s in Time Square on a saturday night would have a huge impact.
    And yet we have a vast new bureaucracy, the DHS, with a huge budget, and any time serious scrutiny is brought to bear, the programs of the DHS are honestly ineffectual at best, and corruptly incompetent at worst. We’re fighting a war of occupation in Iraq, at huge cost, with no exit strategy beyond ‘Kill ‘Em All.’ The President admits no limits to his power to ‘fight’ this ‘war’ on ‘terror,’ and defends illegal actions that infringe on the rights of citizens.
    And because Ian is my brother, and his suffering has been very real to me, I’m doubly angry that my government is playing on all of our fears. Using other people’s fear and suffering for your own political benefit is reprehensible.

    Reply
  14. Mom

    Fascinating, horrifying blog, in the “what other horror can the Bush administration come up with” category. I’m at the point where no incompetence, no dishonesty, no irresponsibility, no Rove-ish spin can possibly surprise me. So I won’t add to the obvious.
    BUT .. Kevin I don’t want to pick on you, but when I read “Here, here” it makes my teeth itch. It’s wrong. I don’t consider many things “wrong” in language, because language is a dynamic, organic, constantly changing thing. But does it have to embrace words and phrases that make no sense.? Like the mind-blowing “I could care less”” when the opposite is meant. Arghhh. The point of language is, of course, communication, and if we don’t make sense, we don’t communicate. It’s hard enough even when we use impeccable grammar, spelling, syntax, etc.
    The phrase is “Hear, hear” and is an ancient cry for all to listen to what is being said. “Here , here” is gibberish.
    See:
    http://urlizer.com/00/1927/
    Sorry. sometimes the English teacher in me takes over.

    Reply
  15. J.Boogie

    oh look, Ian is using the fear tactics again, they’re going to nuke us – that is all Ian can say now
    Ian must have finally woken up and realized his party of losers cannot stop Alito, the Yale graduate, from going to the Supreme Court. Now Ian wakes up today, realizes that Howard Dean has spent almost all of the DNC money already, only has $5 million left in the bank, and Ian must be have gone into full panic mode.
    Ian, just go back to your Hollywood movies and play with your ipod and go back to DailyKos and copy&paste and go watch your Brokeback mountain, it’s about all you can handle.
    And when did the left-wing stooge Ian care about Americans dying anyways ? For years he has been complaining about how he wants the right to kill Americans with beating hearts, and now suddenly Ian has done a 180 and is concerned about Americans with beating hearts.
    Ian and his fear tactics, they’re going to nuke us, we all need tablets and pills for this big nuke disaster that is coming, keep the fear tactics coming Ian, it is all you have now that your political party is dead, get ready to lose tomorrow Ian when you try to stop Alito, Kennedy and Schumer sold you down the river, fool

    Reply
  16. eric g.

    Ian,
    I just saw a movie at Sundance called “Right at Your Door” that raises a lot of the same questions you pose in this entry. It depicts a dirty bomb attack on L.A. and the ensuing panic. Oddly enough, no one in the film takes a calm stroll down to the hospital to pick up a prescription for some curative medication because (a) the hospitals likely have been blown away and (b) even if some are still standing, the police are arresting (or worse) anyone found strolling outdoors because there is a toxic and highly communicable plague falling down upon the City of Angels in the form of nuclear ash. After seeing this movie, I started making my list of things to supplement the earthquake preparedness stash I already have in my storage room…
    P.S. The film got picked up a few days after its premiere, so it will be in a theater near everyone in a year or so.

    Reply
  17. Claverack Weekender

    Having lived through 9/11 also, fortunately from midtown, walking home to Brooklyn that day, and knowing more than one person who died in the WTC, I keep asking myself is living in NYC really worth it? Forget about the noise and headaches, the corrupt state government, the 12% city and state tax, riding a cramped 2 train with all sorts of mildly and seriously diseased humans, ridiculous housing prices, the swarms of people with their hands out for your money, the overzealous fashionistas, the battle for prime schools-PR minutes-apartments-charity board seats-Hamptons rentals-etc…
    What is your escape plan during the next blackout/anthrax scare/dirty bomb/airplane crash into midtown? Ian is correct-the answer is good luck getting over the bridges.
    I’ve moved my family out of Brooklyn to a nice quiet, low-density red state where the anti-terrorism protection $/capita are a bit more in my favor. Do I miss New York? HELL NO!

    Reply
  18. caveman

    Having been on the 30th floor of 130 Liberty St the morning of Sept 11th and then working across the street from Rock Center when Tom Brokaw opened up his anthrax letter makes feel pretty good about the Philadelphia suburbs. I’m selfishly ready to be a spectator during “the next one.”

    Reply
  19. kent

    So, like J.Boogie … your response had nothing to do with what Ian posted. Take some name-calling, some bog-standard Pro-Life bullshit. Mix together, and what do you get?
    Something that smells like Ann Coulter’s taint.
    If you want to seriously debate issues, then get on with it. Otherwise feel free to fuck off.

    Reply
  20. Ian

    That’s my mom: during the nuclear apocalypse, she’ll be the one correcting everyone’s spelling.
    Lee Lee and Kevin – As far as I know, Neumune can’t be bought by ordinary civilians, but I’ll do some research. Also, it isn’t a pill, but a liquid that you would adminster to yourself via needle, just like people who carry around those little tiny shot packets in case of anaphylactic shock. They’re roughly the size of an iPod shuffle, and you’d keep it in your first aid kit.
    Claudia – I’m not saying we haven’t always been repsonsible for our own safety, but there are some things that our government -the one WE PAID FOR – should be doing to help us, and this particular administration gets straight F’s across the board by even Republican scrutiny.
    Joanna, LFMD, and everyone else: While the chances of something nuclear happening in our lifetime are moderate, the chances of you personally being hurt are very, very, very miniscule. That said, those of us in high target zones should have this medicine, period. That we don’t have it is criminally irresponsible.

    Reply
  21. xuxE

    this is xuxE playing the voice of reason.
    i absolutely agree the sooner we get the bush klan out and some thinking folks with brains into leadership positions we will have a much better chance of handling anything an attack throws our way.
    but on a personal note, you can’t go spending precious life-energy in a state of anxiety about this. roofs cave in on skating rinks, floods come, tsunamis happen and evil people bring death and destruction, all of which is very likely to happen when you are not prepared.
    we are not in control. we can’t prevent really bad shit from happening, we can’t save our children in our home-made bomb shelters. you just do your best, buy a pill if you absolutely must, but chances are you’ll buy your nuclear pill and they’ll deploy some bio-weapon instead. or vice versa, or you’ll wind up suffocating in a janky plastic duct taped garage.
    personally i think it is much better to NOT participate in the survival of the richest because that is somehow even more depressing, like the flock of suburban moms clawing for the last cabbage patch kid or PS2 except instead it’s kind of like disaster survival medicine for celebrities.
    i say tune out 60 minutes and anything else hysteria-inducing and just keep voting the way you know you need to, and keep the faith as much as possible to change the fucked up regime.

    Reply
  22. tregen

    Nice to have you back. Don’t worry though, with good old fashion unauthorized wire taps we will prevent the nuclear attack. relax.

    Reply
  23. Neva

    Although a nuclear attack is also worrisome I spend more time these days worrying about a flu pandemic coming as I think that is more likely in the near future. For those of you asking what to have on hand here’s a link to a recent list of suggested stockpile items for a bad flu.
    http://www.newsobserver.com/662/story/393231.html
    I don’t think we’ll be very prepared for this either and unfortunately it will be mass chaos if it is something as deadly as the bird flu.
    On a lighter note, I loved your Mom’s post. My mother, who posted here in the past, was also a former teacher and principal. She actually wrote to the NC DOT and asked them to correct a sign on I-85 designating the Childrens Home because there is no such word as “childrens”. Now there is a very small apostrophe placed in that exit sign for the Children’s home of NC and we refer to it as her memorial apostrophe!
    Neva

    Reply
  24. Kevin from Philadelphia

    Sorry mom, I know you are right, and it actually makes more sense in the auditory capacity than in “the space currently occupied by you, me, or anyone else” capacity. Agreed on the ‘I could care less’ critique. I’ll still share any and all nuclear (or nukular, according to President Chimp) fallout supplies with you and yours, should you find yourself in the city of brotherly love when/if the worst occurs – even though you did just call me out on my stupidity in front of everyone on “the internets”.

    Reply
  25. badbob

    Geez Ian what a pansy. You wouldn’t have done well in the 1950’s.
    No snarkiness here, just cold water in the face: As long as men continue to carry your water over in the Iraq/Afghanistan you have little complain about. Don’t you think if they could they would have already attacked us, again? Living in dreadful fear 24/7 ain’t seemly in a man. You’re just suffering from B.D.S. (Bush Derangement Syndrome)
    BTW, everyone should have an escape plan or a small stock of food as Ian espoused in a prior blog entry. Not everyone in NYC/Brooklyn or anywhere else in America is going to run away or not help- remember all the heroics of the police, firefighters, transit workers and good samaritans that awful day. Take heart in that. We all have family. Chin up.
    B2

    Reply
  26. KOF

    A major problem I have with liberals is presented in your blog. Why on earth do you believe the government should make plans to save you or rescue you? Are you some helpless baby who can’t take care of yourself? Where did this vision of a “Superman” government with a big “S” on their chest come from? You libs are playing the victim even in your hypothetical dooms-day scenarios. Unbelieveable.

    Reply
  27. Jay

    If you want to buy this drug before it gets FDA approval, you can get it (androstenediol) at some body-building sites on the internet.

    Reply

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