NRA: I need a new car

NRA: I need a new car June 15, 2012

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist, pp. 8-12

If you were ever a Cold War kid, then at some point you’ve thought about what you would do when they drop the Big One — when the big map from War Games lights up, the red phone starts blinking, and mushroom clouds start blooming on the horizon.

If you had a particularly vivid — or particularly morbid — imagination, then you may have even concocted several elaborate scenarios for how you might escape and survive The Day After. Me too.

But I know it wasn’t just me. I’ve talked to dozens of folks who had daydreams and nightmares that played out this scenario. I’ve heard or read or watched endless variations of these “what would you do if …” or “what will you do when …” schemes.*

Yet in all those fearful fantasies from all those conversations, articles, books, TV shows and movies, I don’t ever recall anyone saying: “Well, the very first thing I would do is hightail it to a luxury car dealership and buy myself an overpriced, gas-guzzling SUV.”

Until now.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Last week I was too distracted by the aggressive sexism of these pages to note the jarringly weird interlude that begins at the top of page 8. Armed soldiers of the Antichrist have just whisked away Rayford and Amanda Steele, leaving Buck and Chloe alone on the side of a clogged highway in the middle of World War III. And then, abruptly, this:

“This reminds me of when we were first married,” Buck said as Chloe snuggled close to him.

“What do you mean ‘when we were first married’? We’re still newlyweds!”

“Shh!” Buck said quickly. “What’re they saying about New York City?”

Chloe turned up the radio. “… devastating carnage everywhere here in the heart of Manhattan. Bombed-out buildings, emergency vehicles picking their way through debris, Civil Defense workers pleading with people over loudspeakers to stay underground.”

Savor that. Look at those first two paragraphs, then at the second two, and admire the awful audacity of trying to place them in the same chapter, let alone right next to each other like that.

Leave aside the logistical difficulties of “snuggling” in a car that doesn’t have bench seats and just try to imagine what Buck could possibly mean when he says this situation reminds him of “when we were first married.” It’s been less than an hour since they learned that Bruce, the friend who performed their wedding, is dead. Oh, and by the way, World War III has just begun with millions dead as at least three major cities have been destroyed. It might be a time for holding one another close as a shield against the shock, horror and trauma still unfolding around them. But I don’t really think it’s “snuggle” time.

The radio news report is from “the Cable News/Global Community News Network,” which is these books’ version of CNN. Notice that CN/GCNN, at least, is reporting on World War III as it happens. Contrast that with Global Community Weekly, which is not. This doesn’t seem to bother the man in charge of GCW, who only briefly mentioned needing to get to his office before forgetting all about that. He’s now content to snuggle in traffic and let someone else cover this breaking news.

Two things about Jerry Jenkins’ portrayal of CNN here ring true: 1) When a big story breaks, even other journalists turn to them for the initial report; and 2) That initial report is sketchy and uninformative.

The unnamed CN/GCNN reporter in New York doesn’t so much report on the destruction of that city as shout random phrases about his own efforts to escape it:

Buck heard the panic in the reporter’s voice as he continued. “I’m seeking shelter myself now, probably too late to avoid the effects of radiation. No one knows for certain if the warheads were nuclear, but everyone is being urged to take no risks. Damage estimates will be in the billions of dollars. Life as we know it here may never be the same. There’s devastation as far as the eye can see.”

The reporter doesn’t say “as far as the eye can see” from where, but since he seems to be somewhere in Manhattan, I’m going to make a bold guess that these bombs were not nuclear. The map to the right comes courtesy of Carlos Labs’ “Ground Zero” app. It shows the heat effects of a single 1958-era nuclear bomb (like the one Slim Pickens rode in Dr. Strangelove) striking midtown Manhattan. This is only the heat effects — not the blast radius or the radiation effects. That big dark green circle would be on fire. Anyone in the next three concentric circles would suffer third, second or first-degree burns, respectively.

I would guess, then, that if “damage estimates” are only “in the billions of dollars,” and if there are so many survivors that “everyone is being urged to take no risks,” and if “take no risks” remains an imaginable option, then this could not have been a nuclear bomb.

Hard to say, though, since this reporter doesn’t mention any locations, landmarks or people in his report. (I’m not sure he even tries to answer Who, What, When or Where in that report.) What does he focus on? What is the major theme of his perilous effort to report live from the site of a perhaps-nuclear bomb attack? What else?

All major transportation centers have been closed if not destroyed. Huge traffic jams have snarled the Lincoln Tunnel, the Triborough Bridge, and every major artery out of New York City. What has been known as the capital of the world looks like the set of a disaster movie. Now back to the Cable News/Global Community News Network in Atlanta.

The Triboro, as that name suggests, is not an “artery out of New York City.” (At first it seemed strange to me that so many people would be trying to flee to Queens, but then I realized that there are a lot of car rental places out by LaGuardia and — as we’re about to learn — in the world of Left Behind, one’s first concern following a nuclear attack should be to return one’s rental car.)

Having a reporter describe the devastation of a real-life bomb blast as “like the set of a disaster movie” could be a good device in a satirical novel skewering the ineptitude of broadcast journalists or lampooning the abstraction of our mediated culture. But this not-CNN reporter uses this phrase because Jerry Jenkins thought it was a sufficient, meaningful and vivid description. (Apprentice level courses still only $1,000 at the Christian Writer’s Guild!)

Here is where we get a page of Chloe whining and fretting indecisively while Buck ponders his own manly resourcefulness and perceives the powerful-yet-unused engine of his car as a metonymy for his manhood. And then:

Suddenly an explosion rocked their car and nearly lifted it off its tires. Buck wouldn’t have been surprised had the windows blown in around them. Chloe shrieked and buried her head in Buck’s chest. Buck scanned the horizon for what might have caused the concussion. Several cars around them quickly pulled off the road. In the rearview mirror Buck saw a mushroom cloud slowly rise and assumed it was in the neighborhood of O’Hare International Airport, several miles away.

I don’t know for certain if that mushroom cloud is nuclear, but I would urge everyone to take no risks. (If that was a nuclear bomb, and it merely “rocked their car,” then I’ll assume that Nicolae Carpathia is just stretching his legs in the early going of World War III by using up all the little nukes the Global Community confiscated from places like the former nations of Pakistan and North Korea before he moves on to the big ones confiscated from the former nations of the U.S. and Russia.)

Buck’s response is his idea of the manliest thing that a man’s man can do:

Buck looked quickly behind him and out both side windows. As soon as the car ahead gave him room, he whipped the wheel left and punched the accelerator. Chloe gasped as the car jumped the curb and went down through a culvert and up the other side. Buck drove on a parkway and passed long lines of creeping vehicles.

“What are you doing, Buck?” Chloe said, bracing herself on the dashboard.

“I don’t know what I’m doing, babe, but I know one thing I’m not doing: I’m not poking along in a traffic jam while the world goes to hell.”

In every town in America, there’s a road with a douchebag lane. It might be the shoulder of a highway, or the stretch of left lane after the third sign warning “left lane ends 500 feet.” Or it might be a “right turn only” lane at a busy stoplight.

The d-bag lane wasn’t intended to be the d-bag lane. It was intended to be the shoulder, or a right-turn only lane, and it is still, occasionally, used for those intended purposes. But more often it’s used by d-bags. Hence the name. Thus while everyone else is merging in an orderly manner on the highway, or while all the rest of the cars going straight at the light wait their turn in the proper lane, the d-bags use their designated lane to speed past all those other suckers and cut to the front.

Like all line-jumpers, the drivers who use the d-bag lane seem to think this is an ingeniously clever ploy. They seem to imagine that everyone else waiting their turn in traffic or in any other such line is only doing so because they weren’t clever enough to come up with the idea of running to the front and cutting everyone else off. They seem to imagine that the rest of the people in the line, seeing them pull this d-bag move, are kicking themselves and thinking, “Wow, he just went all the way to the front without waiting! Why didn’t I think of that?”

I always assumed that none of the people in that line, or in any line, ever, was actually thinking that. But apparently Jerry Jenkins was. Apparently one day he saw some d-bag race past a line of cars in the right-turn-only lane and thought to himself, “That guy is so cool! Someday I’m going to have the hero of my novel do that so that readers will see just how awesomely clever he is!”

One difference between the usual scenario of d-bags using their designated lane and what Buck is doing here is that usually there isn’t a mushroom cloud rising just a few short miles away. It seems unlikely that Buck would be the only driver to decide to get creative after seeing that.

Buck was waved at, pointed at, and hollered at by traffic cops, and he was honked at and obscenely gestured at by other motorists.

He was not deterred.

Because, you see, everyone’s car was just rocked by the blast of a perhaps-nuclear bomb and everyone sees the mushroom cloud, but only Buck Williams thinks about trying to get away. So there’s no mass panic, no other cars trying to cut across medians or swerve onto the shoulder. No pile-ups and collisions as thousands of drivers simultaneously slam on the gas thinking “Holy crap! A mushroom cloud!”

Nope, only Buck.

I think that sentence — “He was not deterred” — does a good job of getting inside the head of the kind of person who utilizes the d-bag lane. All those people waving, pointing, hollering and honking may perceive him, rightly, as a colossal douchebag, but he perceives himself as brave, resolute, resourceful and “undeterred.”

“Where are you going?” Chloe insisted.

“I need a new car,” he said. “Something tells me it’s going to be our only chance to survive.”

“What are you talking about?”

With that last question, I think, Chloe speaks for all of us.

“Don’t you see, Chlo’?” he said. “This war has just broken out. It’s not going to end soon. It’s going to be impossible to drive a normal vehicle anywhere.”

“So what’re you gonna do, buy a tank?”

“If it wasn’t so conspicuous, I just might.”

I would not. An M1 Abrams tank gets about 0.6 miles to the gallon, and even though we’re only about an hour into World War III at this point in the story, I’m guessing that gasoline is already difficult, if not impossible, to purchase even paying 10 times yesterday’s prices. Plus a tank only has a maximum speed of about 45 mph.

Come the apocalypse, I’d go with a motorcycle. Much better fuel economy, much easier to navigate around traffic jams and checkpoints.

Better yet, in this particular form of apocalypse, I’d go with a horse. By that I also mean that I’d make a beeline for the kind of place where a horse makes more sense than a car. “Flee to the mountains” Jesus advised in the one place where LaHaye-style End Times enthusiasts believe he directly addressed their obsession. Seems like good advice in this scenario.

Buck drives “between tennis courts and across soccer and football fields” and we get a couple more paragraphs about the geography of suburban Chicago (“write what you know”):

He wanted to wind up on Northwest Highway, where a series of car dealerships comprised a ghetto of commercialism.

A last sweeping turn led Buck out of the subdivision, and he saw what his favorite traffic reporter always said was “heavy, slow, stop-and-go” traffic all along Northwest Highway. He was in a mood and a groove, so he just kept going.

As with the instance quoted earlier, in which Buck refers to Chloe as “babe,” I’m reminded here that there are some words that some people just shouldn’t try to use. Buck Williams should not say “babe,” ever. And Jerry Jenkins should probably avoid the word “groove.” Also: “ghetto.”

Pulling around angry drivers, he rode along a soft shoulder for more than a mile until he came upon those car dealerships.

“Bingo!” he said.

Imagine you work at a car dealership on the Northwest Highway near Chicago.

It’s kind of a slow morning. Business has picked up over the last few months after the auto market cratered in the aftermath of the Event. But today there’s not much happening.

And then World War III starts. New York, London and Washington are all destroyed and there’s even been an airstrike at an old military base not far from where you are. After that you get almost no foot-traffic at all in the dealership. So you and your co-workers are just sitting around watching the scenes of devastation unfolding on the television as “the Cable News/Global Community News Network in Atlanta” breathlessly fails to provide any coherent details of what’s happening.

Then the walls shake and the CN/GCNN anchor reports:

“This from Chicago: Our news base there has been taken out by a huge blast. No word yet on whether this was an attack by militia forces or a Global Community retaliatory strike. We have so many reports of warfare, bloodshed, devastation, and death in so many major cities around the globe that it will be impossible for us to keep up with all of it. …”

You don’t hear the rest of the broadcast, though, because this d-bag pulls up in a Lincoln and says he wants to buy a car.

That’s the annoying thing about trying to follow a breaking news story when you’re at work. It seems like some customer always interrupts you just before you get to hear what the deal is with that mushroom cloud you see out the window.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

* I’ve never seen any studies on this, exploring the potential or actual effect of growing up with a constant background fear/expectation of nuclear annihilation. It seems odd not to think it would have some effect. I’ve no idea how such a thing might be measured, but it seems to me that two generations raised with the prolonged anxiety that their future may consist of only mushroom clouds might have something to do with how those generations think and plan for the future. Maybe some small contributing factor in our inability to come to grips with the long-term implications of climate change, or our failure to think long-term when it comes to maintaining and upgrading the national infrastructure. Perhaps this even contributes to the notorious failure of boomers and Gen X-ers to save for retirement (although the biggest factor there, I think, is that these generations were taught that income rises over time — which hasn’t been true since the oldest boomers were kids).

This question of anxiety and fear of a futureless world, and how such views affect one’s ability to plan for the long-term also seem pertinent with regard to the followers of apocalyptic “Bible prophecy” teachers like Tim LaHaye. It seems to me that if it’s 1995, and you’re reading Left Behind and believing every word it says about how Jesus is coming back very, very, very soon, then you probably don’t much care that your city’s water mains were built 90 years ago and were originally intended to be replaced after 50 years. They’ve made it this far, you probably think, so they should last until Jesus comes back, right?

P.S. The title of this post comes from a terrific Daniel Amos song spoofing prosperity gospel preachers. Here’s how it sounded on the 1983 album Doppelgänger, and here’s how it sounds these days from the still-out-there-working band.

I mention this here because I love that song, and because it’s yet another reminder to myself to see if I can’t someday get around to that big post exploring how early Jesus rockers like DA moved past the End Times-obsessed themes of Left Behind to a more sustainable form of faith.

"I look forward to East Coast-West Coast tuba rivalries. Drive-bys, diss tracks, the works."

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  • Raj1point618

    Should he DARE paint his mailbox the wrong color, however, …

  • E_Hyde

    I see “in reply to ___” at the bottom of a comment, and if I click on that, the comment it was in reply to pops up in a little window.

    As far as threads that allow replies to individual posts, I think that the forums on Ravelry have the best and most intuitive setup I’ve seen. 

  • On the non-mobile version there will be “in reply to VCarlson” text at the bottom of this, and if you click on it you can read the comment I’m replying to. I’ve never tried the mobile version.

  • Am I the only unfortunate person who  has Huey Lewis stuck in hir head from the title of the post?

    (link for those who don’t get it)


    Not actually the case. Scientist Richard Feynman once watched a nuclear
    test detonation without any eye protection save his car’s wind screen.

    OK, but that’s Feynman in his Feynman-mobile. What about for an actual human being driving terrestrial vehicles?

  • ISTR Feynman decided if just peeked real quick through the windshield he’d be OK. I don’t know if he regretted the decision, but had I been in his position I’d have laid crosswise on the bench seat so I could see the light reflected on the roof of the car or truck, and still be able to determine if looking up at the sky would be safe too.

  • Lori


    For me, anyway, the long-term effect of growing up under the nuclear
    sword of Damocles was that I learned to let go of the fear of Death By
    Unexpected Catastrophe.  

    It had this effect on me as well. I’ve often wondered how much it contributed to my near-told absence of existential angst. (I have zero fear of non-existence. The idea just doesn’t bother me at all. I understand intellectually why it bothers other people, but on a gut level it makes no sense to me. )

  • Joshua

    For those still on the topic of EMPs frying cars, I’ve linked to this site before.

    An EMP can be produced by a low-altitude burst if the burst is low enough for the fireball to intersect the ground. The pulse is very quick and very high-power, but also very localised – there’s not much actual energy in it. Any electronics that would be affected would probably be melted and/or smashed anyway.

    Nuclear detonations designed for their EMP effect would use a very high-altitude burst, which is a different kettle of three-eyed fish. “Normal” attacks would use a fairly-high altitude burst where the fireball does not touch the ground, and would have relatively little EMP.

    And I’ll second the earlier comment that the effects of EMP in real-world scenarios are not exactly well-studied, because there thankfully haven’t been any.

    In short, even if the mushroom cloud in the story were nuclear, the lack of a car-wrecking EMP is not necessarily a writing fault.

    If I were in his shoes, and assuming I wasn’t a useless jelly quaking in terror, I’d say the lack of visible flash or fireball indicated a low yield and very low-altitude burst, so there’d be a lot of fallout from where the fireball vapourised the ground and did nasty things to the atoms previously therein, and that now’s a good time to high-tail it out of there before dust started settling. I wouldn’t stop to buy a new car while the old one still drives. I guess what would stop me would be the huge number of other people who also had the idea of driving on the shoulder.

    I’d also set the air to recirc until I was a hundred kilometres upwind.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    And as far as I can see, there’s not a single Catholic blogger under the “Progressive” heading. Exclusionary is right.

    Great. So the faith practiced by the majority of Catholics I’ve ever known, laity and consecrated alike, is non-existent as far as Patheos admin are concerned.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I’d rev it in the morning!

  • PJ Evans

     I’d rev it in the evening!

  • Dragoness Eclectic

     Looking at that list, I note that all the hijackings after 9/11 were also complete *failures*. Either the hijackers were arrested after landing (and didn’t get taken where they wanted to go), or they were beaten up (“subdued”) by the passengers and crew.

  • Dragoness Eclectic

     Been a while since I’ve read “Red Storm Rising”, but my vague recollection was that the Soviets started the war because of some internal incidents that left them very vulnerable, and being paranoid about being attacked when their military became helpless, attacked first, while their military was still functional.

    From what I’ve read of the Cold War-era Soviet Union, they really were that paranoid about America. Reagan’s jokes about bombing the “evil empire” weren’t funny to them; they took that as more evidence of our *real* attitudes and what we’d do to them if it looked like we could.

  • Dragoness Eclectic

    The background radiation levels of said areas are lower than a post-nuke world would probably be, though.

    Depends how long afterwards you’re talking. One of the truisms of nuclear physics is “the hotter it is, the faster it’s decaying”. 

    Dangerous to deadly levels of radiation are caused by unstable isotopes decaying rapidly and throwing off a LOT of charged particles that do bad things to your DNA and messenger proteins on the way through.  Slow decay, like atmospheric C-14 -> C-12, gives us few enough charged particles flying about that it’s not dangerous; our body’s internal repair mechanisms can cope with it.

    However, every charged particle thrown off represents a decay step;
    the more rapidly that they are being thrown off (higher levels of radiation), the faster decay is proceeding.  Once those rapidly-decaying isotopes have finished decaying into stable isotopes, they are no longer radioactive. 

    Thus, deadly levels of radiation cool down to something liveable fairly rapidly. That’s why Hiroshima and Nagasaki could be rebuilt and lived in as soon as they were. It’s also not something that’s very well known outside of nuclear engineering circles, so you get post-apocalyptic novels where Ground-zero is uninhabitable for millennia afterword. Nope, doesn’t work that way.

  • Lori


    From what I’ve read of the Cold War-era Soviet Union, they really were
    that paranoid about America. Reagan’s jokes about bombing the “evil
    empire” weren’t funny to them; they took that as more evidence of our
    *real* attitudes and what we’d do to them if it looked like we could. 

    The Cold War was just brimming over with nasty ironies, and this is one of them. The USSR & the US were constantly “signalling” to each other, but the message received was often not the message that had been sent. The USSR often took the US seriously when we (mostly) weren’t. The US often failed to take the USSR seriously when they (kind of) were*. That lead to the legitimately terrifying reality of the fate of the world resting for decades on communication between 2 groups that consistently failed to understand each other correctly. 

    *For example, for years there were rumors that the USSR had a “dead man switch” on their nukes so that if enough of the country’s leadership was killed or incapacitated they’d launch automatically. Most of the people working on nuclear proliferation and such for the US dismissed the rumors as fear-mongering and prejudice. Obviously no one would actually do that and saying that the Soviets would was not helpful. You can see where this is going. There are serious questions about whether it would actually have worked, but after the fail of the USSR when the secrets started coming out people found that they really had tried to set up the system that way.

  • That’s true of most of the hijackings *before* 9-11 too (plus a lot of “special forces storm the plane and kill all the hijackers and half the passengers). Hijacking planes has never been a very successful occupation.

  • Dragoness Eclectic

     Actually, the car window glass will stop the UV from the blast, leaving you very dazzled but not permanently blinded.  Richard Feynman, the nuclear physicist, watched the Trinity nuclear test through his jeep’s window, reasoning that the windshield glass would protect him from the UV. He was correct.

  • Dragoness Eclectic

    Not surprising, since “Dr. Strangelove” appears to be a plot-point by plot-point parody of the novel “Fail-Safe”.

  • Münchner Kindl

    From what I’ve read of the Cold War-era Soviet Union, they really were that paranoid about America. Reagan’s jokes about bombing the “evil empire” weren’t funny to them; they took that as more evidence of our *real* attitudes and what we’d do to them if it looked like we could.

    Well, the Russians have some reason to be paranoid about invasions, looking at their history. Whereas Americans, who (aside from that skirmish in 1812) have never been invaded, come off simply as irrationally paranoid to an outside observer.
    In addition, the Soviets did have good reason to be afraid of the US doing crazy inhuman things given that the US had a history of doing such things. It wasn’t crazy of the Soviets to accuse the US of undermining the government of foreign countries or trying to kill leaders they didn’t like since the US had actually done that several times.

  • Lori


    In addition, the Soviets did have good reason to be afraid of the US
    doing crazy inhuman things given that the US had a history of doing such

    Totally unlike the Soviets themselves.

    It wasn’t crazy of the Soviets to accuse the US of undermining
    the government of foreign countries or trying to kill leaders they
    didn’t like since the US had actually done that several times.

    Again, something the Soviets never did and thus had every reason to fear.

    My eyes can not roll hard enough.

  • ISTR the usual rule of thumb is that if you want to be extra-careful, give the site about 30 years. That’s time for half of the neutron-activated beta emitters to decay, on average (mainly taking account of the cesium-137; if you don’t care about that one, then the sodium-22 and cobalt-60 are kinda your benchmarks which means after 5 years, you can move back on in if you’re willing to tolerate slightly higher background levels).

  • Donalbain

    Well, now Leah from Unequally Yoked is going to be blogging in that portal now. That is a shame because, I have made the decision that I cannot, in good conscience go to that channel while it is run by the Anchoress and while it hosts the hateful, vile things they say about gay people and women. I used to like reading Unequally Yoked, but sadly, it no longer exists for me. 

  • Mau de Katt

    Whereas Americans, who (aside from that skirmish in 1812) have never
    been invaded, come off simply as irrationally paranoid to an outside

    I have a friend who is a massive Second Amendment fan and gun-nut, and he invited me to a Project Appleseed shoot last Autumn.   (The program combines marksmanship training with Revolutionary War History lessons, specifically the history of the start of the Revolutionary War.)

    I don’t know if this is true or not, as I have not studied history enough to prove or disprove it, but I was told in complete earnestness that the only reason continental America has not been invaded by a foreign power (except in the aforementioned 1812) is that “everyone knows” that Americans love their guns and will not hesitate to use them should the sitation warrant it.  (Basically, any invading army “knows” they’ll be facing an armed and ready citizenry.)


  • And even there, the Wolverines were infiltrated by one of their own, forced to do so by the Soviets, and at least one of them died in a partisan skirmish in addition to the Wolverines executing the infiltrator. For all that the 2nd amendment fetishizers fantasize they’d be the heroes in their own narrative, that heroism would come at a pretty high cost.

  • LouisDoench

    Red Storm Rising begins with a Muslim terrorist bombing of the USSR’s largest oil refineries. With their domestic production destroyed, the Soviets launch a ground assault on Western Europe as a feint, hoping to sweep into the middle east and conquer Iraq and Iran with NATO occupied in Germany.

    I was a huge wargame geek at the time, and this was before Clancy became a parody of himself.

  • PJ Evans

    Probably not true.
    (It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with all the other major countries (except Canada) being at least an ocean away. And the US has only been a major world power since WW2. /s)

  • The ending was basically like “This was all over you needing oil? We would have sold you some!”

    That’s what kind of made it fall flat for me. That, and it felt like a less dramatic WIC:SA.

  • It was assumed that Boeing + Bangor Submarine Base = Seattle area gone.  

    Personally I think the Hanford Nuclear Reservation would’ve been a meatier target. 

  • Absolutely false.

    In order for the claim to have even the most distant, tenuous connection with being “true”, there’d have to have been even one enemy the USA has ever fought who was in a position to invade and then, magically, turned around and gone home and sued for peace instead.

    Who would that be?  The British?  Actually did invade.  The Mexicans?  As soon as they were at war with the USA, found themselves invaded from three directions, an invasion that didn’t let up until it took Mexico City, so no opportunity for them to mount an offensive of their own.  The Japanese?  Conspicuously failed to clear their invasion route of that pesky obstacle, the US Navy Pacific Fleet (not to mention having most of their manpower tied down in an invasion of China and South Asia).

    If your friend thinks the Soviets didn’t invade because they were afraid of gun-happy American patriots, he must presumably think that the USA didn’t invade the Soviet Union because we were similarly afraid of gun-happy Soviet commies?  I have to say, the threat of immediate nuclear holocaust seems a much more convincing deterrent to me.

    And any other credible threat (so, uh, Germany) had an ocean to cross before it could get to the USA, and no way of crossing that ocean.  The reason the USA has never been invaded is because it’s protected by the greatest moat the geology of Planet Earth could see fit to create.

  • The people I know in my generation (X) with jobs are people who started their own businesses, whether online or in meatspace. Everyone else is either going back to school or going from one temp job to another, hoping that this one will maybe lead to something permanent. 
    This sounds familiar. Tho I would amend “started their own businesses” with “or has degrees in computer science or engineering”.  But then I’m in Seattle. 

  • Joshua

    My eyes can not roll hard enough.

    Münchner Kindl made no statement concerning what the Soviets did or how it matches up against the USA’s foreign policy. You inferred one, she or he didn’t imply one.

    Your eyes are rolling at your own statements. I hope you enjoy the exercise, at least.

  • Tricksterson

    And nukes, don’t forget those.

  • Lori


    Münchner Kindl made no statement concerning what the Soviets did or how
    it matches up against the USA’s foreign policy. You inferred one, she or
    he didn’t imply one. 

    Foreign policy attitudes don’t exist in a vacuum.


    Your eyes are rolling at your own statements. I hope you enjoy the exercise, at least. 

    Yes, it was lovely. And now I’m enjoying it again.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Being the bitter cynic that I am, I have to wonder how many of the Brave Gunhaving Defenders of FREEDOM(tm) would happily sign up with the invaders if they were given the chance to lead their own death-squad.

    Other subjects brought up:  I currently work for a company that’s on Interklocken Crescent, off of Interlocken Boulevard, off of Interlocken Loop.  I think you can guess which company owns most of the real-estate around there…

    On post-apoc fantasies, they got summed up pretty well for me by this:  “After The Bomb, you won’t be Mad Max, you’ll be one of the skulls on the side of the road.”

  • As far as collaborationist attitudes go, I don’t know how much has been written about such things in past wars and occupations, but fictionally, collaborators have worked for occupying forces due to fear of superior firepower, or attracted by as banal a motivation as money.

  • The Military Channel ran a series of lesser-known WWII collaborators, and fear or money are pretty much the motivation in real life too, plus a fair number of the sorts who’ll jump on anything that gives them free rein to be bullies.

  • Mau de Katt


    If your friend thinks the Soviets didn’t invade because they were afraid of gun-happy American patriots, he must presumably think that the USA didn’t invade the Soviet Union because we were similarly afraid of gun-happy Soviet commies?

    Oh, but you see, unlike those Commies, America doesn’t  just go and invade anyone without just cause for… doing….



    …um, I got nothing.

  • Mau de Katt


    I currently work for a company that’s on Interlocken Crescent, off of Interlocken Boulevard, off of Interlocken Loop.

    Oh hey, another Front Ranger!  ::waves::  How many of us are there here in Slacktivist land?