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It's Time To Get Serious
It's War And We'd Better Get Used To It
Israel - Middle East
Wednesday, November 07, 2001
Jack Kinsella - Omega Letter Editor

We are almost a month into the shooting war against the al-Qaeda network and Osama bin-Laden. And several weeks into the bombing of Afghanistan, we are finding that things aren't going as smoothly as most of us had expected. I find in talking with people that, unless you either knew somebody at the Trade Center or the Pentagon, or knows somebody who has contracted anthrax, it all still seems distant. Most understand we are in a war at the intellectual level, but haven't quite gotten that gut feeling about it yet. To those not yet personally affected, this war is like most other wars, perilous, expensive and inconvenient, but at the level where we live and work, not really dangerous.

The anthrax attacks have given us a sense of danger, but still, unless you got an anthrax laced letter or your mail is handled by a postal facility that did, it remains a distant thunder. The government is going out of its way to keep the sound of that thunder as distant as possible.

It's a sound strategy. Panic is the last thing we need at this point. But preventing panic at the expense of providing a true picture of the situation is not the way to go either. The government is protecting us from ourselves, repeating Roosevelt's mantra over and over. You know the one -- "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." That was accurate when Roosevelt intoned it in 1941. But this is 2001 and we have more to fear than fear.

There are chemical weapons attacks, poisons in our water supply, anthrax in the mail, car bombs, truck bombs, airplane hijackings, crop dusters, bioterror bombs [like a suicide terrorist taking a cross country trip infected with smallpox or plague], the potential for a nuclear strike and the very real possibility of a radiological bomb.

In addition, there is the possibility of an EMP bomb. EMP stands for Electro Magnetic Pulse. An EMP bomb could be built for as little as $400 using parts from the local Radio Shack, with maybe a side trip to Tru Value Hardware [cause Radio Shack never seems to have everything you need when you need it] but nobody needs to sneak into the country smuggling weapons. An EMP bomb doesn't even explode; it just sends out a pulse that fries every electrical chip, board and circuit in its blast radius.

An EMP weapon detonated near a power generating plant could darken a city. Any vehicles, computers, computer equipment, electric can openers, TV sets, radios, [what else uses electric circuitry to operate?] within that radius would NEVER work again.

It's time to get serious, but that doesn't mean its time to panic. Panic will not only hand a victory to the terrorists, it could get somebody killed. But not panicking is not the same is pretending everything is fine and there is nothing to prepare for. An all out attack with some or all of the potential weapons mentioned above could decimate the population. Millions could lose their lives. Sound dramatic? Hundreds being killed in a single attack sounded dramatic before the Oklahoma City bombing. And Americans fell into the mind-set that it was only a fluke that wouldn't happen again now that Timothy McVeigh met his fate in Terre Haute.

The idea of thousands being killed in an instant somewhere in America sounded over-dramatic on September 10. In both these cases, those who died were killed without warning, and there was nothing anybody could have done in advance to minimize the carnage.

But that was then and this is now. There is still very little anybody could do in the event of a chemical attack by a crop duster. You can't run and hide in a sealed room every time you see a small aircraft overhead. Or put on an enviro-suit [if you had one] or a gas mask [which likely wouldn't do any good].

But there are some practical things all of us can and should do to protect ourselves and our families from at least some of the potential dangers. This isn't spreading panic, it is just common sense.

If a bioterrorist infected with smallpox or plague sneezes on you, you won't know you are infected until the symptoms show up, and by then its too late anyway. Smallpox and plague are incurable.

There is a smallpox vaccine, but it is only effective for four or five days after infection. By the time symptoms appear, it is too late. Both these diseases have a fatality rate of about thirty percent. Coming within six feet of someone who is a carrier is close enough to contract it.

What you can do is have enough provisions to be able to 'lock down' for a week or two. In the event of a smallpox outbreak, it is likely a vaccine will make it to your area within that time frame. If you aren't infected, then the vaccine can ensure you won't be. But only if you can avoid being exposed.

In a recent government simulation, three people infected with smallpox were able to spread the disease to 25 states and 15 countries in a two week period, killing 2600 and infecting 13,000. It moves quickly.

If you hear of a smallpox or plague case in your area, there's a chance you've already been exposed. But there's an equal chance you haven't. I've called a meeting of my family members to discuss this possibility. Here is what we came up with.

1) Have adequate provisions in designated 'safe houses' for 1-2 weeks.

2) As soon as there is a reported case of the disease, head for the designated safe house and ride it out inside, away from the general population, until a vaccine is available in your area.

And, this is the hard part.

3) Don't let anybody in. No matter who it is, if they have come from an area where they are likely to have contracted the disease, they are carriers. And they will carry it right in to your safe house.

Within a week or two, if you are able to avoid infection, there will be some idea of what measures public health officials have come up with for inoculations.

Having a week's worth of provisions will also give you time to assess the strategic situation in the event of an EMP attack, or a radiological bomb attack or any one of a dozen other situations.

As I said, there is no need to panic. There is never a need to panic. But we need to realize that this is war, and that the dangers are entirely real. Being Christians does not mean we needn't take reasonable precautions, just as we would for a major snowstorm or a hurricane. Christians are no different than anybody else in this regard.

But we also need to pray. We need to pray for the protection of our leaders. We need to pray for the salvation of the lost. We need to pray for the safety of our families.

We are living in the last days, but we are not in the Tribulation. However, I believe that we are very close. During the Tribulation, a quarter of humanity is lost to plagues and disease.

But America is a mere 5% of the population. There is no Scripture that says Christians won't fall victim to the first biological war of the 21st century, or that the Rapture will happen first. Only that it will happen before the 21 judgments that befall the earth during the Tribulation period itself.

Where America fits into the end times' scenario is anybody's guess, because the Scripture does not mention America. It may be because of the Rapture. Or it may be because of a war that so decimates our nation that we have no significant role to play.

But because the Rapture is coming does not mean Christians needn't be prepared for the eventuality that war might come to us first. Christians prepare every day for the days ahead like everybody else does.

That's why we go to work, to ensure there is food on the table and roof over our heads a month from now. That's why we save, to ensure we are able to provide for ourselves during retirement. That's why we have medical checkups, to ensure we can maintain our health. There is nothing unScriptural about preparing for the worst and praying for the best. It's just common sense.

This is not the time to panic. There is never a time to panic. No matter what, we remain in the Lord's care. He told us what would happen in the last days so that we could know He is still on the Throne and all continues to go according to Divine Plan.

But it is time to get serious.

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