Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Monsters of Our Own Making

I Live in Fear
movie poster
Last week's frightening discovery of an unexploded WWII-era bomb on the grounds of Japan's Sendai Airport highlights the lasting impact wars tend to have. That find and a similar one made earlier this year in Tokyo shouldn't come as such a big surprise given the sheer tonnage of explosives dropped on the country during the Second World War. Fifty eight percent of the city I now call home was destroyed by the fire and explosives that rained from the sky over half a century ago.

I sometimes think about that disturbing statistic and the possibility that some of those deadly devices might still be lying around here when I'm gingerly digging around in my half postage stamp-size garden (maybe I shouldn't call it a garden since nothing ever grows there). There is no escaping my fear. The problem of unexploded ordinance (a.k.a. UXO) extends to every corner of the earth that has seen a major military conflict and that covers a big part of the globe. The annual "iron harvest," the collection of unexploded mines and more that French and Belgian farmers turn up when they plow their fields each Spring, still yields all sorts of potentially deadly WWI-era surprises. As unbelievable as that may sound, it pales in comparison to the "Twelve Tales from the Nuclear Crypt." The tales are a collection of stories about Cold War-era nuclear bombs that have gone missing or worse, accidentally gone off, as told by Jeffry Lewis on the Foreign Policy website (read it there and beware).

The thought that these atomic monsters of our own making are out there, just waiting, is likely to send chills up and down anyone's spine on a night full of Halloween fright. It might even be enough to make you want to reach for the proverbial torch and pitchfork and try to finally put an end to the making of these monsters once and for all.

Related post: On the Wings of Cranes

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