Tensions, Escalation, Launch-on-Warning, & Free Will
Got a call tonight as I was driving to my weekend.
"Are you crazy?"
"Often," I replied. "Why do you ask?"
"It's that latest Vanderboegh material. He's gone General Ripper and launched the wing, trying to force others on this side to jump in after him."
"What do you mean?"
"When he is stomping on Knox, he says:
You fool. You don't have to agree with us. In fact, we're counting on your type folding at the first shock. People don't AGREE on revolution, they are FORCED into it by events. And there are enough of my kind, the three percent, to create the events. Have you learned nothing from history? It is made by determined minorities. We may be a minority but we are determined. If you want to hang onto ANY of your guns or other liberties, you will HAVE to fight. We will make sure of that.
"Dude, when he says 'you will HAVE to fight - we will make sure of it', you're gonna try and tell me he doesn't intend to provoke something as a 'kick-off'?"
That's the fundamental danger when two mortal enemies are facing each other.
Whether it's across the 38th parallel, the Berlin Wall at Checkpoint Charlie, or a thousand nameless waypoints under the sea and across the sky, tensions and the prospect of imminent escalation caused front-line actors on both sides to move their fingers closer to their weapons' safeties.
Ditto for those who eyeball each other across the electoral and constitutional chasm.
As the US/USSR confrontations progressed during the Cold War, both sides were most concerned with avoiding the loss of their weapons to a preemptive strike. This reciprocal fear caused both sides to consider (and some say, implement) a policy of "launch on warning", whereby nuclear weapons systems would be launched as soon as a probable enemy attack was detected.
Not good, especially given the false warnings given by the alert systems of both combatants.
That's where the little toy pictured above comes in.
That's the Davy Crockett, a dialable-yield fission weapon yielding from 10 to 250 tons TNT equivalent, which, depending on configuration, would be launched from either a 106mm or a 155mm recoilless rifle.
The range of the weapon system was from 1.25 miles for the light 106mm version up to 2.5 miles for the 155mm heavy variant.
Yes - that's right: the Davy Crockett required its operators to launch and detonate a fission device of up to 250 tons TNT explosive force within no more than two-and-a-half miles of their position.
Whatever tactical victory would be achieved by the Davy Crockett's use would be utterly Pyrrhic for its crew.
It simply was the wrong weapon for its intended use, just as a preemptive strike by either side would have brought only catastrophe, thanks to launch-on-warning.
"Well, amigo, Mike's a big boy. You ask him what he meant by that paragraph. Leave a note on the blog and ask. He'll answer. But I can tell you something we discussed the last time we broke bread."
"As we were wrapping up dinner, Mike was discussing Mr. Lincoln's war, and how the Confederacy got caught up in their own propaganda right at the start. They fell into the trap posed by Fort Sumter, and history remembers only that the evil Confederates started the War Between the States when they fired the first shot at Fort Sumter."
"Mike kept saying, 'No Fort Sumters, no Fort Sumters'. Kinda frosted me, as I had just recited my corruption of Niemoller..."
"Yup, I must. 'First they came for Celata, but I didn't do anything, because I wasn't a machinist. Then they came for Fincher, but I didn't do anything, because I didn't own machine guns and I was savvy enough to know that the Second Amendment was already dead. Then they came for Olofson, but I didn't do anything, because my semiautomatic rifles don't misfire - much. Then they came for me, and Knox, Sebastian, et al did nothing, because I was one of those SNBI radical troublemakers and, according to them, I had it coming.'"
"What was Mike's response?"
"He just kept saying, 'No Fort Sumters, no Fort Sumters'."
"But that damned paragraph...."
"Listen, amigo, we're all free men. We all have free will. We each have a point of no return. And it's not like the collectivists don't have their knives a-sharpening. When those knives come out in a little bit, it'll be real exciting for everyone. But if I can stretch the Cold War metaphor one more time...."
"Yes, I must.....I think there's a whole lot of clear-thinking, competent Americans just holding at the fail-safe point, weapons ready, not going home and not heading in....just waiting."
"And there's more arriving on station each day."
"You bet. And Mike Vanderboegh ain't LeMay or the NCA. He's just a scribbler, to use his term. But those Americans, waiting at the fail-safe point - they're very real and very independent. And they're very, very concerned."
"You be careful."
"You too, amigo."
You be careful as well, dear readers.
Enjoy the weekend.