Back in the day, schoolchildren routinely practiced a drill that was said to protect us from tornadoes. We all knew it was to protect us from the Bomb.
And even at that age, I knew huddling under a desk with my arms covering my head was no protection at all from fallout, supposing we survived the initial blast.
The Cold War went on until we all got used to it and the drills gradually stopped except for fire drills, which meant going outside for a few minutes, a welcome break in the day.
There were wars–Korea, Vietnam–but we had little to fear on our own home ground. The wars took place across the world, and all we knew of them were headlines in the newspapers. Television coverage was new and brought the carnage into our living rooms, but it still didn’t touch us.
Oh, there were the promised hurricanes and tornadoes, but the death toll was relatively light. Even if in the hundreds there were still fewer deaths than an average day of fatalities caused by shootings or distracted drivers.
So we felt safe. Just last Sunday I remarked to a friend that we were blessed to be able to worship without fear of someone joining us with a suicide vest strapped to his chest.
Then the bomb. The first one killed our own allies. The second, called the Mother of All Bombs, sounds like something from Doctor Strangelove.
And it was not “they” who unleashed the dogs of war, it was us.
Now we fear the fallout from a people who believe in the Old Testament warning of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Some of these enemies have nuclear power and are prepared to use it.
Churches across the country this Easter morning, as we ponder the miracle of the Resurrection, have heightened security in anticipation and fear of reprisal.
Will the schools also heighten security against suicide bombers? Will they hold drills in case of nuclear retaliation?
I don’t think the latter will happen. We are wiser now, and know that huddling under a desk won’t save our children.
This Easter Sunday, pray for our leaders and for an end to this insanity.