Subj: a rational look at the threats
Date: 10/18/01 12:47:15 PM Pacific Daylight Time

do your country a favor...instead of reacting to the psy-ops media hype,
proact and stay cool...

don't be informed and prepared...

unlike the u.s. congress...



The "Real" Deal about Nuclear, Bio, and Chem Attacks
by SFC Red Thomas (Ret)

Since the media has decided to scare everyone with predictions of
chemical, biological, or nuclear warfare on our turf I decided to write
a paper and keep things in their proper perspective. I am a retired
military weapons, munitions, and training expert.

Lesson number one: In the mid 1990's there were a series of nerve gas
attacks on crowded Japanese subway stations. Given perfect conditions
for an attack less than 10% of the people there were injured (the
injured were better in a few hours) and only one percent
of the injured died. 60 Minutes once had a fellow telling us that one
drop of nerve gas could kill a thousand people, well he didn't tell you
the thousand dead people per drop was theoretical.

Drill Sergeants exaggerate how terrible this stuff was to keep the
recruits awake in class (I know this because I was a Drill Sergeant

Forget everything you've ever seen on TV, in the movies, or read in a
novel about this stuff, it was all a lie (read this sentence again out

These weapons are about terror, if you remain calm, you will probably
not die. This is far less scary than the media and their "Experts," make
it sound.

Chemical weapons are categorized as Nerve, Blood, Blister, and
Incapacitating agents Contrary to the hype of reporters and politicians
they are not weapons of mass destruction they are "Area denial," and
terror weapons that don't destroy anything. When you leave the area you
almost always leave the risk. That's the difference; you can leave the
area and the risk; soldiers may have to stay put and sit through it and
that's why they need all that spiffy gear.

These are not gasses, they are vapors and/or air borne particles. The
agent must be delivered in sufficient quantity to kill/injure, and that
defines when/how it's used. Every day we have a morning and evening
inversion where "stuff," suspended in the air gets pushed
down. This inversion is why allergies (pollen) and air pollution are
worst at these times of the day.

So, a chemical attack will have it's best effect an hour of so either
side of sunrise/sunset.  Also, being vapors and airborne particles they
are heavier than air so they will seek low places like ditches,
basements and underground garages. This stuff won't work when it's
freezing, it doesn't last when it's hot, and wind spreads it too thin
too fast. They've got to get this stuff on you, or, get you to inhale it
for it to work. They also have to get the concentration of chemicals
high enough to kill or wound you. Too little and it's nothing, too much
and it's wasted.

What I hope you've gathered by this point is that a chemical weapons
attack that kills a lot of people is incredibly hard to do with military
grade agents and equipment so you can imagine how hard it will be for

The more you know about this stuff the more you realize how hard it is
to use.

We'll start by talking about nerve agents. You have these in your house,
plain old bug killer (like Raid) is nerve agent. All nerve agents work
the same way; they are cholinesterase inhibitors that mess up the
signals your nervous system uses to make your
body function. It can harm you if you get it on your skin but it works
best if they can get you to inhale it. If you don't die in the first
minute and you can leave the area you're probably gonna live. The
military's antidote for all nerve agents is atropine and
pralidoxime chloride. Neither one of these does anything to cure the
nerve agent, they send your body into overdrive to keep you alive for
five minutes, after that the agent is used up. Your best protection is
fresh air and staying calm. Listed below are the symptoms for nerve
agent poisoning.

Sudden headache, Dimness of vision (someone you're looking at will have
pinpointed pupils), Runny nose, Excessive saliva or drooling, Difficulty
breathing, Tightness in chest, Nausea, Stomach cramps, Twitching of
exposed skin where a liquid just got on you.

If you are in public and you start experiencing these symptoms, first
ask yourself, did anything out of the ordinary just happen, a loud pop,
did someone spray something on the crowd? Are other people getting sick

Is there an odor of new mown hay, green corn, something fruity, or
camphor where it shouldn't be?

If the answer is yes, then calmly (if you panic you breathe faster and
inhale more air/poison) leave the area and head up wind, or, outside.
Fresh air is the best "right now antidote". If you have a blob of liquid
that looks like molasses or Kayro syrup on you; blot
it or scrape it off and away from yourself with anything disposable.
This stuff works based on your body weight, what a crop duster uses to
kill bugs won't hurt you unless you stand there and breathe it in real
deep, then lick the residue off the ground for while. Remember they have
to do all the work, they have to get the concentration up and keep it up
for several minutes while all you have to do is quit getting it on
you/quit breathing it by putting space between you and the attack.

Blood agents are cyanide or arsine which effect your blood's ability to
provide oxygen to your tissue. The scenario for attack would be the same
as nerve agent. Look for a pop or someone splashing/spraying something
and folks around there getting woozy/falling down.  The telltale smells
are bitter almonds or garlic where it shouldn't be. The symptoms are
blue lips, blue under the fingernails, rapid breathing. The military's
antidote is amyl nitride and just like nerve agent antidote it just
keeps your body working for five minutes till the toxins are used up.
Fresh air is the your best individual chance. Blister agents (distilled
mustard) are so nasty that nobody wants to even handle it let alone use
it. It's almost impossible to handle safely and may have delayed effect
of up to 12 hours. The attack scenario is also limited to the things
you'd see from other chemicals. If you do get large, painful blisters
for no apparent reason, don't pop them, if you must, don't let the
liquid from the blister get on any other area, the stuff just keeps on
spreading. It's just as likely to harm the user as the target. Soap,
water, sunshine, and fresh air are this stuff's enemy.

Bottom line on chemical weapons (it's the same if they use industrial
chemical spills); they are intended to make you panic, to terrorize you,
to herd you like sheep to the wolves. If there is an attack, leave the
area and go upwind, or to the sides of the wind stream. They have to get
the stuff to you, and on you. You're more likely to be hurt by a drunk
driver on any given day than be hurt by one of these attacks. Your odds
get better if you leave the area. Soap, water, time, and fresh air
really deal this stuff a knock_out_punch. Don't let fear of an isolated
attack rule your life. The odds are really on your side.

Nuclear bombs. These are the only weapons of mass destruction on earth.
The effects of a nuclear bomb are heat, blast, EMP, and radiation. If
you see a bright flash of light like the sun, where the sun isn't, fall
to the ground!

The heat will be over a second. Then there will be two blast waves, one
out going, and one on it's way back. Don't stand up to see what happened
after the first wave; anything that's going to happen will have happened
in two full minutes.

These will be low yield devices and will not level whole cities. If you
live through the heat, blast, and initial burst of radiation, you'll
probably live for a very very long time.

Radiation will not create fifty foot tall women, or giant ants and grass
hoppers the size of tanks. These will be at the most 1 kiloton bombs;
that's the equivalent of 1,000 tons of TNT.

Here's the real deal, flying debris and radiation will kill a lot of
exposed (not all!) people within a half mile of the blast. Under perfect
conditions this is about a half mile circle of death and destruction,
but, when it's done it's done. EMP stands for Electro Magnetic Pulse and
it will fry every electronic device for a good distance, it's impossible
to say what and how far but probably not over a couple of miles from
ground zero is a good guess. Cars, cell phones, computers, ATMs, you
name it, all will be out of order.

There are lots of kinds of radiation, you only need to worry about
three, the others you have lived with for years. You need to worry about
"Ionizing radiation," these are little subatomic particles that go
whizzing along at the speed of light. They hit individual cells in
your body, kill the nucleus and keep on going. That's how you get
radiation poisoning, you have so many dead cells in your body that the
decaying cells poison you. It's the same as people getting radiation
treatments for cancer, only a bigger area gets radiated. The good news
is you don't have to just sit there and take it, and there's lots you
can do rather than panic. First; your skin will stop alpha particles, a
page of a news paper or your clothing will stop beta particles, you just
gotta try and avoid inhaling dust that's contaminated with atoms that
are emitting these things and you'll be generally safe from them.

Gamma rays are particles that travel like rays (quantum physics makes my
brain hurt) and they create the same damage as alpha and beta particles
only they keep going and kill lots of cells as they go all the way
through your body. It takes a lot to stop these things, lots of dense
material, on the other hand it takes a lot of this to kill you.

Your defense is as always to not panic. Basic hygiene and normal
preparation are your friends. All canned or frozen food is safe to eat.
The radiation poisoning will not effect plants so fruits and vegetables
are OK if there's no dust on em (rinse em off if there is). If you don't
have running water and you need to collect rain water or use water from
wherever, just let it sit for thirty minutes and skim off the water
gently from the top. The dust with the bad stuff in it will settle and
the remaining water can be used for the toilet which will still work if
you have a bucket of water to pour in the tank.

Finally there's biological warfare. There's not much to cover here.
Basic personal hygiene and sanitation will take you further than a
million doctors. Wash your hands often, don't share drinks, food, sloppy
kisses, etc., ... with strangers. Keep your garbage can with a tight lid
on it, don't have standing water (like old buckets, ditches, or kiddie
pools) laying around to allow mosquitoes reeding room. This stuff is
carried by vectors, that is bugs, rodents, and contaminated material. If
biological warfare is so easy as the TV makes it
sound, why has Saddam Hussein spent twenty years, millions, and millions
of dollars trying to get it right? If you're clean of person and home
you eat well and are active you're gonna live.

Overall preparation for any terrorist attack is the same as you'd take
for a big storm. If you want a gas mask, fine, go get one. I know this
stuff and I'm not getting one and I told my Mom not to bother with one
either (how's that for confidence). We have a week's
worth of cash, a good supply of food and and plenty of soap and water.
We don't leave stuff out to attract bugs or rodents so we don't have
them. An alternate (bug-out) location is also a plus if you have the

These people can't destroy a nation this big with this many resources.
These weapons are made to cause panic, terror, and to demoralize. If we
don't run around like sheep they won't use this stuff after they find
out it's no fun. You've only gotta protect yourself, and by doing that,
you help the country.

Finally, there are millions of caveats to everything I wrote here and
you can think up specific scenarios where my advice isn't the best. This
letter is supposed to help the greatest number of people under the
greatest number of situations. If you don't like my
work, don't nit pick, just sit down and explain chemical, nuclear, and
biological warfare in a document around three pages long yourself. This
is how we the people of the United States can rob these people of their
most desired goal, your terror.

SFC Red Thomas (Ret)
Armor Master Gunner
Mesa, AZ

Unlimited reproduction and distribution is authorized. Just give me
credit for my work, and,
keep in context.

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