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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Today Is A Special Day For You And I

I am three days late on this but better late then never...

Today is September 26th, Petrov Day, celebrated to honor the deed of Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov on September 26th, 1983.  Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, take a minute to not destroy the world.

The story begins on September 1st, 1983, when Soviet jet interceptors shot down a Korean Air Lines civilian airliner after the aircraft crossed into Soviet airspace and then, for reasons still unknown, failed to respond to radio hails. 269 passengers and crew died, including US Congressman Lawrence McDonald. Ronald Reagan called it "barbarism", "inhuman brutality", "a crime against humanity that must never be forgotten". Note that this was already a very, very poor time for US/USSR relations. Andropov, the ailing Soviet leader, was half-convinced the US was planning a first strike. The KGB sent a flash message to its operatives warning them to prepare for possible nuclear war...

There can be no question that his decision has been a key event in human history.

If another man was on duty that day, who would not have had his presence of mind, he would have given the launch order.

There is no use starting a nuclear war with just 5 missiles. The Russians would have deployed all their war heads at once. This in turn would have triggered the Americans to launch all their war heads.

Even an event on that scale would have a hard time wiping out -all- of humanity, but there can be no doubt that thousands of targets would have been hit. The devastation would have been unimaginable. Even a small disaster easily overwhelms a society's means to respond. This would be cataclysmic.

Western civilization would have been severely reduced or destroyed outright.

There are very few moments in history where the actions of a single man have such far-reaching consequences.

Stanislav Petrov is a man for the ages.

And Jesus Christ the Son of Man for all Eternity.

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