Alas, Babylon Reflective Essay
Alas, Babylon. It’s the survival of the fittest. People are vulnerable, willing to do anything just to make the cut. In desperation, they fight, mug, steal, and even murder. Albeit there is a justifiable reason for these insane actions, does it make it right? The behavior of the Soviet Union has caused American citizens to go insane, and as a result, their actions make one community question America’s existence.
The setting is Fort Repose, Florida, in the 1950s. It is the antithesis of a perfect world. After threatening many times, the Soviet Union has nuclear bombed the United States, but what exactly does that mean? First of all, nuclear power is an electric or motive power generated by a nuclear reactor. Nuclear power has the ability to generate electricity for a whole population, or when created into a bomb, destroy anything in its’ path. It is a potential juggernaut. Imagine a beautiful morning on a spring day, everything perfectly normal. All of a sudden, a very bright light shocks you, one that could possibly blind somebody. After the bright light, next comes the fireball, which is literally a ball of fire. This fireball will burn everything it comes in contact with, causing everything it touches to turn to ash. The heat from the explosion and fireball will be so excruciatingly hot; someone could feel it from miles away. Next, the fireball will rise up, bringing tiny particles like dust and rocks up into the air, shattering them. The now larger fireball will next create a shock wave. Shock waves are high intensity waves that can do the unimaginable. They can topple a stalwart, concrete building, pick up and throw school busses, and even pull a tree right out of the ground. But that’s not all a nuclear bomb does. When a nuclear bomb goes off, it sends out Gamma Rays. Gamma Rays cannot travel far, but everything they touch turns into radioactive material. Everything containing radioactive material is deadly, and anybody who comes in contact with it will die eventually. As the fireball continues to rise, it will create a mushroom-like cloud up in the air. As the cloud forms in a matter of milliseconds, it will carry all of the radioactive materials up with it. As the mushroom cloud starts to fade, it will drop all of the particles back down towards the ground. As the fireball spreads out, it will get weaker. Then, eventually, it will become just a strong wind, slowly fading out until it is gone. This is what happened to Fort Repose, Florida. A select few people knew that the attack was coming, so they prepared as much as they could in advance. As for the rest of the community, none of them believed the rumors. They suffered the consequences, such as radiation poisoning, the depletion of resources to survive, and eventually death.
Today, there are more than two dozen countries that have nuclear power, but only a few have nuclear weapons. The United States is one of those few who have such weapons. At any time, with the push of a button, we could attack any country in the world. If this were to happen and we had a nuclear war, the world as we know it would be non-existent. Albeit a select few countries have the nuclear weapons, these are enough to destroy the world.
I believe that this novel executed the effects of nuclear bombing very realistically. If the United States were ever to get nuclear bombed, it would be very similar to what happened in the book. Everything in sight would be destroyed, turned into ash. The towns that did survive would have limited numbers of the basic necessities for survival. Eventually, we would run out of food, gas would be completely consumed and as a result there would be no ways to have power for things such a furnaces, electronics, automobiles, ect. Medicine would be in huge demand, and it would eventually run out. Communication with the outside world would be no more. People would lose their sanity and do the unthinkable. They steal, mug people, and even murder people. Sometimes if the stress is too much, they will commit suicide.
One country’s actions have the power to disrupt the way of life in a different country half way across the globe. People suffer the consequences of an action as simple as the push of a button, which has disastrous results. Who will be the survival of the fittest?