A Mother Thinks About Nuclear Survival – Jenny Hatch Newsmax Column from 2001
Aaron Titus came over to our house with his son for Pauls Scout troop on Wednesday. His book How to Prepare for EVERYTHING is just about ready for publication and I asked him if I could interview him for a blog post!
He was the Mormon Helping Hands coordinator during Hurricane Sandy and is a member of my ward. He is also brilliantly sharing the good news on preparedness.
This is a replay of a column written in 2001. It has been getting some traffic lately, no doubt from the tensions around North Korea.
A couple of weeks after 9-11 in 2001, I contacted Christopher Ruddy of Newsmax and asked if he would be interested in an article on Nuclear Survival. Because the Iran Nuclear threat has escalated this past week, I thought it would be a timely thing to share the article with my Blog readers and explain why I wrote it the way I did.
Chris wrote back and said he would love to publish something from me. I told him I would do it for free and I spent the next few days writing the piece.
I prayed and asked Heavenly Father to help me write something effective, that would cause people to think, but more importantly motivate those who read it to get out of that psychologically stuck place most of America seems to be in right now regarding nuclear bombs, and move past the terror into a place of proactive preparations.
I suppose it might be helpful for those of you reading this to understand a little of my history in regards to nuclear war. My Dad sold Bomb Shelters when he was in college in the fifties. He learned the facts about nuclear war, and although he did not sell too many shelters as a salesman, he was not filled with the hype that seemed to permeate our culture during the sixties. This hype, the fruits of which we still see today, has taught America that nuclear war is not survivable, so there is no point in trying to get prepared.
During the early 80’s when I was a teen, my Dad purchased a home that had a crawl space that he set up as a shelter. He filled it with water, food, and supplies, and even looked into getting a radiation meter. Somehow a Detroit paper heard about his preparations and did a story on our family. I had several friends at school mention seeing the article to me, which included a picture of our family sitting in our “bomb shelter”. I was upset that we were perceived as kooky to some of our neighbors and friends.
Earlier when I was eleven, he had tossed around the idea of us moving to the country and building an earth ship home, and learning how to live off the land. My mother said “no way, no how” was she moving, and so he let the idea go.
As a teen I would occasionally have nightmares about nuclear war. These dreams were vivid and very frightening. I always woke up feeling afraid, and once in a while I would share my fears with my Father. He once told me that we did not have to live in fear. We just had to keep the commandments and whether we were part of the Kingdom of God in this life or in the life beyond that was the most important thing. I took his words to heart.
Our church has been very proactive in teaching the members Provident Living Skills and Principles. It was a natural progression for me to leave my parents home and immediately begin similar preparations in my own home with my husband. I was only married a few months before I began storing water and setting up our 72 hour kit.
When my husband received a bonus during the first year of our marriage, I asked him if we could spend the money on an electric wheat grinder and a supply of wheat. He wanted to purchase baby furniture as we were expecting our first baby. With that first purchase a pattern was started of food storage being the first thing we bought whenever we had any extra money.
We have been married 18 years and finally have a years supply of the basic foods for survival. I have taught classes in food storage and provident living since 1993 and I was motivated to learn childbirth self sufficiency skills because of my belief that the day may come when we simply will not have the luxury of going to a hospital to give birth.
About ten years ago I purchased Cresson Kearny’s book Nuclear War survival skills (which is available online in its entirety) to fully acquaint myself with the facts of nuclear war survival. I have studied certain chapters of this book numerous times, and I have fully read the book three times through. This education coupled with the many classes I have taught over the years have convinced me that one of the main things that has to be overcome in American Civil Defense is simply learning the facts versus the myths of nuclear war. I also watched as various people in my life went from complete denial of the reality of nuclear war, to accepting it was a possibility, to then getting prepared for it.
This process took some people years of psychological growth and development to mature to the point where they were willing to prepare. Others were much more accepting of the need to prepare, and moved quickly from the denial of reality to preparation stage. After years of observation, I have learned that pregnant women have the absolute most difficult time accepting the reality of nuclear bombs going off in America.
Yet this denial or reality on the part of young mothers does not mean that they are not being affected by the state of our world. Because of my mental health challenges, I have studied quite a bit about post partum psychosis. One of the common themes of psychosis is the terrorizing of nuclear threats.
I believe strongly that for the American People to be fully prepared we need to educate our people, not only on the facts of nuclear war (The learning of which helps to dispel fear), but also on the effect terror and trauma have on our minds. While I was in a psychotic state in 1989, I believed I was living through a nuclear war, and actually hallucinated nuclear bombs going off all around me. I have read about many women having this same experience while they were in psychosis.
Part of my healing from this experience has been to simply prepare for it. Mental illness has been described as someone feeling completely out of control. And mental wellness is directly coordinated to ones ability to feel in control of their own lives. For me, learning about nuclear war and getting prepared for it have been the absolute best psychological preparation. It also helped to heal me of the terror I felt when thinking of the reality of weapons of mass destruction.
I wrote that Newsmax piece with all of these thoughts in my mind, and with the hope that the words would simply help those who read it move from terror to proactive preparation. The most gratifying thing to me, and this is the power of the internet, is simply that so many people have read it over the past four years. When you google nuclear survival “A mother thinks about nuclear survival” still comes out in the top ten. Which tells me people are reading it, sharing it, and I hope and pray, being influenced by it.
Here is the article in its entirety, compliments of newsmax…
A Mother Thinks About Nuclear Survival
Saturday, Nov. 17, 2001
If a nuclear bomb were to go off somewhere in North America, I don’t think my life would change much. As a wife and mother, my life revolves around my kitchen, dishes and laundry. I don’t believe my daily work would be so very different after an attack.
Upon hearing of the bombing, I would call my husband and ask him to immediately gather up the children from school. When my family arrived home, we would walk down to our basement, where we would resume living indoors, sheltered from fallout.
How would we live if the power and water were off and nuclear radiation was in the air? We would start by praying, and asking Father in Heaven for his protecting hand to be upon our family, our nation, local and national leaders, and guide us to know what to do for personal safety.
We would give each child a potassium iodide tablet. And continue giving them one every day for two weeks, to protect their little thyroid glands from radiation poisoning. My husband and I would also take these protective pills.
We have a couple of 55-gallon drums filled with clean water stored in our basement. (One gallon per person per day provides drinking, bathing and dish/laundry water.) I have a bottle of pure bleach on hand to purify this water (16 drops per gallon of water) and also a water pitcher purifier that could be used to pull more contaminants out of the water.
Water from hot water heaters, cisterns on the backs of toilets, and waterbeds could also supply gallons of water to drink, bathe or wash with.
For food we have a three-day supply of crackers, peanut butter, protein bars, just-add-water dried soups, and boxed drinks. This food is contained in our 72-hour kits. These kits are in backpacks that could quickly be transported to our car, or carried on foot, in case of an evacuation from our home.
In these kits we have important documents, cash, water, a change of clothing, hiking boots for each family member, toiletries, radio, sleeping bags, tent, first aid kit, candles, gas masks, and our shotgun and ammo.
If we were in our basement shelter for the two weeks after any nuclear event, or longer depending on the state of the nation, I would immediately start sprouting wheat for a wheat grass operation. Wheat grass juice is a cheap and natural way to cleanse the body of pollution. Radiation in the body is quickly flushed out of the cells when wheat grass juice is consumed.
A few drops of wheat grass juice mixed in dirty water also has a purifying effect and could be used if one ran out of bleach to cleanse foul drinking water.
We have wheat, oats and beans stored in #10 cans. We also have a Dutch oven and a supply of charcoal for hot meals of cracked wheat cereal, bean soup or sprouted grain casserole. We have rounded out these foods with a supply of olive oil, salt, powdered milk and honey.
Cooking would be difficult in the basement, with the smoke from the charcoal making it hard to breathe, but we could live quite well on sprouted grains. Raw oatmeal soaked overnight and eaten with honey in the morning would satisfy. Hunger would prompt the picky eater to partake of these simple foods.
A day in our shelter would include morning prayers/scripture reading, followed by a meal of cracked wheat soaked in water overnight. We would hold school for our four children using the many books and materials we have gathered over the years to enrich their education. We would feed our dog the food we have stored for her in case of emergency.
A bucket lined with a black garbage bag would serve as a toilet. Mulch or sawdust thrown into this bag after each use would help to contain odors and dry the waste for later disposal.
If the children became bored, we have a shelf full of board games and books, and we could sew, do crafts, prepare the next meal, or nap. We would have a daily session of exercise to stretch and flex our muscles and calm our nerves.
We would sing songs with our guitar to uplift spirits and help the children overcome fear. We would quietly listen to our radio on a limited basis, so as not to overwhelm the children with too much bad news.
If one of the children became sick, we have a variety of remedies on hand to help with illness. We love aromatherapy and a good-quality essential oil would help to elevate moods, enhance natural wellness, and scent the air with beautiful aromas.
We also have a supply of homeopathic remedies, herbs, vitamins and minerals to boost our immune systems and aid in wellness. Even if the government ran out of vaccines and antibiotics we would feel safe using the natural healing. We would not have to worry about horrible side effects from strong medicines if we used our natural remedies.
To bathe we would fill a handheld sprayer with water, a liquid soap and essential oils and do a daily cleansing of the skin. Baby wipes could be used to cleanse private areas of the body to help control odor and prevent the spread of disease.
To cleanse the air in our basement we would fill a spray bottle with water and a few drops of essential oils and spray the air several times a day. This activity would quickly saturate the air with ozone and negative ions to cleanse it of contaminants.
If I were expecting a new baby, preparations for a quiet home birth would give comfort that all would be well with me and the new baby should the birth occur during a crisis.
A few La Leche League meetings could supply me with needed information on how to breastfeed. This information would help us to care for our baby during any crisis, without the help of a midwife or doctor.
Whenever I try to imagine giving birth during a war, I always think of the movie “Gone with the Wind,” the birth scene with Melanie in labor and Scarlet frantically looking for someone to help. When the doctor was finally located, he told her, with a sort of crazed look in his eye, “This is war, people are dying, there is nothing to bringing a baby.”
Although Melanie had a difficult birth in the movie, both she and the baby survived despite Scarlet and Prissy “not knowin’ nothin’ ’bout birthin’ babies.” I gave birth to my 11-pound son at home five years ago in an attempt to practice an unassisted birth, knowing I had backup from the medical profession.
If you think you might have a baby sometime in the next 20 or 30 years, you would be well served to do a little research on unassisted childbirth. During a nuclear crisis the last place a laboring women should be is in a hospital.
For dish cleaning we would wash our dishes in a basin with soapy water, or if we wanted to save our water for drinking, we would scrub the dishes with sand from our sandbox and spray with the essential oil bottle for sanitation.
We would wash our dirty clothing in a little hand-crank machine I bought, and dry the clothing on racks. We would sleep in our sleeping bags and keep our shotgun close by for personal security.
We would worship and pray and eat and live and life would go on much as it does in our everyday world. Priorities would be given to feeding the children, keeping them clean, healthy, warm and dry. We would sleep, eat, bathe, teach, play and sing.
As a mother, the priorities for daily life in our basement after a nuclear attack would largely be the same goals I have for my children in normal life.
Parents and grandparents, instead of toys and games for your children for the holidays, why not get them a 72-hour kit, a 50-pound bag of wheat and a 55-gallon water container? For the same amount of money you would spend on dolls, video games or a bike, you could get the few supplies necessary to live through an emergency.
“Fear often is a life-saving emotion. When we believe death is close at hand, fear can increase our ability to work harder and longer, driven by fear, we can accomplish feats that would be impossible otherwise. Trembling hands, weak legs, and cold sweat do not mean that a person has become ineffective. Doing hard necessary work is one of the best ways to keep one’s fears under control.
“If the danger is unexpected enough or great enough, normal persons sometimes experience terror as well as fear. Terror prevents the mind from evaluating dangers and thinking logically. It develops in two stages. …
“The first stage is apathy: people become indifferent to their own safety and are unable even to try to save themselves or their families. The second stage is a compulsion to flee. … Persons who learn to understand the nature of our inherent human traits and behavior and symptoms are less likely to become terrorized and ineffective in the event of a nuclear attack.” (Cresson H. Kearny, “Nuclear War Survival Skills”)
I learned many practical skills from Dr. Kearny’s book, which he has graciously published online for anyone to read for free. This book helped me to understand the myths versus the facts of a nuclear attack, and our family has purchased the supplies he recommends to survive a nuclear incident in our own little home.
If we give in to terror and become apathetic or attempt to flee our homes, it is these very actions which will cause more death and disease than the actual bombings.
Imagine if every person in America had a two-week supply of food, water and supplies to survive a nuclear blast. Those at ground zero would certainly lose their lives, but the authorities could focus on the needs of people in the locales around the blast site, while the rest of America confidently took care of itself.
Please move beyond terror in your own mind and let a little fear motivate you to buy the things necessary and master the skills needed for surviving a nuclear incident.
One person at a time, we can win the war on terror using our wits and remembering the legacy of our patriot ancestors, who sacrificed so much to provide us with freedom.
If you will take personal responsibility for your own safety rather than depending on others, you will be one less person or family the authorities have to worry about during an attack.
Please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in contracting for my lecture on preparing for nuclear terror. This lecture has been designed as a primer in Basic Civil Defense before Nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction are deployed against Americans.
With a focus on Family Preparations, this lecture has been created to be given in just about any forum where the listeners are prepared to take some proactive steps and are anticipating Nuclear Terror.
Topics covered include basic mitigation for individuals and families, including 72 hour kits, proper water storage, short term and long term food storage, how to limit radiation exposure, and how to function in the home when the water, electricity, and sewage are shut off.
I believe strongly that family civil defense is a key component in America winning the War on Terror.