I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been on a panic hairtrigger since 9/11 (”That doesn’t look like talcum powder…could it be…weaponized Ebola?”, “That guy on the El looks like he’s up to something…have you seen the way he’s filling out his Soduku?”). “Boy who cried wolf” scenarios aside, the North Korea nuclear situation has me fairly freaked out. It’s hard to imagine a “happy ending” to this, as North Korea has basically replaced the red star on their national flag with the image of Kim Jong-Il mooning the world, balls and taint defiantly exposed for all to see.
North Korea is a fascinating country–insular, famished, and dirt-poor. How insular? A FOX News special that ran last week featured an expert who claimed that North Koreans are unaware that man has landed on the moon. How famished? According to Amnesty International, hundreds of thousands have died from hunger with millions more suffering from chronic malnutrition. How dirt-poor? Roughly 50% of North Korean defectors claim crushing destitution as their reason for escaping the country. And now this desperate country and its unpredictable leader have the ability to create a mushroom cloud, and want us all to know it.
The good news is that no man-made catastrophe has hit the U.S. since 9/11 (the proliferation of reality T.V. shows aside). Somehow we’ve continued to live our civilian lives without having to duct tape tarp over our windows and bathe in a tub of bottled water purchased at Costco for emergency use only. Still, a big part of me remains concerned–sometimes fearful–of what the future may bring. North Korea’s not helping at all.