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EXT. IN ATLANTIC, OFF NJ COAST -- NIGHT
AN EXPLOSION ROCKS the sub as its steam cannon blasts a sixty-ton projectile out of a hatch and upward toward the surface. The KN11/Pukguksong-1 ballistic missile jumps up out of the water; its rocket motor ignites, and it heads up into the sky.
EXT. CITYSCAPE, HIGH RISE -- NIGHT
SILENTLY IT FALLS, over the skyscrapers of midtown Manhattan... toward streets jammed with delivery trucks, city buses, and taxicabs. A high school student from Ohio is walking with a tour group when he sees it dropping out of the dark night sky.
HE POINTS and, as he turns to tell a classmate, the missile finds its target. Ground Zero is 41st Street and Sixth Avenue, one block from Times Square.
AT THAT INSTANT, the device mounted in its nose unleashes a stream of neutrons at the uranium nucleus in its core, splitting the atom into fragments. This process, called fission, becomes self-sustaining as the chain reaction begins --
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How’s that for a scenario?
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that—after two plus years of Covid-19— this is the worst sort of scenario
Because, for the past two plus years, you’ve been asking yourself: “When will things get back to normal?”
The scenario above is from a book with, coincidentally, the same title as this column. The mission of Moment of Truth is to convince crisis professionals that there is no going back to a normal world. Back in that “normal” world, things were predictable and expected. Low-impact disasters were more likely to occur, while huge disasters with massive impacts were highly unlikely
In today’s world, by contrast, unfairness reigns and the unexpected happens. Nothing can be predicted accurately, and events that seemed unlikely or impossible occur frequently and have a huge impact
Fate is poised with its hand raised ready to strike us a shocking blow. Climate change is bringing torrential hurricanes, devastating droughts, crippling ice storms, and raging heat waves. Divisive elections and polarized populations have pushed the threat of conflict to an all-time high
The risk is here. Like static electricity, you can feel it in the air
So the question, and the focus of this column, is: “What do we do about it?”
For disaster professionals like us, there aren’t two answers to that question; there can be only one
We must get ready