If you’ve ever watched a movie or read a history book, you’d know that governments are capable of some really fucked up shit. In the name of the greater good, they’re not above killing, maiming, or otherwise throwing a wrench into things. Yet, the government is not really a true evil entity, at least not when it’s supposed to be acting in a “real” context. Sure, dystopian governments exist in some films and they’ll stick a hot poker in your eye just to mess with you. But in these at least somewhat realistic movies, in terms of government operation, there are lines that wouldn’t be so easily crossed.
If you’re a smart fellow, and since you’re reading this column I know you are, you’ve probably guessed by now I’m talking about nuclear bombs – the nuclear option. Whether it’s to contain an outbreak of the undead, a bioweapon, feuding aliens, or just some sort of massive disease, Uncle Sam seems pretty willing to wipe out an entire city with the simple splitting of a few atoms. To this, I say bullshit. There’s a lot of reasons why we just don’t willy nilly go dropping atomic bombs on people who piss us off. These problems don’t magically disappear when you bomb an American city to get rid of some virus. Modern nuclear weapons have a tendency to kick up a lot of dirt when they go boom, which then rains down over the course of a few days. There’s a week long period where you don’t want to go near this area. Fallout in the air gets blown all around, over to neighboring cities. Radioactive dirt contaminates the ground.
Simply put? You create a whole lot of problems. Not even including the ones that revolve around, I don’t know, nuking your own cities. Let us make no mistake – the mushroom cloud is indicative of a nuclear blast. Some really big conventional bombs can make the mushroom cloud, but it is so closely tied to the nuclear explosion that anytime a filmmaker shows a mushroom cloud, unless they specifically let us know ahead of time it wasn’t a nuclear bomb, the audience is going to assume it was a nuclear bomb.
If you want to take the Outbreak route, that’s one thing. A sufficiently large, non-nuclear bomb. I still say that’s kind of a bad idea when you should just focus on enforcing a strict quarantine, but at least this way you’re not running the risk of spreading radioactive waste everywhere. Or increasing cancer rates in the area for the next 15 years. The nuclear option is just not a good one. The long term effects can be damaging. The emotional effects would be devastating. You nuke someone, you’re an asshole for a long, long time. You just blow them up with a really big normal bomb, and you can spin that.
I’m a big fan of the boom. I’m a Michael Bay fan. I likey big explosions. But not nuclear ones, not as a solution to clean things up. That’s ridiculous. You’re going to make things worse. The most perfect nuclear explosion in the world is going to have unintended consequences that will end up with more people dead than you planned. There is an option – go conventional. Do some research. There are a couple of bombs that will do the job you want done and give you a mushroom cloud – just mention it and I’m on board, baby. Or hell, ditch the mushroom cloud and just blow some shit up old school style. If you really want to eliminate a problem by destroying a whole city, you’re gonna have to work for it. Or come up with a better plan of containment – how about napalm? The nuke is political suicide. There is a better bomb. All I know is that when I see a big, fiery mushroom cloud, I think nuke. When I think nuke I think worst possible solution to the problem. And wouldn’t you know it, I also explode past my boiling point.