Letter: Nuclear threat

To the editor:

Aug. 6 and 10 will mark the 69th anniversary of the nuclear bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Fortunately these were the only instances of actual employment of nuclear weapons, but, ever since then, the world has been at risk of intentional detonations or accidents.

In this time of political instability and widespread disregard for the sanctity of human life, that risk is only intensified. Despite treaties limiting nuclear weapons, it is estimated that about 17,000 devices still exist. Exploding only a small fraction would be enough to wreak devastation on the entire world.

Physicians for Social Responsibility has used state of the art weather modeling to predict the effect of a purely regional nuclear war such as Pakistan and India. The detonation of 100 bombs the size of that used at Hiroshima, tiny by modern standards, would result in an immense cloud of soot which would block sunlight and lead to a decade of severely limited agricultural production worldwide. Widespread starvation and increased conflict would follow.  

Recently, the International Red Cross, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates have called for the abolishment of nuclear weapons. We all need to join that demand for making our world safer.  The Lawrence Coalition for Peace and Justice will sponsor a demonstration at 5:30 p.m. today at Ninth and Massachusetts. Learn more (Google Physicians for Social Responsibility). Contact your elected representatives. We must live more sanely.