Electromagnetic Pulse

There is a whole class of individuals in the United States who refer to themselves as “preppers.”  They are preparing for major catastrophic events that will bring our civilization to its knees.  They do this by storing a food supply, learning how to actually grow food, having a means to purify water, having a “bug-out bag” of necessary supplies in case they have to leave where they reside, developing anti-home invasion strategies in the event that the hunger-driven mob tries to break into their dwelling to get at their supplies, and generally training how to survive based solely on their own skills and devices.

There are many scenarios that preppers are afraid of, but one in particular keeps surfacing.  It is the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that has the potential to utterly destroy our entire power grid, and make every device with a computer chip inoperable (think your phone, your car, and all those household appliances).  As a result of this total shutdown of our electronic world, a massive EMP would virtually eliminate food distribution as well as end the availability of clean tap water.

The EMP has the potential to destroy our entire power grid because it can cause a complete destruction of the transformers that our power grid currently depends on to operate, and these transformers are complex machinery that are difficult and very expensive to replace, particularly if there is no power.

An EMP can happen one of two ways.  There can be such a massive solar flare that the the Sun causes an EMP on unprotected earth.  There is some evidence that this actually happened to a certain degree in the 19th century when, in all likelihood, it was such a Sun-induced EMP that disrupted a good deal of the telegraph system.  The other possibility is a large nuclear blast high in the atmosphere over the United States.  That also, theoretically, could generate a massive EMP that could take down our entire power grid.

So you would have millions of people in cities without any food or potable water and with no clue how to grow food or find and purify water.  Just imagine the immediate and unavoidable mayhem that would lead to.  The preppers already have and are actively preparing for it.

People have varying opinions about survivalists like the preppers.  Some concede that to take the actions preppers are taking is prudent, while others believe that the preppers are loonies and what they fear can’t possibly happen.  But the trouble with the preppers are loonies argument is that an EMP can happen — it does seem feasible.

However, my issue concerning an EMP event is this: if we know in advance that the transformers upon which our entire electronic civilization is dependent are vulnerable to an EMP, why don’t we focus on developing some kind of technology that would shield them?  You would think we would make every conceivably effort to protect these vital pieces of technology if they are truly the essential underpinning of our entire way of life.  Ditto all the computer chips we put into everything.


EMP Facts

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