CRESSON H. KEARNY
Civil Defense Consultant, Retired
A LETTER TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FROM CRESSON KEARNY, INVENTOR
OF THE KFM
At the time I developed the Kearny Fallout Meter with help from
U.S. Department of Energy
scientists and engineers, we did not address the issue of nuclear
terrorism. We were so
concerned back then in the 1970's with the danger of all-out nuclear
war that we neglected to
instruct users of the KFM of its advantages in a terrorist attack
with few and smaller nuclear
weapons. Fear of life-threatening fallout from massive Soviet
attacks carried over to exaggerated
fears of all radiation, including that from terrorists' few weapons.
In Oak Ridge National Laboratory publications to be read by the
public we did not even mention
hormesis, for to have done so at that time probably would have
prevented my most influential book,
"Nuclear War Survival Skills," from being purchased
and used by government agencies to instruct
civil defense professionals.
When Hitler first bombed London the panic the bombs caused did
far more damage than the bombs
themselves. After the citizens of London lost their exaggerated
fears of the bombings, life went on
much as normal. And so it would be with a nuclear terrorist attack
on the U.S. One nuclear bomb
exploded in a U.S. city would likely be very small. And though
it could do catastrophic damage in a
small area, its relative impact on the physical infrastructure
of the whole United States would be
extremely small. However, because of the irrational, universal
fear people have of any radioactivity,
the panic that would ensue from such an attack would do far more
damage than the attack itself.
After the disintegration of the Soviet Union we should have stressed
in the KFM instructions that
small doses of radioactivity are hormetic, healthful because they
stimulate the immune system. This
was proven in laboratories as far back as the 1920's. With the
advent of the A-bomb almost all the
hormetic research stopped. And only in the last decade has it
resumed on a serious scale.
In the KFM instructions it was assumed that no medical help would
be available during and after a
nuclear war. The doses that an individual can take under those
circumstances without being injured
are lower than what that individual can withstand if he has medical
assistance such as antibiotics,
etc. In a nuclear terrorist attack medical aid would still be
available to the majority of American
citizens; therefore they could withstand somewhat larger radiation
doses. This would enable them
to carry on with the daily necessities of life in most areas.
If we allow irrational fear and panic
to shut down trucking, communications, and vital services, the
disaster will be far greater than
it needs to be.
Assembling a KFM and learning to use it before you need it will
help you lose irrational fear of
radioactivity. You will not be paralyzed by panic in an emergency.
You will know how to conduct
yourself in a manner that may not only save your life but also
the lives of many of those around
you as well.
I urge you to study the KFM instructions now and make an instrument.
You should realize that
under terrorist attack conditions the radiation doses you can
receive without being incapacitated
are higher than under nuclear wartime conditions. So you can go
to work, drive your truck or car,
or assist others.
Cresson H. Kearny [Signiture in his handwritting]
Cresson H. Kearny [February 1999]