[LINK] OT: Howards anti-terrorist mailout

Bob Bain bobb@soxkat.com
Sun, 09 Feb 2003 20:23:15 +1100

On Sun, 9 Feb 2003 19:43:40 +1100, Adam Neat wrote:

>If you donít believe its contents are worthwhile or informative, 
>take it at least that those in power are attempting to provide guidance
> and information to those of our community who may not be as
> versed or informed on such matters.

 Being of a fairly vintage age and an immigrant Australian from the
United Kingdom I remember vividly documents issued by the British
Government of a previous era about what precautions citizens could
take if the (presumably) Soviet Union were to launch missiles in the
direction of the United Kingdom

 The time interval between the warning and the impact was four minutes
which gave rise to the expression "The Four Minute Warning" and
recalling my memories I use the Internet to refer to :-


 ================ quote =================

"It's the four minute warning."
"What's that?"
"Well, if anyone was going to fire a nuclear missile at us, they'd
know about it four minutes before it hit. Then they'd make that alarm
sound. I suppose it was only a test; I thought the best thing to do
for us was to carry on as though I hadn't heard it."
"But what good would it do if you only knew you had four minutes
before the missile hit us?"
"Well, I don't know. People might want to say goodbye to the cat, or

The phrase is as fresh in my mind twenty years later.

 ================ end quote ================

 Hence the skepticism.

  What would people do if confronted with the immediate prospects of
terrorism ? 

 Turn to their fridge magnet ?   I seriously doubt it.

 With the "Four Minute Warning" booklets issued by the British
Government people were advised to a) not panic and b) take all
suitable precautions, which were vaguely listed as "hide and take
cover as best you can."

 I vividly recall the night of the Cuban missile crisis when it was
feared that the USSR *might* actually fire missiles at the United
Kingdom.  The issue was raised around 5 pm that evening.  As a child I
huddled in very real fear that I wouldn't wake up the following

 However I did wake up - only to find that the four minute warning
hadn't sounded but that the neighbours had spent the entire night
digging a twenty foot hole in their garden, which I believe they
thought would protect them from the effects of a nuclear blast and
radiation.  They had even stocked the hole with provisions such as
cans of baked beans.

 When questioned they shrugged and looked embarrassed.

 Fridge magnets are unlikely to be used in case of a real emergency.  

 Terrorists do not normally announce their presence.

Bob Bain
Sydney Australia