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Jane H. Kavaloski: We must confront our 'psychic numbing,' stop nuclear proliferation

Jane H. Kavaloski: We must confront our 'psychic numbing,' stop nuclear proliferation

Dear Editor: August 6, 1945, begins as any other day in Hiroshima. Despite a premonition that something is about to happen, people go about their lives as usual. At 8 a.m. the smells of breakfast hang fragrant in the air. Children laugh and play in their courtyards. As they leave for work, husbands bid their wives goodbye. Grandmothers rock infants to sleep, while grandfathers tend their bonsai trees.

Fifteen minutes later, an atomic bomb detonates over Hiroshima. The fortunate ones, who live in the epicenter, are immediately vaporized and spared the agonizing suffering of the aftermath. The people who live a little further from Ground Zero are transformed into haunted figures, who walk and crawl the streets looking for water to cool their burned, melting skin and broken bodies. For the most part, they move like robots, non-responsive to the cries for help from the suffering humanity around them. Jay Lifton, the renowned psychiatrist, named this lack of compassion in the midst of so much horror as “psychic numbing.”

At this 75th anniversary of that day, we must ask ourselves if we too are victims of “psychic numbing.”

Since August 1945, U.S. citizens have been primarily silent about the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Currently the U.S. has approximately 6,500 nuclear weapons. There are almost 14,000 world-wide.

As U.S. citizens, we must confront our own “psychic numbing” and insist that our elected officials stop this madness. In commemoration of this 75th anniversary, demand that our elected officials work toward global nuclear disarmament!

Jane H. Kavaloski

Madison

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