The 13th Floor

An Expert Once Suggested This Horrifying Deterrent Against Nuclear War…

I feel pretty confident in saying that no one wants to deploy nuclear weapons. Sure, it might quickly wipe out an immediate problem, but the collateral damage is incalculable, the environmental impact is devastating, and the fallout will continue for generations. But I guess some people think that pushing the red button is a little harder to resist.

In 1981, a Harvard law professor named Roger Fisher wrote an essay on preventing nuclear war for The Bulletin of the Atomic Sciences.

In this essay, Fisher suggests that the nuclear codes should be held in a capsule, implanted beside the heart of a volunteer. That volunteer would accompany the President with a butcher’s knife, so that if the President decided he needed to push the button, he would have to look another human being in the eye and cut his heart out.

“The President says, ‘George, I’m sorry but tens of millions must die,’” Fisher writes. “He has to look at someone and realize what death is — what an innocent death is. Blood on the White House carpet. It’s reality brought home.”

Fisher suggests that this would put a personal, human face on an act that the president could otherwise easily distance himself from. “If ever the President wanted to fire nuclear weapons, the only way he could do so would be for him first, with his own hands, to kill one human being.”

Personally, I am not convinced that Fisher isn’t actually Jigsaw.


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