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10 Register-Mail Thursday, June 14, 1973 . 1 .?. *.~f' ^ 7 ' - * —- — By TOM • TIEDE WASHINGTON (NEA) Oficte, every day, usually at noon, an important but ignored siren blows in many U.S. communities — the routine testing of the Civil Defense emergency siren. On hearing it, citizens are supposed to stop work, take cover and contemplate their actions in event of nuclear attack. Instead, most people merely take it as a welcome whistle for lunch. ATOMIC ATTACK, once the conversational and political preoccupation of the nation, is now considered, like string ties and peg pants, part of the recent and ridiculous past. "No problem" as the say ing'goes, "is so big or complicated that it-can't be run away from." Even the bomb. After all,-:in these.days-;of Watergate, energy shortage and social' revolution, does anyone have time to wonder about radioactive holocaust? Twenty-eight years ago, after Hiroshima, scientists began thinking about the unthinkable. Two decades ago, when the hydrogen weapon was introduced, America conducted air raid drills in schools, bought radios with CD markings on the dials, and dug family bomb shelters as if there was no tomorrow. AND JUST THE other day, it seems, in 1963, when radioactive fallout was at its peak on the planet, every mother's child risked strontium 90 by drinking milk from potentially "hot" cows. But now? Maximum issue attention has been followed by maximum issue inattention. We have, apparently, nationally, learned to live with The Bomb, even if we don't especially like it. The magazine Science and Public Affairs is perhaps the most visual indication that America is no longer thinking about the unthinkable. Originally named "The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists," the publication is known for its regular printing of a gloomy ''Doomsday Clock" which ostensibly tells the world the -time left before total nuclear • destruction. The periodical - published its first clock'in 1947 ; when editors decided tfiat be: cause of America's -atomic discoveries the earth had only seven minutes (a representative figure) until the Big Boom. THE CLOCK KEPT ticking ominously for the next few years. When Russia exploded its first nuclear device, the doomsday hands moved to four minutes to midnight And then in 1953, when the hydrogen horror was introduced, the clock read 11:58. Today, however, Science end Public Affairs has set its doomsday timepiece back to 12 minutes before 12 — and if that's still nothing to cheer, it's at least an indication, as Father's Day Weekend Thurs., Fri. Sofr. Men's Nylon Jackets Perfect Father's Gift Swimming Trunks Sizes 28 to 38 Thurs. Fri., Sat. Reg. to 14.98 Bermuda Shorts Sizes 28 to 38 for a hot summer Shop MALES Fathers We Welcome Your American Express, Master Charge, BankAmericard uiradiMoijaJly the finest for men down/town galesburg th 95 M m Votes 1947 Two Years after Hiroshima Clock basins Mintitas the magazine editor Richard Lewis puts it "of less ominous times." Only once in the last quarter century has the clock been similarly set — in 1963 after the limted nuclear test ban. And today world tensions may be even more relaxed than th en. Says Lewis; ' * Peopl e have tended to lose their fear of imminent catastrophe. It's difficult for the young especially to conceive of nuclear war any more. People may believe the possibility intellectually—but perhaps not emotionally." IF THE EMOTIONAL concept of doomsday has faded, it's not surprising. Besides the nuclear test ban, the great powers have also banned atomic weapons in space, signed non-proliferation treaties, and agreed to limit production of the arms. . Besides this, according to the Atomic Enerev Commis- With The Bank - "That Leads the Way." sion, lite Ufiited States and Russia af<5 fifing fewer undef- ground tests than before — only four (U.S.) and two (U .S.S.R.) this year as opposed to seven and 14 in 1972. 11 and 14 in 1971 and 30 and 10 in 1970. Even the radioactive threat has lessened considerably; officials believe fallout has dropped tenfold since a 3963 peak. Thus it is: Issue apathy. While more than 450 nuclear related articles were listed in the library's 1962 "Reader's Guide to Periodic Literature," less than 50 were last year. The nation's Office of Civil Defense has changed its name to Civil Defense Preparation Agency and is more worried now about natural than unnatural disasters. The AEC says complaint letters and pickets have dwindled in recent years to "very tew." IS IT GOOD all this forgetting? Perhaps. Only ill comes to a people wondering forever how many millions of them will be wiped out on a first strike. Too, there is opinion that the increase in nuclear apathy is the happy result of a decrease in nuclear possibility; and that's better than vice versa. Yet, there m dangers in Inattention. Some things demand the continual fingering of worry beads. Sarttottl Ctott- leib of the antiboriib group known as Sane, reminds that even with the SALT agreements, "the U.S. is ,authdrized to increase its warhead pile from 5,900 to 9,800 by 1977 ahd Russia can increase proportionately." He says the dangers in these numbers are as great now as even He suggests that an inattentive public is in danger of losing ever more control over the why and what-for of nukes. NO ONE SUGGESTS citizens begin building shelters again. Yet a yawning public is n vulnerable public. Neither major power announces all its present tests; two nuclear nations are still testing above ground; two new nations, Israel and India, are capable of making the bomb if they have not already. "The public shouldn't panic," says George Kistiakow- sky, science adviser to two Presidents and a proponent of foolproof nuclear controls, "but it should be informed and wary." Else the next time the noon horn blows it may not be for lunch. Earlier For Election WASHINGTON (UP1)—The Senate Rules Committee has titfriwed legislation to short- ien presidential election campaigns .tihat would move election day to the first Tuesday ih October and require presidential nominating conventions to be held in August. The measure also would require the states to hold primaries for federal offices be* itiween the first Tuesday in June and the first Tuesday in August. Final consideration was put off until next week on other election reform proposals, including a 25-cent per vote ceiling on campaign spending and an independent board to supervise election practices. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D- W.Va., said Wednesday engthy campaigns were not neoesisary "in th" modern technology." 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