Darwin’s Hammer: Who Survives an EMP Event?

January 27, 2014

EMP:electromagnetic pulse: a burst of electromagnetic energy, produced by a nuclear explosion in the atmosphere, considered capable of widespread damage to power lines, telecommunications, and electronic equipment. ~ courtesy of “the Online Dictionary”

A high-altitude nuclear burst and resulting EMP

This brief definition of an EMP fail to describe  the widespread damage to our national power grids, telecommunications, and electronics equipment.  In practical terms EMP’s first implication is  that the lights go off and they don’t come back on for a very long time.  If North America was to sustain an EMP attack approximately 90% of the 400 million people who reside here would die from the direct and indirect effects of such an attack. An EMP would disable the electrical grid in the United States and Canada, vehicles, home electrical power, medical equipment, portable electronic devices, and nearly all forms of communication,  for an indefinite period of time.  As  James Carafano, senior research fellow for national security at The Heritage Foundation says, “The Earth would likely recede into the ‘new’ Dark Ages.”  Lights out would mean that a period of utter darkness, desperation, and death would envelope the world.

The threat of an EMP is real.  Any nation which regards the United States of America as an adversary, or with envious eyes, such as Iran or China, or rogue terrorist cells, could potentially launch such an attack.  Theoretically, it would require just one nuclear warhead to be launched into the high atmosphere from another continent, from a ship in the oceans that surround our continent, or from a location on own soil.  As the warhead is detonated in the high atmosphere the EMP would interrupt all electrical functions in the “line of sight” region groundward from the pulse.

Who would survive such an event? Who could possible survive an EMP? The answer is simple: The strongest, the most adaptable, the fittest.

Darwin’s Rules for Survival

Charles Darwin introduced the scientific his theory which describes the natural process in which certain species are “selected” for survival according to their ability to alter, over time, physical and behavioral characteristics to match the challenges of their environments. The most adaptable survive and continue to adapt as their environments change. This article is not a discussion on the merits of “The Theory of Natural Selection.” However, in the event of an EMP humans will be pressed to adapt quickly, change their behavior, and prove themselves to be the fittest in the cruel arena of survival.

Only the most prepared individuals and communities will be among the 10% of survivors. These are people who have stockpiled food, water, medicine and other life-sustaining commodities that will last for at least one year.  In America the organizations that encourage this measure of self-reliance are religiously based. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) have for decades devoted resources and education to individual and family preparedness.  Their model of “provident living” is comprehensive, covering everything from getting out of debt, to personal defense, to gardening, to spiritual soundness. The LDS Church encourages families to have a one year storage of food and other necessities, alternate sources of lighting, heat, and communication, and sufficient spiritual faith to weather extended periods of adversity. Other Christian churches have done this as well. By and large the preparedness communities in the U.S. are populated with people who are family-oriented, religious, and have some knowledge of wilderness survival techniques, and personal weaponry.

The survivors will include those who have quickly escaped large urban centers and have had the ability to flee quickly and connect themselves to families or groups that are prepared to live without electricity or civic infrastructure for months or years.  The medically fragile and those dependent upon medical equipment will die shortly after “lights out.”  Urban centers will lack the resources to sustain  large numbers of people. Vital services will stop. Garbage and stalled vehicles will fill the streets. Water and sanitation will not be available and disease will be unstoppable. When the cities shut down and food riots, looting, violence, and sickness batter their populations, they will not be able to adapt quickly enough to overcome their environment. Government administrators, the military, and first-response teams will be just as crippled as civilians. Thousands will fall into despair and shock and will kill themselves. Most will die at the hands of other humans, from starvation or exposure, or from disease.

Suburban and rural Americans will also face a collapse of infrastructure. Stores will empty within hours. Looting, and disease will follow. But if they have prepared themselves and their families to hunker down, survive without running water, outside sources of food and medicine, and have the weapons to defend themselves against looters and roving gangs, many will survive, at least for a few months. Farming communities will have the advantages of space, water wells, seed stores, livestock, and a lifestyle that is less dependent upon society than those in cities and suburbs.

How will the quality of our relationships with God and each other determine who survives an EMP event?

The number one factor that will best ensure survival after a global event, such as an EMP, will be the quality of our relationships. Those with extended family who are networked with a greater preparedness community and have practiced a lifestyle of provident living and self-reliance will most quickly adapt to the unimaginable circumstances of life after an EMP.  Families and preparedness communities offer an infrastructure of people who are biologically and/or sentimentally invested in one another. They offer the psychological support and love that will be critical to continuity. Those groups who have faith in a Higher Power, who value life, and who believe in the worth and the power of the individual, will benefit through times of stress and deprivation. Like the members of  Plymouth Colony whose numbers were decimated during the winter of 1620-1921, a belief that the darkness would pass and that some would remain to perform their Divinely-appointed missions will enhance the  ability to endure.

Why is religion necessary to survival? 

The family structure is the chief adaptation that makes humans a robust, wide-ranging species. The nuclear family, with radii of extended family, church, community, and friends, is in itself a natural adaptation which allows humans to create, recreate, and mold the environment that best meets their survival needs.  In today’s America, conservative religious organizations foster traditional families who are close knit, self-reliant, and heed Biblical warnings that have spurred the contemporary preparedness ethos.  So, in Darwinian terms, religion is the crowning achievement in human evolution.

Authors like William R. Forstchen has detailed the theoretical aftermath of an EMP in his book, “One Second After.”  Researchers and analysts, particularly those at The Heritage Foundation, have warned about this threat for years. The theory of Darwin’s Hammer, the survival of the most adaptable and prepared, will be proved sooner or later. Whether it be an EMP strike, nuclear warfare, a solar flare swarm, widespread terrorist attacks, biological or chemical weapons strikes, conventional combat, or social and economic collapse that presses humanity into survival mode, there is one factor over which humans have some control; and that is who will surround you, and what will you have prepared, when the critical moment comes.

By Marjorie Haun  1/27/14

  1. boxerpaws

    not sure why but couldn’t copy/paste web address.that issue aside,the article was interesting but what me worry?
    They have these kinds of stories all the time.An asteroid, the big bang tunnel, the universe collapses into a black hole etc.

    Take your pick. Now if you believe that God created the universe and He’s the person in charge it’s going to end one way or the other.We all go home eventually. We’re just passing through here. So i don’t lose any sleep over this stuff. Don’t store food. Just happy to be here today.Oh yeah and hoping for Herman Cain to be elected.Ron Paul is a libertarian and that’s just another form of liberalism.
    He just happens to have an R in front of his name. His supporters(aka Ronulans)are obnoxious and rude and resort to the worst kind of tactics.Like Santorum,shoot me like Newt, Bachmann(all good ppl) but am convinced Herman Cain is the one who makes the best POTUS. BTW.Darwin’s Theory-just that. A THEORY.
    The copy/paste doesn’t work here. Not complaining.Thought you should be aware of it.

    • Reagangirl

      Thank you for your response. I’m not sure how Herman Cain and Ron Paul became part of this discussion but perhaps a president who took our anti-ballistic missile defense program seriously, a Conservative Republican most likely, would greatly diminish the potential of an EMP occurring over N. America. I would suggest that you not dismiss this topic quite so lightly. Please watch the video of 33 Minutes which I have linked for you here. Remember, an EMP requires the high altitude burst of only 1 nuclear warhead.
      No need to tell me that “The Theory of Natural Selection,” as I mentioned it in the article, is a theory.

  2. mac keeper…

    […]EMP: Darwin’s Hammer « Emergency Preparedness «[…]…

  3. An excellent overview of the the EMP threat. It’s amazing how easily people dismiss this for a variety of reasons: It would take more than 1-3 missiles to really be effective; no state who has the capability would do it; and on and on. The chances may be less than some disaster scenarios, but the risk is tremendous!

    Even more conservative estimates of the casualty rate are around 50%. Think about that: one out of every two people gone. It would devastate our civilization for generations.

    Another parallel threat is Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). This *has* happened before in 1859, and it will almost certainly happen again. However, CME could potentially affect us globally.

    Your points about preparing, becoming more self-reliant, and building a like-minded community are timely and necessary. There are an increasing number of blogs, sites, and resources contributing to the “prepper” knowledge base and discussion (I humbly offer my blog as one possible starting point: Any of your readers who follow Twitter can also search on the hashtag #PrepperTalk to follow along with an ongoing prepping discussion.

    Thanks for posting this!

    • Thank you Mr. Freeman. A lot of my research comes from the compiled work of James Carafano at the Heritage Foundation. His organization has an very close feel on the pulse of national defense issues and global security dynamics. I value your work and you desire to bring these things to the public attention.

  4. AmandaK

    I thought that I’d let you know about a women named Marjory Wildcraft. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of her before, but she’s great on giving people tips to create your own garden and raise rabbits and how to slaughter them when you need to. She’s going to be on a radio blog show called EMPactRadio next Wednesday the 11th at noon Eastern Time. It should be really great to listen to. Here’s the link if you want to read more about her and to listen to the show when it airs:

  5. AmandaK

    You’re welcome! But I did realize today that they changed the date for her to be on their show. She actually is going to be on it January 18th, now!

  6. Cal

    I asked a friend what she was doing to be prepared,,,and she stated, ” I’m worried about my spirit, If that’s prepared the rest does not matter”.

  7. Jody Crown

    @Cal, well starvation isnt going to be pretty. While this Cal is good on a persons spirit being squared away, the physical aspects of life are going to be necessary. People seem to forget the 10 virgins parable. The 5 prepared weren’t transported or magically taken off the earth. “The rapture” is a flase notion, a false doctrine, and unfortunately won’t happen. It’s not a biblically sound prophecy. Most of the world is going to die in the last days during, coming attacks, famines, and unbelievable devastation thats coming. I have much preparation myself, it takes alot of work.

  8. scott yagemann

    This very interesting and partially the subject of something I have been writing. My biggest worry is medical. I need some medicines for asthma that won’t be available and so need to stock up, which is hard to do when doctors do not want to prescribe a year’s worth of medicine. It would be best to live in more rural areas too, not NYC for example which would instantly turn into chaos. On that happy note. Everybody have a great week.

    • Network with doctors and pharmacists. Many survival communities, especially Mormon networks, will have lots of physicians and medical professionals. Otherwise, stock up on what you can and get the heck out of L.A.

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