August 6, 1945 is one of the most important ethics days of all, and among the most controversial. The United States bomber Enola Gay—now on exhibit in a hangar near Dulles Airport, dropped the first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Approximately 80,000 people were killed in seconds, and another 35,000 were injured. More than 60,000 would be dead by the end of the year from the effects of the fallout. Was the launching of the nuclear age by the United States ethically justified to save American lives (an invasion of the Japanese mainland had been estimated to risk a million U.S. casualties) and end the war? Was President Harry Truman guilty of a war crime, as non-combatants, including children, constituted most of the deaths? Did the horrible results of the new weapon prevent World War III, or make it more likely? These are still intensely debated questions by scholars, historians, theologians, military strategists, philosophers and peace activists.
1. Well, I’ve been spoiling for a fight, shopping around Northern Virginia and fining myself one of the few unmasked. So far, nobody’s said a word, but anyone who does is in for it. I’ve been vaccinated twice and probably had a mild, symptom-free infection before that. I have always been unusually resistant to viruses. Mask fog up my glasses and make me miserable. If you have chosen not to get your shots, swell, that’s your choice, but your exercise of personal liberty is not going to restrict mine without a fight. And don’t tell me I have to wear a mask so phobics feel “safe.” That’s not my problem either. I am not inclined to “social distance,” either. The mask fetish is going to strangle community, society and the joy of life unless we draw some hard lines. I’m drawing.