Two nuclear buttons — a modern-day parable

Jan 16, 2018 by

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The John and Jane Doe family and the Ilsa and Ivan Doesky family lived at opposite ends of a fine apartment building in Solarville. Being quite well to do, they were the envy of many of their neighbors in the same complex, many of whom were sick, hungry and living in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions.

Unfortunately, over time the Does and the Doeskys developed a strong mistrust of each other. “The Does act like they want to control and run everything,” complained the Doeskys. The Does feared their estranged neighbors had the same intentions.

As the feud between them worsened, each household tried to get as many families on their side as possible. They also began keeping firearms and ammunition on hand just in case there was any trouble — handguns at first, then automatic rifles, then whole rooms full of powerful weapons.

Finally, to gain even greater advantage, the Does began to develop and test the ultimate weapon, napalm. It wasn’t long, of course, before the Doeskys produced large stockpiles of their own.

The Does were appalled. “Now we need even more WMDs” they insisted, “in order to protect our freedoms and to maintain peace and security in the apartment.”

It wasn’t long before the Does and Doeskys had enough death-dealing napalm to completely annihilate each other. But since they still didn’t feel safe, they kept producing even more, enough to destroy their enemy twice, then three times, and then multiple more times. A sophisticated wiring device made it possible for either family to blast and burn each other to oblivion in an instant, all at the touch of a button. Costs mounted, creating terrible strains on each of their family budgets.

All along some residents in the building questioned the sanity of all this. “Is this really a show of strength or is it a sign of fear and stupidity? How can this possibly make us safer?”

“What’s more,” some worried, “what about the apartment’s Builder and Owner? After all, we’re only renters here. Surely the Landlord will evict us if we can’t find a way to get along as neighbors and fellow-tenants.”

Harvey Yoder is an ordained pastor and member of Family of Hope, a small Virginia Mennonite Conference house church congregation. He blogs at Harvspot, where this first appeared.

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