It is illegal for emergency management officials to prepare for a North Korean nuclear attack in Washington state.
Incredibly, a Cold War-era law prevents any sort of emergency evacuation planning for a nuclear attack – even though the state is on the West coast and could be among the first states hit from the reclusive country. KING-5 TV in Seattle first reported of the nutty law.
“State law does not allow any advanced planning,” Karina Shagren of the Washington state Emergency Management Division told KING-5.
That means the division cannot plan evacuations or relocations in case of a North Korean attack.
The law, passed in 1983, reads, “The comprehensive, all-hazard emergency plan authorized under this subsection may not include preparation for emergency evacuation or relocation of residents in anticipation of nuclear attack.”
Retired army general and former presidential advisor Barry McCaffrey called the law “goofy.”
“Certainly it’s a goofy thing to not tell people to think about a major real threat,” McCaffrey told the TV station. “What we’re trying to achieve is deterrence, which means ballistic missile defense.”
The law was written and passed in 1983 when many people thought a Soviet nuclear attack would be so devastating that evacuation and relocation would be pointless. The author of the law was former Democratic state legislator Don Nelson.
“I haven’t abandoned my basic belief that we need to find peaceful ways of dealing with the nuclear threat,” Nelson told KING-5. “But I also believe we have a crazy dictator who could do anything.”