News and events Retrospectives

Top fear

A survey says Australian children’s top fears are car accidents, bombs, burglars and terrorists.

Some of us were talking on Saturday night about our fears when we were growing up in the early 80s. For many it was the fear of nuclear war.

I remember lying awake at night thinking about it. Glad I was living close to a major city centre that was probably a target, so all I might see was a bright flash of light, then I’d be dead, vapourised, rather than having to live in the aftermath.

I recall I had particular resentment of Ronald Reagan and his confrontational approach to world affairs. Whether it was connected or not, I recall seeing a Herald headline about the 1986 US bombing of Libya and thinking “he’s going to destroy the world.”

These fears were reflected in popular culture at the time, too. Think Raymond Briggs When the Wind Blows (which scared the willies out of me) and The Young Ones episode “Bomb“, as well as WarGames.

As it happens, Tuesday was the 23rd anniversary of the day that Colonel Stanislav Yefgrafovich Petrov saved the world, by not firing Soviet missiles in response to an apparent US missile launch on his screen (which turned out to be a glitch).

I wonder if today’s fears of terrorism have quite reached the levels of fear we had of nuclear apocalypse.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

5 replies on “Top fear”

My biggest fear as a child was much less ‘global’… I worried endlessly that my mother would be killed in a horrible accident, or worse, murdered. As the eldest child in a single parent family, I suppose it’s only natural that I spent so much time worrying about it. I must say, however, that the threat of invasion from the north has always been a bit of a dilemma for me. I often overheard my grandparents commenting about it.

A nuclear bomb and a lot of us will go together. A random terrorist attack and could just be you in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I rememeber my mother, who concerns herself with little outside her own world, was quite fearful when the US bombed Libya. I must have been absent from earth that day, as I barely remember it.

Dear Daniel,
This comment has nothing to do with this post, but man, you have lost it. I used to look forward to coming home and seeing what crazy adventures you had gotten up to, it used to amuse me no end. OK, it was a minor amusement but, I used to tell my friends to check out that toxic custard guy, he knows where its at. Now what are you doing? Buying Ikea furniture and whinging about changing house. GO OUT ON SATURDAY AND GET INTO A FIGHT! Go and see a band at the local. Do something stupid. Get a tattoo – of a mermaid – on your forearm – so all your bourgoise IT mates can see it – and if they say anything – belt them. You used to be my hero Bowen, now you’re just another guy with a blog. Inspire us again Bowen, you can still do it, even as a daggy old Dad. Use your imagination you old prune!

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