One Second After: A Thought Experiment

The other day, I talked to my partner about the future and how we see the current events panning out around us. During the conversation, I thought of an idea to perform a thought experiment based on the circumstances from One Second After written by William R. Forstchen.

In this post-apocalyptic thriller, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is detonated over the United States airspace causing all electronics in line of sight of the EMP to stop working immediately. As a result, the eastern coast of the United States is thrust into the middle ages in the blink of an eye.

Some might say an EMP is a bit radical of an idea to consider as a possible plan of action from a foreign adversary. Still, those folks should read this article by the New York Post detailing the successful test of a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile by the People's Republic of China in August 2021. These are essential details to understand before proceeding with the thought experiment. I picked it because, in my personal belief, an EMP would be one of the most catastrophic events to occur in our modern world.

“America is like an exotic hothouse plant. It can only live now in the artificial environment of vaccinations, sterilization, and antibiotics we started creating a hundred or more years ago.” - William Forstchen, One Second After

Currently, in America, we are accustomed to getting practically anything we want, within reason, in just a couple of days if we know the suitable internet sites to probe. What happens when that system collapses? What comes after that? That is what this thought experiment is all about.

Let's start with a simple question: Where does your water come from? It seems so simple because most people, not all, have to say they don't know. In this experiment, their water is provided to them by their city or county, and electricity plays a significant role.

Our water comes from a hand-dug well using a cast-iron hand pump that we have no more than 50 feet from the front door of our 40ft shipping container tiny home. We also have the tools and equipment already purchased to dig another well, this time connected to its very own solar pump.

How much of the food you consume comes from somewhere not on your property? We've all been to the grocery stores recently and noticed too many items in short or no supply. The country practically ran out of toilet paper, and everyone lost their collective minds in early 2020 (a future post on this topic is likely).

Chart depicting the increasing inflation rate in the U.S.

The inflation rate in America is the highest since the year 1990. For some context, I was born in 1990. I'm 31 years old. Inflation . . . which coincidentally does not take into account household energy and food. What are the two major expenses of average middle and working-class families? Fuel and food.

The above graph shows me that it's time to put our food production into overdrive. Very shortly, it is not out of the realm of possibilities that you won't be able to hop in your car and drive to the local grocery store to buy exactly what you need and a lot of things you don't. We (I say we, but it's been more my partner doing the work) have been building up the soil on our property with compost tea, old chicken bedding, mulch, and compost. This spring, we are hoping the last two years paid off for us to get a bountiful crop.

I could go on and on about this thought experiment, but I will leave you with another question and some parting thoughts. What does your security look like? Again, this question is answered by a majority of people with: I have a deadbolt on my door. If shit starts hitting the fan in your neck of the woods, how confident are you that you're protected on your property?

One Second After and countless historical examples have shown us that it doesn't take much for people to lose their humanity. Look at what's happening in the world where the vaccinated are being pitted against the unvaccinated. The vitriol spewing from the mouths of these holier than thou hypnotized vaccinated brings to mind a time this world devolved into another mass formation psychosis that erupted into another world war, and millions were murdered in the name of a final solution.

Who is in your network? Chris and I have been looking for a network for the last couple of years. However, we learned quickly that our network was not going to consist of our nearby neighbors. We tried and ultimately failed to establish mutually beneficial relationships with our neighbors, so we are looking to build a network with people outside of our geographic area with our thoughts about topics and the way forward. I'd love to hear about your experience with this similar thought experiment in the comments.


An adapted version of this article can also be found at