9/11 and Hurricane Katrina have shown us two threats that we, the residents of the richest and most powerful nation on Earth, were not prepared for. It is up to us as citizens to identify threats and then start the call to action to protect ourselves against them. The following is a short list of threats that I identified on a recent trip to the video store.
1) Asteroid Impact. Armageddon highlights how limited our ability to deal with this threat could be. It turns out that we are not even actively scanning the skies for asteroids, and by the time we notice one it could be too late.
2) Sudden, severe climate change. The Day After Tomorrow was overly dramatic, but it was based on projections by scientists of what could happen if global warming continues. We need every student in our country to attend cold weather survival training in Alaska.
3) Rise of the Machines. With no proselytized Terminator robot to help us, we may be doomed. The Pentagon is looking to field unmanned ground vehicles by 2015, and we already used unmanned aerial drones equipped with rockets. Look for Amish people to be viewed as much cooler after the attack.
4) Mutant monsters. We were fortunate in the early Godzilla movies that he chose Japan, but the Matthew Broderick version showed us what could happen if New York became a target. We currently have no natural predators for giant reptiles. This is an area that geneticists need to explore.
5) Alien takeover. Independence Day was not enough to get America scared straight. NASA needs to do less stupid experiments and more anti-flying saucer artillery drills. Lube up for your alien probing if they don't.
6) Zombie invasion. Iraq has shown us that even an impressive military can stumble in the face of an a foe lacking technology, but possessing strength in numbers. Think about the destruction the Land of the Dead zombies could have caused if they implemented suicide bombers. I am not trying to compare insurgents to zombies, but their hygiene habits are similar.
7) A Stephen King's The Stand-style super virus would ravage the world, though in all probability the old would die first and there would be a kick ass, if briefly lived, unsupervised youth party.
Each of these scenarios could be crippling, but what if you combine two or more? What if aliens invaded, and then the machines took over their machines and ours to launch their rebellion? What if a large asteroid killed off half of the earth and in the process introduced a virus into the atmosphere that started turning people into zombies?