Day: 2013.02.18

Perhaps the Best Decision Ever

Here’s one you might not have heard, yet, via Nina Porzucki of PRI’s The World:

PRI's The WorldA Korean Airlines commercial flight was shot down by a Soviet interceptor en route to Seoul from New York City.

And President Ronald Reagan announced his new missile defense program or as some people called it, Star Wars.

This was also the year when a military officer named Stanislav Petrov made the biggest decision of his life and maybe yours.

He was on duty at the Soviet nuclear command center when he saw what appeared to be five American nuclear warheads flash on the screen before him.

According to his system, the missiles were headed for the Soviet Union.

He should have alerted his superiors but instead Petrov did nothing.

Thankfully so, because it turned out to be a false alarm.

Given that this is the third time, at least, that Petrov has been honored for not doing his job, I wonder how it is that the story has evaded my attention for nearly fifteen years. Nonetheless, it’s worth the time to raise a glass to the greatest superhero whose special power is to do nothing the world has ever known.