Civil Defense in Between

DAVID HUNT was graduated in 1952 from the University of Manitoba. He now lives in Winnipeg, where he is a feature writer for the Winnipeg Tribune.


WE IN Between have always been proud of our interest in the international situation. When an atomic bomb attack on the country first appeared imminent each person in the village rose to do his bit.

Immediately a committee was formed to study just what could be done about Between. On Friday action was expected to follow “sometime in the next year.” But by Saturday night at about midnight three distinct groups had drawn up ranks in Between — all violently opposed to each other.

That the village was of strategic importance was universally agreed. Trying to decide its primary importance, however, was quite another matter. Government officials far from the scene objected that at best Between could be only a minor target for enemy bombers. Loyal residents refused to accept this; it was obviously a continuation of the regular government policy of indifference to Between.

The three most popular civil defense proposals for the village were essentially these: —

The Elevator Plan. Camouflage the grain elevator to resemble that in Paradise twenty miles to the east.

The Railway Plan. Sink the rail line underground ten miles on either side of the village so that Between could be confused more easily with Paradise or the settlement fifteen miles west, Torment.

The Sack Plan. Add sixty head of cattle, an extra barn, a new well, new buildings, and waterworks to the Sack farm on the outskirts of the village to make it a less distinctive landmark. (Proposed by Julius Sack, member of council.)

Residents of course have since come up with other plans that have been briefly considered: diversion of Rushing River thirty miles through the village, federal sponsorship of housing for families earning less than $6000 a year, a superhighway to Between bypassing both Torment and Paradise, greatly increased baby bonuses to encourage population increase and offset any human loss in event of an attack, a new category of half-payments to persons entertaining thoughts of parenthood, and construction of a new hotel.

Unfortunately government indifference has not yet been overcome. Without official encouragement the civil defense issue, which was once red-hot, now glows only in the minds of a few.

Recently, however, Julius Sack was appointed director for the area and may bring about some interesting changes in Between in the near future.