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Sat Dec 26, 2020, 12:09 PM

I'll relate this story without specific locations: [View all]

As I have discussed for sixteen-plus years here, I practice in Center City Philadelphia and many years ago we had an underground electrical fire not far from me. It was a catastrophe from the viewpoint of functioning infrastructure, and electrical, phone, and gas lines we’re severely disrupted fora fair amount of time and quite frankly, we still have sewer smells we never had before, but I digress.

One of my patients was a veteran Bell Telephone of PA lineman who had been called in to assist in the repair, and he had come to see me in a lunch hour. Now this was way before 9/11/2001. We were discussing the damage done and he took that opportunity to tell me that there were a couple choke points nearby where a fire OR A TERRORIST could disrupt phone service on a mammoth basis, far beyond that which would be evident to a lay person who was not familiar with communications theory and design. Then he said something I will never forget: there is a structure which is right on the street at a corner where a truck bomb (his words) would cripple long distance, emergency calls, and other aspects he would not discuss for months or even longer. He was rather matter-of-fact about most things but he was very serious here, and he said that all communication eventually “goes to ground” and this was ground zero.

The reason it was so memorable is that it was a lot of inside info coupled with a disaster scenario that was so easily attained by one or a group of miscreants. I drive by that building every day and think about him most days. Yesterday was no exception.

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PCIntern Dec 2020 OP
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