Enough to Kill X People
2,500 rounds of ammunition might sound like “enough bullets to kill 2,500 people.” There have been lots of other instances of the “enough to kill X people.” rhetoric. For example:
- On April 1, 2003, I pointed out the lethal doses of aspirin present in an aspirin factory.
- During World War II, the US manufactured 47 billion rounds of small-arms ammunition, enough to kill everybody on Earth at the time 20 times.
- In the 1980s Nature published a letter claiming that even if SDI worked, the destroyed missiles would spread millions of lethal doses of plutonium across the globe. I then wrote a letter (on my trusty Commodore 64) pointing out that the plutonium in question would be no more radioactive than the radon naturally present in the air. They not only printed it; I even received requests for reprints!
- The original version of this was, of course, the claim “We have enough nuclear weapons to kill everybody on Earth!”