There is plenty of reason for anyone in the world to fear total atomic annihilation. Sure, it was a bit more top of mind during the Cold War. Of course, the seemingly happy trigger fingers in the halls of Earth's strongest nuclear powers do have people on edge in 2024.

The good news is that the threat of nuclear war is significantly lessened because any country that launches a nuclear warhead would likely be retaliated against swiftly. As destructive as nuclear weapons are, they don't wipe out entire countries like the United States, Russia or North Korea and they take a while to execute - which gives more than enough time to have the same experience in the backyard of the first to press the switch.

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It's estimated that there are roughly 14,000 nuclear warheads in the world right now - which is not enough to wipe out humanity even if they were all set off to target the largest number of civilian casualties. Still, the damage and loss of life would be unfathomable even from just one.

Of course, when you think of the potential for nuclear war, you, unfortunately, have to think that the largest cities and strongest military bases are the primary targets - but that is assuming that whatever enemy targetted our country wasn't looking to completely annihilate America with their full nuclear arsenal. This is why tensions in America have been rather high regardless of which state you live in since Russia invaded Ukraine and even before then.

So, narrowing it down to Ohio, would the state be a significant target for a nuclear enemy?

The answer is an unsurprising yes. Ohio is the 7th-most heavily populated state in the country with nearly 12 million people, many of which are condensed to a handful of large cities like Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus with Dayton, Akron, and Toledo all having sizeable populations as well. Cleveland and Akron combine for nearly 500,000 people while Dayton and Cincinnati combine for around 450,000. Columbus is just short of a million and Toledo is very close to Detroit. That is a lot of casualties with only four targets due to the distance.

What about military outposts? If a nuclear enemy was more concerned about America's military might rather than wanton slaughter, they could target strategic military points to weaken America's counter efforts. The most significant is the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. The other is Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base in Columbus. Kent State's school newspaper actually warned that these bases would be notable targets back in 1981.

It is worth noting that despite these factors, Business Insider did not recognize Ohio as a primary potential nuclear target in 2022 after Russia's nuclear warnings surrounding their conflict with Ukraine. This is because their research indicated that nuclear war would instead target the opposition's nuclear forces, none of which are housed in Ohio for the United States.

Ultimately, it comes down to the intentions of the individual who orders the strike, which is just as unpredictable as nuclear war engaging in the first place - it's either a matter of time, or it'll never happen out of self-preservation.

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