We were watching an old Twilight Zone episode the other day with my son, Evan. It was one of the original series in black and white. He has enjoyed the stories in the past so we thought he'd like this one, too.
It was the story about a group of families in a suburban neighborhood back in the 60's when we thought about nuclear war more often. One family had gone to the time and expense of building, stocking and maintaining a bomb shelter. The other families knew about it and chose not to build their own. They even joked about it to the father of the family with the shelter. Then, while all the families were at a party at the home of the family with the shelter, an alert came on TV about a possible nuclear strike headed toward the country. Everyone leaves and the family with the shelter begins to prepare to seal up the shelter and prepare for the worst.
But one by one, the other families show up asking to be let into the shelter. They are turned away because the shelter will only hold one family and only has previsions for them. The other families plead with them offering to supply food and help and to not be trouble. When they continue to be refused and more families show up, anger begins to take over. The outside families at first start to fight among themselves trying to show how their family deserves to be included in the shelter and the others don't. Finally, the families outside begin to get violent and try to not only break down the shelter door (of course, removing any benefit of the shelter) and attacking other families who came late to request help. The final scene is an announcement that the alert was a false alarm. There were no missiles on the way. The families disperse with a few apologies.
Evan was visibly upset. "I didn't like that episode," my 13-year son said. "That's exactly the way people would react, Dad!" It's too bad he's already come to that conclusion. I would hope it would be different but somehow I doubt it.