05 Feb 2006

NIMBY in Livermore, CA

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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has among its supplies significant quantities of plutonium, potentially useful to terrorists. Consequently, the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration are installing a defensive battery of Dillon Aero M134D Gatling guns, six barreled, electrically driven machine guns chambered in 7.62mm NATO (.308 Winchester) able to fire at a fixed rate of 3000 shots per minute.

The SF Chronicle, in characteristic MSM fashion, feigns neutrality, but gives prominence in its coverage to the clueless and the cowardly.

Word that Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory will install a battery of machine guns capable of spitting out 66 rounds a second with a range of nearly a mile was met by relief by some who think the weapons will deter terrorists but fear by others who worry they’ll be caught in the line of fire…

“I don’t think that’s cool at all — it’s going to be hitting my roof while I’m sleeping,” 23-year-old Daniel Cross said Friday after learning that his home on Shelley Street is within range of the weapon’s 7.62mm bullets.

His friend, Justin Blake, 21, let out some expletives as he tinkered with a Jeep Cherokee outside his friend’s home, where an American flag flies prominently.

“I ain’t seen nothing like that at the lab,” he said, marveling at the weapon’s firepower with a laugh and a shake of his head. “That’s pretty sick. I don’t think anyone’s gonna come into Livermore. I don’t think they need those Gatling guns.”

The leftwing paper throws in enough hints for the discerning reader to get the point:

The thought that Livermore, population 80,000, has an arsenal capable of shooting down a helicopter seems at odds with its motto of being “a friendly, dynamic community.”..

As for those concerned about bullets raining down on their homes, (Livermore Vice Mayor) Leider laughed.

“If they were firing something, I’m sure they would aim correctly and not just spray the rounds all over the place,” Leider said. “I have pretty good faith in that.”

CNN reports similarly, “balancing” the rational explanation:

“What we want to do is equip our protective force with the capability that will leave no doubt about the outcome,” said Linton Brooks, head of the National Nuclear Security Administration.

with the local moon bat activist perspective:

Lab critics questioned the wisdom of putting such powerful guns at the lab, which is across the street from suburban homes. They say the real problem is that the lab site, which is relatively small at 1 square mile, is not a good place for nuclear materials.

“If you don’t have the firepower, that’s one kind of security weakness, but if you do have the firepower, you potentially endanger nearby workers and community members because it’s such a compact site,” said Marylia Kelley, executive director of Tri-Valley CARES, a Livermore-based activist group.

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