In case you hadn't heard,
last week a US Army base known for testing biological and chemical weapons was put on lockdown after a vial of a deadly nerve agent was discovered to be missing after an inventory check. At 5:30 p.m. mountain time on Wednesday, January 26th, the Dugway Proving Grounds facility in Dugway, Utah was put on full lockdown alert when a vial of deadly VX nerve agent could not be located.
The vial contained about a 1/4 teaspoon of extremely deadly VX nerve agent, which according to the Centers for Disease Control is an odorless, tasteless, man-made chemical warfare nerve agent in an oily liquid that evaporates about as slowly as motor oil. The Dugway installation, about 85 miles from Salt Lake City, has small amounts of chemical and biological weapons for defense testing purposes, and is purported to test conventional military weaponry and ammunition. It also is used by the U.S. Army Reserves and the U.S. National Guard for maneuver training.
In 1968, Dugway became infamous for what came to be known as 'The Dugway Sheep Kill Incident'. In March 1968, 6,249 sheep died in Skull Valley, an area nearly thirty miles from Dugway's testing sites. When examined, the sheep were found to have been poisoned by an organophosphate chemical. The sickening of the sheep coincided with several open-air tests of the nerve agent VX at Dugway. Local attention focused on the Army, which initially denied that VX had caused the deaths, instead blaming the local use of organophosphate pesticides on crops. Necropsies conducted on the dead sheep later definitively identified the presence of VX. The Army never admitted liability, but did pay the ranchers for their losses. On the official record, the claim was for 4,372 "disabled" sheep, of which about 2,150 were either killed outright by the VX exposure or were so critically injured that they needed to be euthanized on-site by veterinarians. Another 1,877 sheep were "temporarily" injured, or showed no signs of injury but were not marketable due to their potential exposure. All of the exposed sheep which survived the initial exposure were eventually euthanized by the ranchers, since even the potential for exposure had rendered the sheep permanently unsalable for either meat or wool.
The 1968 incident, coinciding with the birth of the environmental movement and anti-Vietnam War protests, created an uproar in Utah and the international community. The incident also starkly underscored the inherent unpredictability of air-dispersal of chemical warfare agents, as well as the extreme lethality of next-generation persistent nerve agents at even extremely low concentrations.
After last weeks lockdown, nearly 1,500 employees, including military personnel, contractors and civilian workers reportedly were forced to stay overnight at the facility until the misplaced VX nerve agent was located. Normal traffic entering and exiting Dugway resumed at about 4:30 a.m., mountain time, Thursday, January 27th when apparently the missing vial was finally recovered.
Now, I have to ask, do you feel safer after hearing this, or are you as unnerved (no pun intended) as I am that:
- 1) our government and military still experiment with such highly toxic airborne agents?
- 2) the facilities are within our own borders, not far from populated areas?
- 3) they could so easily lose track of such a potentially lethal compound?
What a wonderful world.
Does any of this frighten you? It should.
The official explaination for such deadly biological and chemical weapons being continually tested and developed is for 'defense purposes'.
Right. Not for our military to ever use them on anyone, oh no. Just so we can learn how to effectively combat such weapons. Guess what? You cannot effectively defend against such biological or chemical weapons entirely, no matter what they may tell you. Their only purpose is to kill. So why do we continue to test and develope these weapons if we don't plan to use them someday? Good question.
Do you think all you need to worry about is foreign-born terrorists killing you? It seems apparent that our own government has that ability as well, so
sweet dreams, America.