First of all, many apologies for all of you loyal blogophiles who came here over the past few days searching, alas, in vain for Friday and Saturday's posts. They were not necessarily representative of my best work, one was about my favorite piano players and their best piano playing moments. The other was a mild rant about urban living, only to be recanted the very next day when it turned out that I just needed to get some rest and stop grousing about every little thing. Still, maybe someday when I am an overpriveliged man of leisure, resting on my creative laurels, I will happily let fly with a bootleg CD of "the Missing Posts."
That being said, let's move on to today's news: "Big guns coming to Lawrence Lab." Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory plans to install high-powered machine guns over the next few months capable of hitting land vehicles or aircraft almost a mile away in the event of a terrorist attack. These things are the real deal - they simultaneously fire 7.6-millimeter bullets from six barrels at up to 4,000 rounds per minute, powerful enough to take down an enemy aircraft or helicopter.
There is a lot of plutonium at the lab, and we don't want anybody getting their grubby little metaphorical hands on it - since if they put their literal hands on it, they would probably immediately begin vomiting and all their hair would fall out.
Not that they're going to have a chance, since the Gatling guns should take care of anybody foolish enough to mess with the boys behind the gate. "A lot of people are willing to die if they can kill lots of Americans ... You want to make clear that when they come here to die (by attacking the lab), they die for a failure,"said Linton Brooks, head of the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration, a quasi-independent agency that oversees the nation's nuclear weapons complex for the U.S. Department of Energy.
It also couldn't hurt to have Arnold Schwarzenegger for your governor, at least when it comes to being properly armed. Still, to keep the plutonium safe, it's all good, right?
How about if you lived across the street from the lab, in a nice little suburban development? A local radio host said, "There's a bunch of half-million dollar homes up there." To which his partner replied, "Not anymore."
No worries, they tell us, since each of the Lab's "couple of hundred" security guards will be thoroughly trained in the use of the new weapons. There is absolutely no way that this could go horribly, horribly wrong - right?
How about removing the temptation? What if there was no plutonium to guard? Turns out, by pure coincidence, the lab is planning on bringing in more plutonium. In November, the Energy Department authorized the lab to increase its amount of stored plutonium to an amount exceeding 3,000 pounds -- enough for as many as about 300 nuclear bombs. Brooks defended the lab's continuing research on plutonium as essential to ensure that U.S. weapons scientists understand better what he characterized as the "nasty, ugly, complicated stuff with a metallurgy I don't pretend to understand." For the most part, I would agree - it all seems like nasty ugly stuff that I don't pretend to understand.