Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
This is in response to the column on August 11, 2015 “Dropping the bomb: Bo reason to apologize”. The protest in front of Lawrence Livermore Lab (LLL) was not about apologizing, it was about nuclear proliferation. LLL is a main reason for the continuation of nuclear proliferation. We are the only nation on earth that has used a nuclear weapon. The reality is that a nuclear solution could be the end of the world as we know it. According to the nuclear clock we are 3 minutes from midnight.
Besides total nuclear disarmament, the goal is to stop conflicts and find diplomatic solutions. Utopia? Sure, however we want to change the mindset that the only solutions for peace is to build more weapons of mass destruction.
The dropping of the A bomb freed my mother and 5 of my siblings who were imprisoned in a Japanese camp on Java, Indonesia. My father was a prisoner of war on Sumatra. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki benefited my family. I am forever thankful, however you will find me Friday morning before Easter (Good Friday) in front of LLL protesting the nuclear armament race.
Lawrence Livermore Lab is self-described as “a premier institution for science and technology applied to national security. Its principal responsibility is ensuring the safety, security and reliability of the nation’s nuclear weapons through the application of advanced science, engineering and technology”. 83% of its annual funding (almost 1 billion dollars) is for nuclear weapons activity.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist states: “As of mid-2014, it is estimated that there are approximately 16,300 nuclear weapons located at some 98 sites in 14 countries. Roughly 10,000 of these weapons are in military arsenals; the remaining weapons are retired and awaiting dismantlement. Some 1,800 are on high alert and ready for use on short notice. The largest concentrations of nuclear weapons reside in Russia and the United States, which possess 93 percent of the total global inventory. There is considerable uncertainty about the number of Russian nuclear weapons storage sites, but estimates are that Russia today stores nuclear weapons permanently at 40 domestic locations”. Between 2010 and 2015 there were 58 nuclear accidents in the United States of America.
Concerns are not only with nuclear disarmament and safety, but also with nuclear waste cleanup. Site 300, located west of Tracy along Corral Hollow Road and east of Livermore, was named in the federal superfund site, meaning it is listed by the EPA among the nation’s most contaminated locations. The area is called building 812. It is contaminated by having open air blasts with radioactive materials used in nuclear weapons. The site stores radioactive and hazardous waste. Prevailing winds blow contaminants toward Tracy and the Valley. An off-site contaminated underground water plume stretches from Site 300 toward the nearby Corral Hollow creek. Livermore Lab acknowledges the site cleanup will cost approximately $1.8 billion but it is uncertain when and if this site will ever be cleaned up.
Staying “strong” and having (nuclear) weapons will not get us the peace we all are longing for. If peace was to be obtained through wars we should have peace by now. War is not the answer. “The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is only employed by small children and large nations”-David Friedman, or as John F Kennedy said: War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige the warrior does today”.
Until that time we will be at the gates of the Lawrence Livermore Lab, on Good Friday.