Thursday, May 12, 2005

WMD Found

This caught my eye because I was born in Richmond, Kentucky.

RICHMOND, Ky. - Vapor from the deadly nerve agent sarin leaked from a stockpile of old rockets at the Blue Grass Army Depot, but officials said it posed no danger to the public.
The sarin vapor did not escape the sealed container, or 'igloo,' where the weapons are kept. Officials were filtering the air inside the igloo Tuesday before trying to enter the structure to secure the leaky rocket.
Workers discovered the leak when they tested the air inside the igloo, said Richard Sloan, public affairs officer for Blue Grass Chemical Activity, the Army unit charged with monitoring and securing chemical weapons.
The igloo, which contains about 2,500 rockets, is monitored daily because rockets there have leaked in the past, Sloan said."

My family moved away from Kentucky when I was a kid, but the roots are still there. I've been thinking lately about how well Kentucky has managed to reconcile vice and virtue, politically, economically and socially.
Think about it. When you hear the state mentioned, the first three associations are horses, whiskey and tobacco. We used to joke about "fast women and beautiful horses." But I can tell you from personal experience that none of these vices did much to damage the integrity of faith and family values. I don't know exactly why that is. All I can tell you is that the people who earn their living making whiskey, raising tobacco or taking care of horses don't see those enterprises as vices. They are the way the rent is paid, just like working in famously dangerous, dirty, polluting coal mines. Or quietly stewarding the nation's dirty little defense secrets.

I guess that's part of the reason for my own political detachment. You can't live without faith and you can't live without a roof over your head. When your livelihood and your faith collide, all you can do is embrace both and hope for God's grace. That's why farmers who produce narcotics from Mexico to Afghanistan to Columbia to who-knows-where are not, for the most part, addicted to the substances they bring to market.

Vices are a luxury. Whether gambling or smoking or drinking the best whiskey, you gotta have money to do it right. Rarely do those who service those vices allow themselves to indulge.

Credit where credit is due: I got this link from South Knox Bubba who is on my Bloglines aggregator. Local blogs are a repository of information that is "under the radar" for most other places. I keep an eye on Knoxville thinking that something in the water might be contributing to the breathtaking and ongoing success of Instapundit. So far, no clues, but SKB makes for a great read.

Anyhow, he had another interesting link that illustrates how the servicing-vice/paying-the-rent connection works. The Oak Ridge facility has quietly been taking care of the nation's nuklar business for decades now, but apparently not without some environmental risks. Lots of folks around there also pay the rent by servicing this enterprise. Here's another interesting piece...
Don't miss the comments.
And don't be fooled by all that good ole boy talk. There's no flies on them.

Update, November 2006
The original links no longer work, so I put another link into the first one that provides the same information.
The Oak Ridge reference from South Knox Bubba is probably out there somewhere, but I didn't take time to look it up. The reader can get the idea anyway. Pretty much the same old story. This link is about the same topic but without the Good Old Boy talk.

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