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Breaking Through the Normalcy of Los Alamos on Hiroshima Day


Breaking Through the Normalcy of Los Alamos on Hiroshima Day

Rev. John Dear

Driving up the two-lane mountain road along the red and orange wall of rocks on one side and the shocking sheer cliff down to the sagebrush valley far below on the other into the surreal town of Los Alamos, New Mexico, one would think—life is good, all is well, the world is beautiful, this is the true landscape of peace, the best of North America—and you would be right.


The Key words of the 2018 and 2020 elections must be, No More!


As long as folk like Russell Gasckenback can carry out such crimes against humanity with impunity, there will be more horrors of this nature.


Not surprising that Dear and the other protesters don’t get thumbs up from drivers in Los Alamos. Nobody I know (including a couple of friends who grew up there during the 1950s) would want to go near such a hub of evil.

During the 1990s I was employed by a global engineering firm and was offered an “opportunity” to work on nuclear cleanup projects at Hanford WA or Los Alamos NM. “You will have 500 years of job security” a company vice president told me. Needless to say, I found another job many miles from either of those places…with NO job security !


Kudos to the good Rev,. but protesting at Los Alamos seems like a waste of time. How does the saying go: It’s hard to get some one to understand something when their paycheck depends on them not understanding it.
Something like that.


Such an action is never “a waste of time.” The time we have here is very brief and it is best spent in moments at the crossroads of Oppenheimer Way and Trinity Drive. For prophets, it’s mere obedience to the voice of God. Appearing at Heaven’s gate with such a report to give to the Judge will cover over a multitude of sins.


I believe it is, these people have sold their souls for a dollar. The Rev. could be much more productive in communities where the citizens are more likely to listen and under stand his protests.


And that is the problem! How many Russell Gasckenbacks are in todays military who would also have no regrets about using nukes. If that thought does not scare the hell out of one…nothing will!


The good reverend disappoints any intellectually honest person. In the six years that I have been here, the taco Bell he mentions has been unrecognizably changed to a lovely little family-run Mexican restaurant, it’s previous occupancy only known to longtime residents who passed that knowledge to me. His “familiarity” with our town seems lacking. The worst he can say about our (admitedtly overstaffed) police department is that they offered concern. He is correct that privilege and wealth run rampant here. Working in food industry I am familiar with the snobbiness of some employees of Los Alamos National Laboratories. However, there many wonderful and good and sometomes Christian people in this town who impacted my life on ways I could never pay back. The top project in the company when I arrived was developing non-fossil fuels, a part in which many of my high school friends took and earned scholarships to continue their work to better our future. I would invite him to stay and learn about our little town rather than derride so many of us that might otherwise seek to help his cause.


Thanks for this. The way he vilifies Los Alamos suggests to me that he had not actually taken the time to learn about the people or really spend any real time in the town. He doesn’t seem to know anything about the research being done there or has closed his ears to it because it doesn’t align with his narrative. As someone who grew up there, has worked at LANL and had family who still does, I think this article is born from ignorance.


The blatant lies in this article are mind boggling, and everybody drinking it like it’s Kool-Aid. Weapons haven’t been assembled in Los Alamos since the 50s. Although design and production of certain components went much longer. Taco Bell? There hasn’t been a Taco Bell in the town since the early 80s. The little restaurant mentioned above used to be a KFC, but I believe it closed in about 1992. What he fails to mention is all the good the lab brings to the world. How about the HIV vaccine? The sole producer in the world of several different medical isotopes that have saved thousands of lives? Keeping the existing nuclear stockpile safe as it degrades? The MagRay (the newest version of MRI)? The cell sorter (used in just about every single biology lab today)? And countless other space, science, medical, & computing contributions to the world.

Simply put your view is about 3 generations outdated on what Los Alamos really is.


Okay let me start by saying whoever wrote this very obviously drove up Google Maps into Los Alamos there is not or nor has there ever been a Taco Bell (at least in the last 30 years) in Los Alamos if there was I would know I went to high school there and there’s nothing worth eating in that town and yes it is full of white privilege and phds and millionaires but what it’s more full of is poverty I have seen seven-person families living in a studio apartment in that town yes the high school has a near-perfect rating but the way that they achieve that is by driving the students that would not score as high on tests to drop out and the students that should graduate early and move on to college that much faster they fight to keep them in the public school system there I was denied AP credits by graduating early this article is so biased and it honestly sounds like it was pulled from different articles about Los Alamos I don’t believe this person has ever even been to New Mexico if they had they would probably see the level of poverty that there is here and write an article about that about something people actually need to hear not something that somebody has made up and put together in a nice way to make it sound like they are a reporter this is the saddest excuse for journalism I have ever seen it’s called fact-checking


He should do better research on said protests


ReconFire: John Dear’s community is the whole world. Many do listen and understand. Read Ellsberg’s new book, The Doomsday Machine.


It’s just really awful hard to read with understanding when your paycheck depends on your NOT understanding.


Mr. Gasckenback at age 94 hasn’t got much time left to repent. He’d better get down off his horse before he’s knocked off. Can you imagine telling St. Peter, “I was just following orders”?


I seriously wonder if you are dianogsably an idiot. Do you realize that Los Alamos National Labs’ Biology department was the first to sequence the entire human genome? Do you realize that we are starting to make massive breakthroughs in quantum computing? Do you realize that many of our current technologies we love today derive from war? (Computers, the Internet, airplanes, radar, just to name a few.)

Does that mean war and killing is good? Not necessarily, but it certainly isn’t because los Alamos exists that war does. Sure we developed the nuke, that’s our claim to fame. But that doesn’t mean our operations are completely focused on killing people. Maybe if you did some research you’d find out all the projects we are doing today that have huge humanitarian benefits across the globe, from purifying the most contaminated waters to developing efficient renewable energy sources.

Furthermore, let me introduce what I’m sure is a very mind blowing topic for any supporter of this aritcle. It’s called Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). This is the concept that a full out war between any two nuclear capable nations would result in the total destruction of both. THIS IS A MASSIVE DETERRENT FOR WAR. The Cold War may have been a lot bloodier had nukes NOT existed. In fact I think is is completely reasonable, and even proveable to say that the deterrent aspect nuclear weapons has saved far more lives than nukes have ever damaged including dementia.

The world isn’t perfect, stop thinking you can just make everything right by your pitiful little words. So long as there’s disparity there will be conflict, if you can’t wrap that around your head, go write fairytales instead.

You complain about Los Alamos being some death machine but I find it ironic that you are bitching about it by typing on a machine that uses thousands of technologies that stem from the thing you hate. Perhaps what’s most important in this world for resolving conflict is not trying to shut down anything that’s remotely affiliated with weapons. Instead look to grow communities both socially and economically, to respect each other, but sometimes we need to kill. Sometimes we need to intervene in atrocities that others commit, sometimes two ideologies of life that both exist cannot coexist, and sometimes that means war is necessary. Weather by greed, humanity, or self defense, the US were able to liberate Jewish internment camps but with the blood of thousands of Germans on their hands? Was that justified?

Get real.


Geez. I don’t like los Alamos as much as the next kid who was raised here, but it’s not right to generalize a tight knit community. Los Alamos has many flaws. And it would be ridiculous to assume otherwise. But it is unacceptable to state that we are all monsters. Most of us kids didn’t have a choice in being here at all. I agree that nuclear weapons are not the answer, and there are more mature ways to handle these things. But that’s just it. Don’t speak for people you wouldn’t listen to.


The Taco Bell has been gone longer than 6 years. We moved here 12 years ago, and it’s always been Viola’s for me. It’s hard to keep any restaurant for any length of time, and they are a great diner to go to for good food.

People love living here so much that they stay here when they retire. That’s why there’s medical center in the middle of town. Not because of the radiation.

There’s so much wrong with this article. Los Alamos just opened its first liquor store since I’ve been here. There are churches here on almost every corner. It’s a great community to live in. You have to worry more about four-legged animals than two-legged ones, and moving to NM from the 4th largest city in the country, that’s one of the biggest reasons to live here.

The people who live here are not evil, cancer-ridden residents. There are scientists, engineers, small business people, educators, cashiers, stay-at-home mothers, and every other kind of person that lives in every small town in America. The employees of the Lab that I know are the most environmentally conscience people in the country.

I’m responding to the other person who lives here, but this is to support what you stated and to inform the other readers of what it truly means to live here.