The time was 5:30 a.m., Monday morning July 16, 1945. My grandfather, Eugene McKim, Sr., was having breakfast with my grandmother and aunt. My grandfather’s 200 acre property was two miles east of Oscuro, one of the closest towns to the first atomic explosion.
They rushed outside. The sky was red. In the next week the hair on the cattle fell off. They were told it was an ammunition dump, nothing to worry about. Only when two Japanese cities were obliterated did New Mexicans learn their explosion was atomic.
This last weekend there was a protest at the annual Trinity Site visit. A group calling itself Downwinders was protesting that after this atomic device is exploded above ground, there was and is radioactive fallout and illnesses. The government has never addressed the radiation effects on people from the Trinity Site.
It has always been in vogue to talk about radiation in Japan and how those people suffered, but not in New Mexico. Obviously no environmental impact statement was filed before the nuclear test. In the 1970s there was some research on the Chupadera Ridge radiation but not on people.
Generations of New Mexicans have been sickened by the released radiation yet our government turns a blind eye as does the news media and our elected officials. Contrast that with the hoopla last year when a miniscule amount of radiation escaped from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.
The protestors at the Trinity Site visit were noted by the media who otherwise yawned broadly at the spectacle of these people being sickened and killed by the actions of our government. Without the media pushing this, nothing will happen since the political parties feed upon media attention.
So the media could lead the change in the fortunes of these unfortunate citizens. First the media must get their hackles up that all of these people have been harmed and not compensated or helped by our government. The same government throws billions of dollars at many countries who hate the United States. How about a little love for our own citizens?
This is partly personal since I developed the aggressive thyroid cancer that some call Chernobyl cancer because it has been studied downwind of the 1986 nuclear accident in the Ukraine. It hasn’t been studied in the United States like it has in Europe. We could have been studying this in our country but no interest.
In all of the years my cancer and subsequent treatments have cost me lots of money and discomfort. Also my quality of life has been compromised dramatically. Some expenses have been picked up by insurance, but there has not been even a “Sorry” from the government.
Read more at Consequences of Trinity Site in New Mexico