Why aren’t more people freaking out about the nuclear warheads sitting 20 miles from downtown Seattle? via The Seattle Times

By Ron Judd


At age 20, the University of Washington senior already has enough experience in anti-nuclear activism to accept the reality: Most local people, natives or newbies, are willfully ignorant about the massive stockpile of nukes — a number sufficient to wipe out a good portion of the planet — sleeping in their midst every day.

Lauw thus leaves herself open to the charge of being Not Much Fun at Parties, one of which she recently dampened by asking celebrants whether they knew about the still-lingering radiation effects of U.S. weapons-testing in Micronesia, nearly seven decades ago.

“People were like, ‘Are you drunk?’ ” she recalls.


The average Puget Sound resident probably spends more time worrying about proper accounting procedures in the occasional Seattle’s Best Burger poll than freaking out about the massive concentration of nuclear warheads sitting 20 miles from downtown Seattle, as the radiation flies.

THAT’S THE FRUSTRATION — and motivation — lurking within a shrunken-but-persistent local peace movement, which blossomed in the late 1970s and early 1980s with large-scale Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Actionprotests of the arrival of the first Ohio-class nuclear-missile submarines at the Naval Base Kitsap (a merger of Naval Station Bremerton and Naval Submarine Base Bangor) on Hood Canal.


The question none of them really wants to ask: In an age when nuclear weapons still linger as a viable threat to humanity, and long-established international orders seem to be tilting, is peace now passé?




“Peace is bad for business, and the truth is a little bit inconvenient,” says Ground Zero’s Murray, who worked as a CIA analyst for two decades before retiring and joining the peace movement. “We always like to remind people when we leaflet — at the (Bangor) base, once a month — that we’re not against them. We’re against the weapons. I’m always surprised at how many thumbs-up and expressions of thanks we get.”





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