While I was blessing and marrying, about 20 miles away, 350 (?) people protested the war in Jonesborough as part of the protest effort held in several cities across the country today. Protests were held in San Francisco, New York, Boston, and several other big cities. Here is a report from MSNBC. So why Jonesborough?
Here is a report from today's rally in Jonesborough from Tricities.Com (Bristol Herald/Channel 11 Johnson City). Oddly enough the reporter said nary a word about the reason Jonesborough was selected.
Let's see if there are other reports. Nothing yet in the JC Press. Nor the Kingsport Times News. The day is not over. Perhaps stories are being written.
It is kind of at least a curiosity story. Why of the eleven major cities was Jonesborough, TN worth the effort of the organizers of United for Peace and Justice? Is not anyone even slightly curious?
Perhaps Jonesborough was selected because it is the host of the National Storytelling Festival? Maybe because it has quaint little shoppes downtown? Might not a local reporter wonder why a little Dogpatch like Jonesborough was chosen? If I were a reporter, I think I would ask that question.
To the unasked question, here is the answer. Jonesborough is home to an Aerojet plant. This is from their homepage:
Aerojet continues to meet emerging defense and aerospace propulsion needs and is well-positioned to benefit from the increased focus on and funding of defense and space programs.Here is a hot tip for investors. You can make money with these guys.
Jonesborough is one of Aerojet's locations. The Jonesborough location is called Aerojet Ordinance. Here they use depleted uranium to make the hard shell for projectiles. Depleted Uranium (DU) is the by-product of a uranium nuclear reaction.
The problem with DU is that it is radioactive. Don't be fooled by the word, "depleted." This is from the Military Analysis Network:
In military applications, when alloyed, Depleted Uranium [DU] is ideal for use in armor penetrators. These solid metal projectiles have the speed, mass and physical properties to perform exceptionally well against armored targets. DU provides a substantial performance advantage, well above other competing materials. This allows DU penetrators to defeat an armored target at a significantly greater distance. Also, DU's density and physical properties make it ideal for use as armor plate. DU has been used in weapon systems for many years in both applications.
Depleted uranium results from the enriching of natural uranium for use in nuclear reactors. Natural uranium is a slightly radioactive metal that is present in most rocks and soils as well as in many rivers and sea water. Natural uranium consists primarily of a mixture of two isotopes (forms) of uranium, Uranium-235 (U235) and Uranium-238 (U238), in the proportion of about 0.7 and 99.3 percent, respectively. Nuclear reactors require U235 to produce energy, therefore, the natural uranium has to be enriched to obtain the isotope U235 by removing a large part of the U238. Uranium-238 becomes DU, which is 0.7 times as radioactive as natural uranium. Since DU has a half-life of 4.5 billion years, there is very little decay of those DU materials. (Read More)
According to professor Marc Herold of the University of New Hampshire:
DU burns intensely and is very hard. DU is also much cheaper than the substitute metal, tungsten. In effect, the U.S. military is trading off lower costs for increased health hazards. The health dangers of using DU-munitions have now been widely recognized, hotly debated and reported upon and need not be repeated here. Beyond just the health consequences, DU-munitions must be considered weapons of mass destruction insofar as the consequences of their usage are indiscriminate. (Read More)The radioactive dust is blown in the wind. Not only are innocent civilians harmed but even our own soldiers are suffering the effects and have been for some time.
But then again. Aerojet is a nice place. You can have a good career there. It brings jobs and money to East Tennessee. Our reporters know not to ask too many questions.
For those still curious, here are some links about Depleted Uranium:
YouTube video by Dr. Doug Rokke (U.S. Army Health Physicist and Nuclear Medicine Sciences Officer)
Depleted Uranium Education Project
Military Analysis Network
Campaign Against Depleted Uranium
Deployment Health Clinical Center