Tuesday, November 3, 2009

So much for fences and warning signs keeping people off military bases...trespasser blown to bits at Ft. Bragg ordnance range

Two poignant responses in this Fayetteville Observer article today from Fort Bragg (N.C.) spokesman Tom McCollum, on the death of a civilian trespasser who was blown to shreds on Friday when scavenging for scrap metal and stepping on "unexploded ordnance" on an explosives range within the confines of the 35,000-acre Army base in North Carolina:
  1. "You are going to have death when someone is stupid and walks into these areas."
  2. "We can't control the access to our impact areas...we've done just about everything we can."

As this translates to our civilian housing objections at Weapons Station Earle, and NOPE's view that security forces will never be able to fully stop trespassers once civilians are given keys to the base, we reiterate the point that Lt. Col. Jim Sfayer (retired) made at last Tuesday's NOPE rally (and past NOPE briefings) that, without a full cadre of security personnel, it is impossible to keep trespassers and poachers off military bases as vast as 11,000-acre Mainside Earle and the 35,000-acre Fort Bragg.

As more than a casual observer, it appears ludicrious to us in the case of the accidental death by explosion of a civilian at Bragg for the U.S. Army to take zero accountability for Friday's incident and to write this off as someone for being "stupid." And turning to the Department of Navy's plan to let civilians rent 300 underutilized military houses at NWS Earle, it is ludicrious, as we highlighted on Tuesday night, to expect that Earle can prevent a similar catastrophe by providing unimpeded civilian access to the Laurelwood housing development within its fences.

DO NOT buy the DoN's bill of goods that it can keep us, and NWS Earle, secure by introducing 300 civilian renter families onto the base by September 2010.

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