power – strom und macht

A Letter from the Fires of Los Alamos

Susanne Gerber


Hello My Dear Fellows,

Gosh, we are surrounded by fire, big, big fire. Los Alamos and the lab have been evacuated. A fellow at the lab told me during the last fire that no one from the lab can say anything about anything there, but if we seet hem leaving Santa Fe (where many of them live and have been sheltered) we should leave immediately. He told us to have „bug out“ bags ready with our papers, medications, and photos, to secure our pets, to have a full tank of gas, and to be ready to flee withing ten to twenty minutes.  My cousin, Chester, got a 5 micron particle of plutonium in his lung during a similar incident involving radioactive smoke and ash a few years back and it killed his left lung and nearly killed him. People here are still dieing from the last radioactive fire in Los Alamos in 2000. We are reacting with grim good humor. What else can we do? All in all the three huge fires surrounding us are off in the distance and look like giant Mount St Helens erupting constantly. When the smoke plume moves between us and the sun it gives us some much needed shade in these days of 100 degrees plus. We haven’t had any precipitation for six months and the world around us is dry and crackling. Everything glows with the heat long into the night. Spiders and wee bugs come to us when we have a glass of water and sip from the drops of condensation that form on the outside of the glassfor a few seconds before the wind, the light, and the relentless heat suck it away from us. We can’t refuse them. We look to what we think are clouds in the vast hot, blue sky hoping for rain to put these fires out and give us some relief only to realize that these formations are high altitude smoke plumes. Yesterday something like rain fell out of the smoke. It was wet like rain, but it was dirty with ash and left grey spots everywhere it landed. Someone I know was so elated to feel moisture fall from the sky that he drove his car through the sprinkles twice before he realized it wasn’t rain. It was something more sinister. It came to us from the radioactive ravines of Los Alamos where waste has been dumped for sixty years before somebody stepped up and said, „Hey! What the heck are you fellows doing dumping this plutonium and uranium in the watershed?“ Now it comes to us from the sky. Last night someone from a „Watchdog“ group keeping an eye on Los Alamos finally admitted that the lab was the leading producer of nuclear weapons in the world and was expanding. Some of us sat around the computer screen watching the news streaming to us and heard this. There was an audible sigh in the room. To finally hear someone admit this was somehow a relief. Someone noted that some of the biggest nuclear facilities in the world seem to be under attack from nature as if Mother Earth were saying, „I’ve been telling you nuclear power isn’t a good idea.“ Again, another sigh. If something were to happen to us here in Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado as a result of this latest intervention on the part of Nature, I ask that you remember us as loving people just like you. We lived our lives. We loved. We struggled with all those human travails, but in the end all we wanted was to make a difference to someone somehow. We just wanted to love and to be loved in return. We were just like you.


Filed under: Accident, Danger, Radiation

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