Oppose research facility

Friday, Feb. 27, 2009

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On Feb. 24, residents in the Nanjemoy area gathered en masse to hear the presentation made by the Washington Security Group in support of its bid to construct what I believe is best described as a "mall cop playground."

The presentation was chock full of military techno-speak, assurances to the residents that the facility will in no way harm the environment or disturb their peaceable enjoyment of the natural beauty that is Nanjemoy.

If that wasn't enough, we were treated to an explanation of how the county's failure to grant the exemption thus allowing the construction of the facility will somehow jeopardize national security as well as the safety and security of those protecting American interests abroad. Phooey.

To suggest that this group and more specifically, this training and research facility as described during the presentation, will be superior to that operated by the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies in nearby Quantico, Va., the U.S. Army at Blossom Point, Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technical Center in Stump Neck, the Naval Support Facility in Indian Head, the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Va., the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis and the LEO training facility in Doncaster offends sensibility.

The only possible advantage this proposal represents not resident in the others lies solely in its ability to line the pockets of the operators.

Despite the claims to the contrary, the proposed facility will most certainly have a negative impact on the movement, habitat and migratory patterns of wildlife in the surrounding areas.

To suggest that the sounds of approaching and departing helicopters, airplanes, gunshots and screeching tires emanating from a site six days a week from dawn til dusk will somehow go unnoticed by deer capable of hearing a twig snap underfoot at more than 100 yards is in a word, ridiculous.

The proposed facility is in close proximity to at least one state public hunting area, a fact not mentioned by the WSG during the presentation.

This proposal does nothing to bring decent jobs to the county beyond those (by their own admission) possibly offered to "youths" who will change targets and police spent brass on the firing range.

It will increase traffic on our narrow, winding and in many areas, poorly maintained county roads in the form of dozens of SUVs laden with muscled-up, paramilitary mercenaries, their weapons, ammo and God only knows what else.

I urge the board of appeals to deny the special exception; the residents of Nanjemoy do not wish to be neighbors to the wannabe Blackwater, WSG.

John Swann, Nanjemoy