Phew! Good to know we have a strong terrorist deterrent here. Seen just outside of Iowa City:

You just can’t make this stuff up…

Comments

  1. #1 Guitar Eddie
    March 27, 2006

    Yeah. It’s a little naive, but I grew up in town that ended up a pin on the Soviet Map. Corpus Christi, Texas had a naval air station that became a home port for nuclear submarines. And Austin, TX had Bergstrom Air Force Base (now an Internationa Airport)in which it had been rumored that we had nuclear missiles.

    All in all, I am quite thankful Russia had Gorbachev instead of Stalin. Stalin would have called Reagan’s bluff, if you know what I mean.

    I think the current gumbas in D.C. would like the terrorist to have to have nukes because it would so much easier to annihialate some third world country. There are elements in the this country who would like to see a nuclear exchange because they want hasten the return of their Master.

    GE

  2. #2 Craig Pennington
    March 27, 2006

    I doubt very seriously that the target of that message is anyone other than the US government and the voting public. In my neck of the woods, Takoma Park, Maryland has been a Nuclear Free Zone since 1983 — back when we were worrying about Red Dawn rather than Islam-o-fascists. Perhaps silly, but not as silly as expecting terrorists to obey street signs.

  3. #3 Duane
    March 27, 2006

    According to Dumb Laws, Chico California imposes a $500.00 fine for detonating a nuclear device within the city limits.

  4. #4 ericnh
    March 27, 2006

    Maybe I should move to one of these “nuclear-free zone” towns. I’m assuming they have deflector shields or something similar to keep wind-blown fallout at bay.

  5. #5 Tara C. Smith
    March 27, 2006

    I’m assuming they have deflector shields or something similar to keep wind-blown fallout at bay.

    Right, uh-huh…

    And Craig, I doubt that as well–but no matter who it’s targeted to, doesn’t it just seem a bit bizarre and totally ineffective? Strange anyone would even waste the time to make them and put them up.

  6. #6 Dave S.
    March 27, 2006

    Is that really the best they could do with a mushroom cloud graphic? Looks kinda weird to me….

  7. #7 Tara C. Smith
    March 27, 2006

    Yeah, it kind of has that Sideshow Bob feel to it…

  8. #8 Nathan Myers
    March 27, 2006

    A nuke-free zone isn’t a place where nukes can’t be detonated. It’s a place where you’re not welcome to carry them. At a port city, that makes some sense: Navy ships carrying them aren’t welcome to dock. Aircraft carrying them aren’t welcome to land. Trucks carrying them will need to find a different route. This isn’t about new-style terrorism, it’s about militarism, which remains an enormously bigger threat to Americans and the world, FOX News notwithstanding.

  9. #9 clark@lextek.com
    March 27, 2006

    While I agree they are silly and ineffective, as I recall the original point was to try and stop military trucks and so forth from coming through back in the 1980′s. They were part of the unilateral disarmament movement of the Reagan era. I believe that in some cases, primarily ports, that it became quite controversial because military ships would come through. Clearly the Navy wouldn’t say what ships did or didn’t have nuclear weapons.

    In practice though I think any such attempt to ban nuclear weapons would be unconstitutional. So they are simply a silly heritage of some of the attempts to rally support against Reagan during the cold war. Now, 15 years later, they seem that much more silly.

  10. #10 Tara C. Smith
    March 27, 2006

    I suppose the military truck explanation makes a bit more sense, but still–wouldn’t you want something a bit more than a road sign? And that’s the only one I’ve ever seen around town, and it’s not even on the largest road through the city. Still just a bit strange to me.

  11. #11 Dave S.
    March 27, 2006

    Tara writes:

    I suppose the military truck explanation makes a bit more sense, but still–wouldn’t you want something a bit more than a road sign? And that’s the only one I’ve ever seen around town, and it’s not even on the largest road through the city. Still just a bit strange to me.

    Oh yeah, it is a real thing. NWFZ’s have been set up by treaty since the 50′s as part of the non-proliferation effort. They are meant as agreements between nations, although sometimes a single nation (like Mongolia) or parts of nations will unilaterally declare themselves NWFZ’s. Partly practical and partly symbolic.

    Some NWFZ’s:

    Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand, some ASIEN countries, Central and South America, most African countries (except South Africa??), Mongolia. Also by agreement the sea bed (which conveniently excludes ships and subs) and space (including the Moon).

  12. #12 Tara C. Smith
    March 27, 2006

    Oh, I believe it’s the real thing–just that a little road sign probably ain’t the best way to get the message out, y’know?

  13. #13 Orac
    March 27, 2006

    Yeah, back in the 1980′s, when I was at the University of Michigan, there were signs declaring Ann Arbor a “nuclear-free zone.” Back in my snotty youthfulness, I sneered at them as silly and downright idiotic–as if, were there a nuclear war between the then Soviet Union and the U.S., Ann Arbor would somehow be protected. It was even sillier because there were no Air Force bases around and no body of water bigger than the Huron River (which isn’t that big), meaning no Naval ships could pass through. I also wondered if it applied to the Physics Department at the University, where nuclear research was going on.

    It was impossible not to make fun of the ex-hippies who passed such laws. Even the liberals (the vast majority of the students, some of whom were building shanties in the middle of the Diag to protest South African Apartheid, which was the big cause du jour at the time) thought such laws were silly.

    Twenty years later, I still think such laws and declarations are just as idiotic and pointless as I did then.

  14. #14 Dave S.
    March 27, 2006

    Tara writes:

    Oh, I believe it’s the real thing–just that a little road sign probably ain’t the best way to get the message out, y’know?

    What if it glowed in the dark? :)

    Anyhoo, update: apparently South Africa had 6 nukes (they were working…maybe…with the Israelis), but dismantled them all and promised no more. So far, they are the only country to give them all up cold turkey.

  15. #15 Peter Lund
    March 27, 2006

    Kazakhstan? After the break up of the Soviet Union, the nukes ended up in Russia and two other members of the SNG, one of them being Kazakhstan. As far as I recall they gave them up rather quickly and painlessly (in return for some economic compensation, AFAIR).

  16. #16 Steven C
    March 27, 2006

    This type of sign is more of an expression of local desire for a nuclear weapons free world. Wellington (NZ) went nuclear free in the late 1970s/early 80s and the whole of New Zealand went nuclear weapons and power free in 1985 or 1986. There is little practical impact of these other than making an international statement of the opinions on nuclear technology

  17. #17 John Wilkins
    March 27, 2006

    During the 1970s, there was a movement of radical thinking in local councils in Melbourne, Australia, leading to a number of councils declaring their jurisdictions nuclear-free zones. This was intended to be a symbolic rejection of nuclear weapons and nuclear power (although so far as I know nuclear paower is till the safest and cleanest power source, but let’s leave that to one side). But the only practical result was that nuclear materials used in medicine were no longer able to be carried to the hospitals in those councils’ regions. Much joy was no doubt had by the leukemia sufferers, the people who needed radioactive dye tags to isolate strokes, and so forth.

    I worked at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for a few years. The problems that the Melbourne City Council policy caused for our radiation sources when they needed to be renewed were legion.

  18. #18 Ktesibios
    March 28, 2006

    So if you keep driving down the same road, do you eventually come to another sign, which says:

    END NUCLEAR WEAPON FREE ZONE
    RESUME LAUNCHING MISSLES

    ?

  19. #19 Tara C. Smith
    March 28, 2006

    Heh. :) I’ve never seen another similar sign in town–only on that one road, and no end of it in sight.

  20. #20 Mary Box
    June 14, 2006

    You can’t be 16804 serious?!?