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Interview with Cecil C. Garland, July 19, 2006

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2006-07-19
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Narrator affiliation: Rancher, Anti-nuclear activist
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Garland, Cecil C. Interview, 2006 July 19. MS-00818. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada. http://n2t.net/ark:/62930/d1w37m674

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Nevada Test Site Oral History Project University of Nevada, Las Vegas Interview with Cecil Garland July 19, 2006 Callao, Utah Interview Conducted By Leisl Carr © 2007 by UNLV Libraries Oral history is a method of collecting historical information through recorded interviews conducted by an interviewer/ researcher with an interviewee/ narrator who possesses firsthand knowledge of historically significant events. The goal is to create an archive which adds relevant material to the existing historical record. Oral history recordings and transcripts are primary source material and do not represent the final, verified, or complete narrative of the events under discussion. Rather, oral history is a spoken remembrance or dialogue, reflecting the interviewee’s memories, points of view and personal opinions about events in response to the interviewer’s specific questions. Oral history interviews document each interviewee’s personal engagement with the history in question. They are unique records, reflecting the particular meaning the interviewee draws from her/ his individual life experience. Produced by: The Nevada Test Site Oral History Project Departments of History and Sociology University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 89154- 5020 Director and Editor Mary Palevsky Principal Investigators Robert Futrell, Dept. of Sociology Andrew Kirk, Dept. of History The material in the Nevada Test Site Oral History Project archive is based upon work supported by the U. S. Dept. of Energy under award number DEFG52- 03NV99203 and the U. S. Dept. of Education under award number P116Z040093. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in these recordings and transcripts are those of project participants— oral history interviewees and/ or oral history interviewers— and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U. S. Department of Energy or the U. S. Department of Education. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 1 Interview with Cecil Garland July 19, 2006 Conducted by Leisl Carr Table of Contents Introduction: birth in Cincinnati, OH, youth in NC during the Great Depression, military service with the U. S. Army Air Force ( enlisted 1942), service in England and visits to the European continent 1 Talks about life and values during the Great Depression, and compares that to America today 2 Reflects on the importance of education, and talks about his own formal education 4 Moves to Las Vegas, NV, goes to work for the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino ( 1946) 5 Reminisces on early Las Vegas: hotel- casinos, entertainment 6 Observation of above ground tests in Las Vegas, and the “ toxicity of victory” as it affected the Downwinders 8 Moves to Lincoln, MT ( 1956), goes to work for U. S. Forest Service and opens general merchandise store, campaigns for conservation of Lincoln backcountry wilderness area in Montana 10 Talks about Las Vegas, problems with water, and relationship between city and rural areas re: water allotment 13 Downwinders, Mormons, their trust in federal government, MX missile 15 Talks about the “ military mind” re: justification for warfare and weapons testing 17 Discusses the fight to oppose placing the MX in the Snake River Valley 20 Campaign against Anaconda Mining Co. at Alice Creek in Montana 21 Remembers environmentalist Edward Abbey and talks about the environmental movement in America and his own environmentalism, including the fight for the Lincoln backcountry in Montana 22 Returns to Las Vegas, SNWA, and water issue involving Snake Valley in Utah 26 Conclusion: Final thoughts on government, and the cost of good government 29 UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 1 Interview with Cecil Garland July 19, 2006 in Callao, UT Conducted by Leisl Carr [ 00: 00: 00] Begin Track 2, Disc 1. Leisl Carr: All right, we’re good. Go ahead. Cecil Garland: Well, my name is Cecil Garland. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. That’s always been a kind of an embarrassment to me, to be born in the territory of the Yankees, but my dad and mother happened to be there at the time. We returned back to the hills of North Carolina where I really belonged and where I grew up. In 1942, I believe, I hitchhiked from Asheville down to Greenville, South Carolina and at seventeen joined the United States Army Air Force as a cadet. As it turned out, the Army didn’t need cadets, so they washed out 36,000 of us for the convenience of the government. I went to England as a mechanic and spent a big share of my time in the service in England. It was a delightful experience. I loved England. Then I went on over to the Continent right after the war and spent some time in France and Germany and Belgium. For a young man who hadn’t reached his twenty- first birthday by the time I got out, it was all very interesting and educational. [ Telephone rings] [ 00: 01: 49] End Track 2, Disc 1. [ 00: 00: 00] Begin Track 3, Disc 1. That’s the place to start. That’s the place to start. Your background kind of provides color to your positioning with reference to some of these other stories. Well, I grew up in a time of extreme contrast to the day in which we live today. The Smoky Mountains, the section that is called Appalachia by other people, it’s probably the poorest section UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 2 of the country. It was in the Depression. People did everything they could reasonably, including making good whiskey. That’s important, by the way. Good whiskey’s important. Yeah, I guess. And they thought so too. Absolutely. Actually it’s white whiskey— you know, homemade whiskey is the only whiskey I really ever enjoyed. I guess that’s because that’s the way you grew up. Right. But anyhow, it was the Depression. Not only in terms was it an economic kind of depression, but you could become depressed also. So you had to work against that, and one of the things you had to do was— you know, my mother died when I was eight years old simply because there probably wasn’t the right kind of medicine or doctor available. So it would be pretty easy for a kid to say to hell with the whole thing, it hasn’t treated me fairly. That is the sort of thing I hear today and it’s almost incomprehensible to me because I can’t understand. In those days— as an example perhaps of what I’m trying to say— is that we did everything we could to dress neatly and to keep ourselves somewhat clean. We wore butch haircuts and that sort of thing. And now in contrast, and in a time of just fantastic affluence, we see— I see— young people, and old people also, I mean people of all ages who make themselves totally, utterly ridiculous. They look filthy, and of course this is not everyone. But it is a kind of a sign of the time, to use a worn- out cliché. And so I have come to grieve for my country. It’s very difficult to take a young kid, seventeen, eighteen years old, and tell him all his life what a wonderful country that he lives in, and then live to be eighty years old and see what your country has become. And you can only UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 3 grieve. You can’t really feel good about it. And as much time as I spend on it, I don’t really know the answer. It seems to be a kind of— as Oswald Spengler said, history is biology. I guess the seeds of our own destruction, it has been said many times, are sown within us. They mature at a rate, in a kind of a speed that’s predictable. And certainly there are wiser people than I am that have predicted that it would happen. For many, many years I was an atheist, an agnostic; I paid little or no attention to it. But one time, in my mind, there was something that forced itself upon my thinking, and that was the simple fact that the further we got away from the teachings of our [ 00: 05: 00] Savior, a man erroneously called Jesus, the more trouble we got into. And I see that we have almost abandoned His principles and His teachings. We, my beloved United States, has come to torture people. It’s killed people in the most hideous, destructive sort of way. And we do all of this under the pretence that we’re doing some good in the world. How one stretches his imagination to encompass that kind of a belief, I simply don’t understand it. Where was we? Tell me a little bit about your education. I’m surprised, actually, that you’ve read Spengler. Well, you shouldn’t be. No, I guess I shouldn’t. One of the things that bothers me a little bit about academia is that somehow or another, once they have assumed that they have certain numbers or letters behind their name, that they are in effect beyond reproach; that they are the sole recipient and caretakers of all intelligence. That’s not really so. I have known a good deal of Ph. D. s, for instance, and I enjoy them. Some of them are quite intelligent. Some of them are just incredible bores. So the desire to know, the desire to learn is perhaps innate. It probably is innate. I think we are largely what we inherit. If that wasn’t UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 4 so, if socioeconomics was the criteria by which, and the environment was totally all we judged people by, then I couldn’t own a ranch and my cattle and have married a lovely Mormon woman in Utah [ wife Annette Garland]. I would’ve been confined to that socioeconomic situation in which I found myself originating in. And that’s just not the case. So the desire to know and the desire to learn is, as I say, perhaps natural with us. The single greatest thing that’s, I think, given to Man is his ability to print and to read, to pass that information. Information and truth of all kinds is absolutely a priceless thing to have. The human mind, so we are told, can absorb some seven trillion bits of information, but we use so little of that. That’s a tragic thing. And reading and understanding, how could you go through life without reading? Perhaps not being totally devoted to the reading of the works of Shakespeare or Milton or Thomas Wolfe, who came from where I came from, I wouldn’t want to ignore those people that wrote and have written so very well. So my education, in the formal sense of the word, is when I was thirteen years old my dad— and I’d been kind of kicked around from my aunts to uncles to, you know, wherever— and my dad took me to a Presbyterian boarding school for the poor kids, when I was thirteen years old, and he left me there. He said— I can remember well, he said, Son, this is the best thing I can do for you, and he left. He was a great man in his own way. He had this terrible weakness for that good old corn whiskey. But he left, and I’ve taken it since from there. I managed to graduate from high school, probably two reasons. I could play football pretty well, and they figured I’d get killed in World War II, so they gave me a diploma. They didn’t figure it’d make any difference. And that’s the extent of formal education. I came home from the war and everybody said, well, you’ve got to go to— you can go on the GI Bill and go to school. So [ 00: 10: 00] I went to a UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 5 small junior college in western North Carolina, supposedly to catch up on some credits. But I figured I should drop out and give those professors a chance to catch up. They just were really behind the whole thing. So then I hitchhiked out to Las Vegas and went to work in a gambling house. Now that in its way is a form of education. Yeah. I’m learning that quickly. Yeah. I went to work as a shill for $ 6.00 a day in a gambling house, and then would do various errands and chores. Might be interesting for me to tell you this, but one of the things I did when I worked for the Golden Nugget right after it was first established— well, as a shill. But I would do all kinds of errands for them, including picking up the boss’s girlfriend and taking her shopping. Who was the boss? Well, there were several. Guy McAfee was kind of the originator of the Golden Nugget. He was an ex- policeman, captain in charge of the police force in Los Angeles who was requested to leave the Los Angeles area; I think that’s sufficient. He brought a cadre of other people with him, and they opened the Golden Nugget. And one of the things that I had to do— in those days we dealt with silver dollars. Silver dollars in our right hand and checks in our left hand. Silver dollars were not really something that people thought an awful lot of. They were heavy and so most people actually preferred paper. But I would take this cart. It was a flat cart like you’d see in the big shopping centers. Not a basket cart but the big cart you roll. I’d take that and go up the street a block to First Street— on Fremont Street this was— and then I’d cross the street at the red light and go over to the Nevada Bank which was on the corner. I’d go in and they would load up that cart with silver dollars. And you know I’d have, I have no idea, but there’d be twenty or thirty bags of silver dollars. I’d pull UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 6 that back out into the street, go across the street, and back down into the Golden Nugget, and nobody ever thought a thing about it. I had no gun, I had no protection, didn’t need any. That was the kind of world it was then. And it was a better world. People thought more of themselves, thought more of their country. It’s a country, a time that I’d prefer over what I see now. This is back when Vegas was really a small town. Right, it was more of a railroad town in those times. The dam had been built there and it had had an uproarious time during the dam when they built Boulder Dam. And then it had kind of died away and become a sleepy little railroad town again. You would’ve been there around late forties, early fifties? I came to Vegas in 1946. I hitchhiked all the way across the United States from North Carolina. And you could do that in those days. I didn’t worry about who picked me up or anything like that. Nobody ever bothered me. Just conversation and, well, this is as far as I go, you got out, stuck your thumb out again, and kept going on down the road. That’s great. And so after I broke in, in the Nugget, Benjamin Siegel was doing the Flamingo; that was an interesting time in Las Vegas. He didn’t like to be called Bugsy; he liked to be called Benjamin Siegel. He was a tall, good- looking Jew. He had been in charge of the Garment Union in New York, so he was picked because of his good personality to come out. [ 00: 15: 00] At that time there was really only two hotel- casinos on the Strip. One was the El Rancho and the Last Frontier. They were just glorified motels that they had attached a casino to them, and a dining room. And you could go out and eat in the evening. If you went to the dinner show, it was expected that you have a meal, but if you went to the late show, you could go in and UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 7 sit down and buy a drink and watch the show. You could watch Frank Sinatra if you chose to; which I didn’t, incidentally. Really. Not once? Not once. He was just not my favorite person. He sang very well, but I didn’t care for him. I don’t know if you ever heard Les Paul of Les Paul and Mary Ford. They were my favorite. I would always go see Les Paul and Mary Ford. He was a tremendous guitar player and she had one of the most beautiful voices of any woman I think I’ve ever heard. And so, you know, that’s a personal preference. I partied, raised my share of hell, of course, much to my regret; on some of it, I wished I hadn’t had. But, you know, you don’t waste a lot of time on that kind of stuff. Sure. No. How long were you in Las Vegas? Off and on for ten years. I didn’t ever go back after ’ 56. For one thing, drugs, which were pretty well unheard of in Vegas, you would see a junkie here and there but you didn’t pay any attention to them. But then it became ever more pervasive. And then pretty soon you had hustling broads all over. They had a whorehouse out at Roxie’s, or Four Mile, it was called, and it was owned by the sheriff, Glenn Jones [ sp]. He kept a really nice town, he didn’t let hustling broads on the street, and if they did he would go and have one of the deputies or somebody would go to them and say, Listen, lady, that’s not the way it is. So the next time we catch you here, you know, it won’t be the same way as it is now, whatever they said. So it was a nice, clean little town. There was no drugs. I spent an awful lot of time out on the Colorado River fishing and on Lake Mead fishing. It was wonderful, beautiful fishing. Incidentally, they had water in the reservoir at that time. And then came, you know, the advent of the bombs. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 8 Did you see? Oh yes. Tell me about that. Well, they would announce that they were going to drop a bomb from a B- 29, for instance, and that you’d probably be able to see it from Las Vegas. So I lived in a little housing project down in North Las Vegas. I had gotten married then and had a couple of kids, I guess. And so I got up on top of the roof and watched the B- 29 go over and then watch them drop the bomb; watched it explode and watched the cloud go up. It was a really beautiful, clear day. But I worked [ then] for Benny Binion downtown, and they would announce, In the morning we’re going to have an atomic test, at a certain time, and they’d tell you the time. The first thing you’d see was the flash, so it’d be about four o’clock in the morning somewhere. You’d see this brilliant flash, like lightning. And then you’d count, one, two, three, four. About four- and- a- half seconds, you’d feel the tremble. The glass doors would weave in and out and the earth would shake and we’d say, well, that’s another one. But the significant thing about that, if the weather changed, they would call it off. In other words, if the wind changed in any direction whatsoever, except straight north [ 00: 20: 00] towards Utah— or northeast towards Utah— then they shut it down. They didn’t hold it. Which sort of puts the lie to the fact that they didn’t know what the hell they were doing to the people up here. Because they did know what they were doing. You can’t tell me that people like [ J. Robert] Oppenheimer, who had already tried to say, this is bad stuff, and others, you know. But at the same time, you must consider sort of the mentality of the time. I call it the “ toxicity of victory.” Sometimes it’s almost better to be the loser than it is to be the victor because the victors are given the option of writing history and that makes liars of them, first UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 9 thing, number one. The other thing in the toxicity of victory is that it gives you a kind of a hubris that you neither deserve nor is in effect good for you; nor is it good for the way you see things. So here we had tended to carry over from the war the expendability of human beings as we did in the war. But that expendability goes to the individual himself who tells himself, I am expendable because of my love for my country and the innate virtue of my country. All of which are wrong. We went through that, and that’s what made the whole atomic testing thing with the guinea pig humans possible. I guess that’s why I wanted to do something for the Downwinders if I could at one time. It was a deliberate, inhumane, terrible thing to do. And you know we did it deliberately. What have you done for the Downwinders? Well, unfortunately I could do very little except to join with them and meet with them on several occasions down in Cedar City. And come to know more intimately well the horrors of what had happened to them; the people that had died, and the simple fact that the milk that my children were drinking in Las Vegas came from up around Logandale, I guess, and up in that area. It was loaded with strontium- 90. And so, you know, Becky, my youngest daughter, who grew up drinking their— and her baby drank the milk, and she has a thyroid problem. Now it isn’t anything that we get excited about or have tried to sue anybody or even want to. But nevertheless there’s always that agonizing question, what will that problem develop into and why did we need to do that? I don’t think we learned a whole lot, to tell you the truth. It was an exercise in flexing our atomic muscles as much as anything else. Where in the hell was we? We were talking about something. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 10 We’ve kind of migrated a little bit, but that’s how these happen. The good stories come from, you know, the different wanderings. We were talking about Downwinders and how you were in Las Vegas. After Las Vegas, after ’ 56, where did you go from there? I went up to Montana, and that’s a whole new story in itself. Got up there and really fell in love with Montana. I can imagine. I love to hunt and fish and be in the mountains and pack horses, saddle horses, the whole thing. North of the little town where I had settled was a huge chunk of ground. There was the Bob Marshall Wilderness area and then there was some surrounding ground [ 00: 25: 00] called the Lincoln backcountry. The little town was named Lincoln. So I went to work for the [ U. S.] Forest Service for a really great guy by the name of Lawrence Olsen, who was a true forester. There wasn’t any after him. They all died off then. But anyhow, he gave me some work while I was getting my business going there in the little town of Lincoln. What business? A store. General merchandise: tools, chain saws, fishing tackle, clothes, anything that we could sell to make a buck. But he was a true forester. As a result of that, he was relegated to a small position where he stayed until he retired. They wanted him out of the way, because they were going to develop this beautiful, progressive Forest Service that had gotten beyond the realm of just being a caretaker. Well, the results were disastrous. I learned for the first time that to seek government solution is to invite disaster. When they decided to build a series of roads, a whole complex of roads into that beautiful country that had grizzly bear, pure cutthroat trout, elk, wolverine, Canadian lynx, the whole thing was still there, and they were going to destroy it. So that old line UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 11 in Shakespeare come back to me, and I don’t even quote it right but it says: to take up arms against a sea of wrongs. That’s not verbatim. But anyhow, I decided then and there that this was one of the last pieces of beautiful country left intact, and God damn it, they weren’t going to tear it up. I didn’t care what it took. I didn’t care how long it took. I didn’t care what it cost me. I didn’t care what people thought. They weren’t going to tear up that piece of country with their damn bulldozers. They came so close to getting it done that I tremble to think about it. But they didn’t. And finally, after coming to know some senators and congressmen on a first- name basis through my efforts, eight or ten trips to Washington, D. C., we finally got it into wilderness. What year was this that they finally—? Seventy- one, I believe. OK. So it’s fairly early on in the whole environmental legislation. It was the original de facto wilderness area to be added to the wilderness system, over the objections of Wayne Aspinall, who was a tremendously powerful congressman who I got to know and come to respect after a time. I met him— they wouldn’t let me go talk to him, people in the Wilderness Society— but I met him in the hallway of Congress and tried to talk to him, and he said, Young man, he says, I’ll kill your bill in committee or I’ll kill it on the House floor. So with big tears in my eyes, I went over to see Mike Mansfield who was the majority senator. I walked into the office and Peggy, his secretary, said, Cecil, what’s the matter with you? And I said, I just talked to Aspinall. She says, Wait right there. I’ll go get Mike. So she went and got Mike off the Senate floor. They were arguing the Vietnam thing. And he came in and we sat down in his office and he said, Cec, what’s the matter? UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 12 And I said, Well, I just run into Aspinall and he told me, he said he would kill my bill in committee or on the floor. And he leaned back and he had a little bit of wry grin on his face, after talking a half- an- hour, no hurry, and he leaned back and he said, Cecil, he says, you go back and tell the people of Montana that we’ll get that bill. He said, Mr. Aspinall will want something one of these days, and when he does, we’ll be there. [ 00: 30: 00] Well, you know what that was, or I know what it was. Tell me. They wanted to take water from the west side of the divide in Colorado through the mountain and that’s what it cost. The Colorado- Big Thompson Project. Got it. Yeah. So that’s what it cost. So without knowing it, I was playing big- time politics. Yeah, you were. Right in the thick of it. The president of the Wilderness Society called me one time and he said, Cecil, he said, we can get your wilderness bill through but, he said, I don’t know whether you’re willing to pay the price. I says, What is the price? So they made the price that if we would allow oil exploration on the wildlife refuge in Alaska on the North Slope, that they would let the— and I said, No way. You don’t do that. Ain’t no way. And, you know, it didn’t— it never has, so far yet, you know. So I never intended to get into it like that. All I wanted to do was save a good place to hunt and fish. A beautiful place. Is that what brought you to Montana in the first place? UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 13 No, I went to Montana because my father- in- law owned a summer home up there and the fact that I wanted out of Vegas. I simply didn’t want to be in Vegas anymore. I could go to work almost anywhere. I opened the Sahara. I had worked in most of the— I’d been there and watched the metamorphic process from a small town to a gambling town. And quite frankly, getting back to biology again, I think that each of us as an organism, as a human, nonetheless are controlled by things that we don’t fully understand. But one of the things that I do understand is I’m not well off in a big city. I really hate cities, and that’s a prejudice that’s hard to explain. To me they’re just simply disasters waiting to happen. We knew in those days that Vegas didn’t have enough water. We knew that. We talked about it. It was in the newspapers. And yet prior to that, when they had allocated that amount of water for Southern Nevada, everybody said what the hell do we need that kind of—? We don’t need that much water. As opposed to the Los Angeles model which thought bigger, bigger, bigger; there’s always going to be more people, so we need more water, we need to plan ahead. Yeah. And so we knew all of those things. But you know the mindlessness of what they are doing there, in my opinion it is New Orleans in reverse. New Orleans drowned and Las Vegas will starve out, sooner or later. I just heard Patty [ Patricia] Mulroy[ General Manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority ( SNWA)] the other day say that they had to have the water. They talked about all of the conservation measures they were doing. When I spoke I said if there’s one thing that running cattle will teach you, it’s carrying capacity. A cow has to eat every day and drink every day. If you have so many that they can’t eat every day and drink every day, then you’re in an extremely precarious deficit situation. And that’s what Las Vegas is. Now they come up with all their generosity and magnanimity and they say, we’re going to take care of you. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 14 There’s one thing that I learned in the gambling house that I never forget. When somebody says they’re going to take care of you, watch them. That means they’re going to take something from you, is that what you—? Well, just watch them. Yeah, they’re going to take advantage. So what are they offering? I mean we were talking about that a little bit before. Tell me what the relationship is between Las Vegas and here. What are they asking for? Well, there’s very little relationship between here and Las Vegas. We don’t have a golf [ 00: 35: 00] course in this whole valley. It’s one of the longest valleys in the world. Far as I know, we don’t have a swimming pool. And yet I think we live— I don’t think that we’re living without or we’re deprived or anything like that. I think we live really pretty good, normal, healthy lives. We work in our garden, we take care of our cattle, we put up our hay, we raise our children, we try to send them on to better schools. Some of us go to church; some of us don’t. Why is Las Vegas targeting this area? It’s simple. I’ve told my neighbors for twenty- five or thirty years, someday some large city, megalopolis, whatever you want to call it, will draw a circle around the area, and they say, we are here, and the water is here. They didn’t really choose us because we were anything exceptional or they wanted to hurt us particularly. Just the water is here and they are here. They have the money. They say, we deserve the water because we have the money. We can buy it. All of the other things simply don’t count. I think that they go and they look at the Strip today, they look at all of the glitter and the glamour and all of the excitement that prevails or is supposed to in Las Vegas. To me it’s a disgusting spectacle of human depravity. And they say this is all justified. One lady down there said, We have more people working on one floor of a UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 15 hotel than there is in all of Snake Valley. Well, I kind of thought that that’s what the Constitution of the United States was all about: not to deprive those who are smaller of the right to justice and fairness. And in the final analysis, it is also a morality issue. Who is to say, or who would say, that it’s correct to take the water from your ranchers and your farmers— people who produce food— and give it to a casino, gambling, sprawling megalopolis like Las Vegas has become? A monstrously hideous thing of sprawl, of filthy air, of congested traffic. Their social problems must be horrendous. Their police problems, which they practically didn’t have at one time, must be out beyond the stratosphere. Why? Why wouldn’t the residents of Las Vegas just simply rise up and say this is enough? Well, I tend to believe that the residents of Las Vegas are a particular kind of person, having worked there. That that kind of an atmosphere, that kind of gambling environment, the whole aura, whatever, atmosphere surrounding Las Vegas— The whole aura of the city. Yeah, tends to, in fact, do the same thing as victory did to the United States after World War II. It simply gives them a hubris, a belief in their invincibility, and a belief that they really don’t have to be right or moral, that it doesn’t matter anymore. And that is simply the harbinger of their own destruction. Do you see a connection between the mentality that saw this area as empty, and that it was OK for the wind to blow this direction during atomic testing, and the way they’re treating this same area over the water issue? Is there a relationship or a connection between them? Yeah, we’re not unaware of that. During the MX [ Missile Experimental] was a classic example— Tell me about that. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 16 Of people looking at a map and saying, well, that’s a vast, empty wasteland, so therefore. [ 00: 40: 00] There is one ingredient, though, that we should discuss with the Downwinders. The people of this area, of the Great Basin and of Utah, were extremely patriotic people. They had an almost blind— it was a blind belief in their government, of the infallibility of their government. They trusted it to, of course, to their tremendous sorrow and expense. And you know that hasn’t died away yet, that kind of blind trust in government. Where does it come from? Well, for one thing, you must understand the Mormon migration. If they hadn’t have martyred Joseph Smith, there wouldn’t, in my opinion at least, be a Mormon Chu