The Jersey Barrier

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I mean, if we absolutely have to have plague-infested mice and vials of anthrax spores go missing, why not in New Jersey where they are least likely to do harm? Every living Garden State creature, sentient and Soprano alike, has been well-doused for decades leaving them prepared for yet another toxic assault. In fact, this seems something of a local pattern:

In September, a Newark health research lab lost track of three mice infected with the bacteria responsible for bubonic plague.

The mice were never located, and officials said the rodents might have been stolen, eaten by other lab animals or just misplaced in a paperwork error.

Ah, yes that is better. Either the people in charge of anthrax and plague cannot count to three or Jersey harbors creatures which eat plague mice. Might that be the plague python? The plague cat?

Meanwhile, Rutgers microbiologist Richard Ebright again makes the common-sense observation that a nation truly worried about another terror attack would not be doing what the U.S. has deliberately done since 9/11, which is to disperse ever-more deadly weapons and substances to ever-more locations across the country:

Ebright said the U.S. should store all its hazardous bio-agents at a single, secure location rather than having them scattered across the country.

"If an adversary of the United States, such as al-Qaida, wanted to obtain this material, the most effective, simple procedure to do so is to plant a person in one of those numerous institutions that the administration has put in place working with this material," he said. "Because the number of those institutions has increased and because it happened without an increase in effective security, the risk to the United States has dramatically increased."

Except New Jersey, which is protected by plague cats. I always knew being born in Camden would come in handy some day.

NEXT: War On Drugs: Is Torture Allowed in a Ticking-Consent-Form Scenario?

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  1. I grew up in New Jersey. The creature that eats plague mice is the garden variety swamp skeeter.

  2. Here in New Mexico, the plague mouse is endemic. They’re not particularly dangerous. Now, the hanta mouse…

  3. Bubonic Plague is really not so dangerous now days. It is easily treated with anti-biotics.

    The same applies to a bacterial Anthrax infection. It is the purified spores of anthrax that, when inhaled, are deadly.

  4. While I enjoy blasting the feds for stupidity, there is the chance that they might be thinking on this one … just a thought but, why concentrate all of your death potions in one spot? If someone takes the facility or it is destroyed in fire, nuke, bombing, peta, etc. why loose everything in one hit?

  5. This is a comment on h&r? Cause we all know how libertarians love centralisation!

    I mean, I know you don’t like the administration, but everyone should be aware of the dangers of a single point of failure, no? Especially policy wonks on the Internet, a wildly successful self-healing ad-hoc network designed to be survivable in the case of every conceivable threat and as a specific counterweight to the heavily centralised telephone network.

  6. My uncle actually had the bubonic plague. He lives in rural Colorado, happens sometimes out there with all the prairie dogs and what not. Gave him some penicilin, he was fine.

  7. I ? NJ.

  8. Ebright said the U.S. should store all its hazardous bio-agents at a single, secure location rather than having them scattered across the country.

    Yeah, central planning, that’s what we need!

    (I know Hey and iconoclast said it, but it bears repeating when a Reason staffer says such a statement is “common sense”. Time for JAT to throw a buck in the fuck-up jar.)

  9. lets see…New Jersey: refineries, sopranos, toxic waste dumps, virally infested vermin. Wash DC: Executive Branch, Legislative Branch & Judicial Branch…New Jersey obviously won the crap lottery and got first pick.

  10. Either the people in charge of anthrax and plague cannot count to three or Jersey harbors creatures which eat plague mice. Might that be the plague python? The plague cat?

    As one who has worked in a research lab I can attest that cannibalism among lab mice is quite common. When one mouse dies, his cage mates have no qualms about supplementing their bland diet of food pellets with some fresh protein.

    (“Hey, look! Mickey’s down! Dibs on the eyes!”)

    However, normally the other mice only eat the soft stuff; eyes, genitals, internal organs. The rest of the carcass is left for the lab tech to clean out when he changes the cage.

  11. Yeah, we have the bubonic prairie dogs here in Colorado, and not just the rural areas. And we’re in plague season right now.

  12. 11 or so comments…and nobody has raised the white-elephant question: uhhhh, why is the government manufacturing & storing all this biohazard shit in the first place? I mean, aside from scientific research into cures & vaccines, what are they doing?

  13. “Yeah, we have the bubonic prairie dogs here in Colorado, and not just the rural areas. And we’re in plague season right now.”

    Nothing a CZ 452 in .17 HM2 can’t solve.

    Well…

    Probably not, but I’m told it’s lots of fun.

  14. 11 or so comments…and nobody has raised the white-elephant question: uhhhh, why is the government manufacturing & storing all this biohazard shit in the first place? I mean, aside from scientific research into cures & vaccines, what are they doing?

    You just answered your own question.

  15. When I first read the title of this thread, I thought that Tim Cavanaugh had finally decided to put Jersey McJones out of his misery and ban him from Hit and Run.

  16. When I first read the title of this thread, I thought that Tim Cavanaugh had finally decided to put Jersey McJones out of his misery and ban him from Hit and Run.

    Damn, ya beat me, I was just about to post almost the same thing.

  17. We can dream smacky, we can dream…

  18. You mean put Jersey McJones out of OUR misery.

  19. Oh, BTW, This was in Newark, hasn’t anyone figured it out?

    The mice needed to register to vote, they’ll be right back.

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