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Concerned about Honeywell, NOT celebrating

Honeywell announced its 75th anniversary in KC MO and Kristin Scheer refuses to celebrate.
Tom Fox, right, crosses the property line at the National Security Campus operated by Honeywell. Kim Hoa Fox (in center) and Jane Stoever follow Tom.--Photos by Bennette Dibben on Memorial Day, 2022

By Kristin Scheer

Kristin Scheer kneels during the 2022 Memorial Day protest near the Honeywell plant opened in 2014 in KC MO. She reads the name of a person who died from toxins at Bannister Federal Complex, home to the former nuclear weapon parts plant.

An ad in The Kansas City Star and on National Public Radio asks us to celebrate 75 years of the Honeywell facility in KC, now called the National Security Campus. They boast the making of nuclear weapons parts, and I am not celebrating. I am concerned at the growing arsenal of nuclear weapons, which—if we ever dare use them—will signal the end of life as we know it on planet Earth.


Honeywell plans to double its footprint in South KC in the coming years (see https://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2023/11/07/nnsa-honeywell-office-manufacturing-campus-nuclear.html). Just like guns in the street, the more we have, the more we invest, the more somebody profits,  the more the temptation to use them grows. Already they boast of tactical nukes that could be used on a smaller scale. Make no mistake. As soon as we push that button another nuclear-armed nation will feel emboldened to launch theirs and the dangers of our nuclear arms race will be realized.


On this increasingly volatile world stage, we already face combustible circumstances that could, through miscommunication, accident, or malicious intent, kick off the beginning of a hellacious existence that I have no interest in surviving. The Hibakusha of Japan have nightmarish stories to tell of the hell they survived in 1945—a legacy of survival scars that endure to this day.


I am concerned about the employees of the old Bendix corporation and surrounding businesses (before the move to Botts Road) that were not told of the toxic dangers of the materials they were handling and breathing, the cancers and tumors and mysterious illnesses that cost lives and well-being. I am concerned about the current employees. What are they being exposed to? What are they not being told? There is no transparency to alleve my concerns. Documents are not shared. We have asked. We still do not know.


I am concerned about the toxic underground plumes that may still exist at the old site, a deadly concoction of toxic chemicals that make habitation and use of that part of our city dangerous today and for future generations. 


I am concerned about the nuclear waste being collected in other parts of our nation. Collection and storage and clean-up of past mistakes are never given the resources needed to adequately protect the planet and local populations.


I am concerned about the Indigenous communities and other downwinders exposed to dangerous uranium dust and other toxic fall-out and are still not adequately compensated or protected or even considered by this dangerous business. Our nuclear arsenal sucks resources needed to provide health care, housing, education, and social services to our children, our veterans, and our senior citizens, resources needed to restructure our society for resilience and for mitigating the dangers of cataclysmic climate change, changes that our scientists tell us must happen NOW to truly secure our nation.


I am concerned about the lie that is being told in our newspapers and on our radio waves that we should somehow feel safer that they are doing something out there at that “National Security Campus” that somehow benefits our collective well-being.  Nothing could be further from the truth.


I am not celebrating. Instead, I urge Kansas City to reconsider the atrocity that is Honeywell. It is not protecting but stealing our well-being, our security, our wealth, and our health.

Kristin Scheer leads the Communications Team for PeaceWorks KC and is an ardent environmentalist. (c) 2024, Kristin Scheer, Bennette Dibben, Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 4.0 International License.

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