Why Air Force troops using LSD while guarding nukes isn't such a big deal after all
Yes, dudes whose job it is to guard nuclear bases had a thing for acid.
At F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming recently, home of missiles so powerful they make Hiroshima look like a fender-bender, 14 airmen were disciplined and six of them were convicted in courts martial of LSD use or distribution, or both.
This sounds like fake news. Even the prosecutor in one of the court martials said, “Although this sounds like something from a movie, it isn’t.” The AP reported it, and the AP is real.
The "drug ring" operated in 2015 and 2016. The airmen were also found to have used cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy, along with the LSD. The military was tipped off in March 2016, when one guy posted a Snapchat video of himself smoking marijuana, setting Air Force investigators on their trail, the AP said, citing records from the courts martial proceedings.
This, predictably, set off a firestorm online. It just seems … amazing.
Scary stuff. And just down the road from me...— Michael J. Pearce (@mjp7200) May 24, 2018
Security troops on US nuclear missile base took LSD https://t.co/LGjuXVGakP
HORRIFYING.— (@EmaCornaCopia) May 24, 2018
Air Force Uncovered LSD Use Among Airmen Guarding Nuclear Missiles https://t.co/FPepUI0zTw
LSD and ICBMs with nuclear warheads are a frightening mix. pic.twitter.com/IUEJq4roKU— Mikey (@mikeyyMackk) May 24, 2018
"Nuclear arsenal guard" is high on the list of occupations for which you'd want employees who don't believe, as high people sometimes do, that all is one, that life and death are two sides of the same coin. When that fat fail baby Kim Jong Un finally gets fed up with our fat fail baby Dotard Trump and the incoming nukes blot out the sun, you'd like your nuclear guards not to laugh uproariously because the mushroom clouds remind them of the magic ones.
And you'd also like them not to freak out, ever, as some of the airmen did. “I felt paranoia, panic” for hours after taking a hit of acid, an airman said under oath at his court martial, the AP reported. He confessed to using LSD three times while off duty. The first time, in the summer of 2015, shook him up. “I didn’t know if I was going to die that night or not,” he said as a witness at another airman’s drug trial. Recalling another episode with LSD, he said it felt “almost as if I was going to have like a heart attack or a heat-stroke.”
On the other hand, the response online has not been one-sided. The cultural reputation of LSD as a brain-melter and insanity-producer is not what it used to be. Nowadays, you're less likely to hear about LSD in the context of insane people jumping out windows, and more likely to hear about microdosing entrepreneurs boosting productivity and wealth. LSD might turn out to be this generation's Adderall.
One of the airmen said he loved the LSD. “Minutes felt like hours, colors seemed more vibrant and clear,” one airman testified. “In general, I felt more alive.”
Nobody took LSD while on duty (as far as anyone knows), and the Air Force says it has ways of knowning if airmen show up intoxicated on any substance.
Plus, these are not the guys with their fingers on the trigger. They patrol the outside of the base; no installation has ever been attacked by bad guys.
Once folks online found out they were never really in danger, and that most of the trips seemed relatively harmless — dosing at a party far from the base or maybe longboarding on the streets of Denver — there was just as much reaction online from people who'd like their nuclear guards to be doing a little LSD, if not a lot of it.
Airmen taking LSD made them feel safer.
"One thing you 100 percent wouldn't do on LSD, is launch nuclear missiles," PresumptiveNominee posted on Reddit.
honestly this makes me feel a lot better, every nuclear missileer should be issued monthly doses of lsd https://t.co/TTo5vIec9Y— borek boi (@BorekBoi) May 24, 2018
Oh come on, this is a scandal? I feel better about soldiers taking LSD than I do about them murdering other humans. https://t.co/NLBr86VBpI— Nicole French (@montanafesto) May 24, 2018
This is all a silly debate; nobody really thinks LSD and nukes should mix. But that's sort of the point. When the military first got its hands on LSD, in the '50s and '60s, it wondered if this stuff could help their troops fight. After all, Hitler methed up his soldiers, and alcohol has long fueled troops. But tripping soldiers often dropped their rifles and collapsed into laughter.
The government stopped testing with LSD more than a decade ago. Here's wondering whether they might not start back up again.