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G8: Ain't it great?

Here are some bits from a nifty heart-warming story from the UK's Independent [via News Dissector]:

For days, the Humvees streaming across the slender causeway that is the islands' only link to the mainland have been met with nose-to-tail traffic streaming in the opposite direction; around half the islands' residents have evacuated, scared silly by the double, and largely undifferentiated, threats of international terrorism and violent protest...

"How did this happen?" asks local teacher David Ray Dockery...

Paranoia, perhaps. But there's nothing like the chunter of helicopters to put the wind up a generation raised on M*A*S*H. The skies along the coast, normally the arena for spectacular aeronautics by brown pelicans, are black with military aircraft, swooping low over the houses on endless security sorties. Roadside checkpoints, manned by cheery grunts cradling machine-guns, are scarcely more reassuring.

"This is real scary shit," says Jay Thompson, a Delta flight attendant, who has decided to sit out the siege at home. "We never had a war here. We're not used to seeing tanks and guns on American soil. This is stuff you see in movies...."

Larry, editor of The Great Speckled Seagull, a "semi-underground" periodical, is a gentle radical who wears a cowboy hat with a feather in it and carves weirdly beautiful faces in the island's trees. He has just heard a rumour that 2,000 body bags have been delivered to the clapboard Chamber of Commerce across the road from the bookstore.... Five minutes later, one of the island's fire chiefs drops by, fresh from a briefing. It's not a rumour. The body bags are here, together with a refrigerated lorry to take away the corpses. "I liked it better when it was a rumour," says Larry....

The firefighters, [the fire chief] confides, will be issued with a biological antidote for their personal use. There won't be any antidote for members of the public, but at least the firemen will be around to shovel up the remains and stop disease spreading in the 90-degree heat....

A State of Emergency granting extra powers to local law enforcement was announced by the State Governor on 7 May, and while nowhere has yet been "set aside" for the protesters to protest (a quaint notion in itself), a playing-field over on the mainland has been fenced for use as a detention centre. On the island, a rash of fly-posted "WE HATE G8" bumper-stickers and neatly stencilled pictures of George Bush, swinging a missile like a baseball bat with the legend "Let's Play Ball" had given cause for concern. "There was a bunch of people in real nice cars singing peace songs down by Gould's Inlet," offers Mimi Skelton, a St Simons lawyer. "They didn't look too frightening."

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