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Run in with U.S. Dept. of Energy security forces

May 20, 2003 - While traveling through Texas with a film crew shooting the T.V. show: "Tornado Chasers" for the Discovery Channel, we stopped at a set of railroad tracks near Amarillo. Since there was no chance of storms this day, we set up our cameras and the crew shot video of us looking up into the sky etc... After a while, a security car pulls up out of nowhere and out come two armed guards, one carrying an M-16 machine gun. They were concerned that we were encroaching on U.S. Department of Energy land. Many of the people traveling in our group were from either England or Canada and so only a few could produce proof of U.S. citizenship. This didn't help. We were all detained for quite some time and it took quite a bit of explaining what we were doing before they finally allowed to leave. The whole time they were there, the one guard never took his hands off his machine gun. I don't know how they knew that we were nearby but they sure were interested in what we were doing..

Unknown to us at the time, the guards were from Pantex. They are the only facility in the U.S. that builds and dismantles nuclear weapons!! As an added bonus, earlier that day the Dept. of Homeland Security had upgraded the terrorist threat level from yellow to orange. It's a good thing that we never actually trespassed onto their property.

These are NOT the kind of people that you want to mess with.

Photos by Bill Hark - www.harkphoto.com