The presence of unarmed security guards at the May 6 Nottingham Township supervisors meeting would be laughable, except for the fact it is an example of classic textbook corporate bullying. Ramaco, a Kentucky company, wants to open a coal mine in the heart of rural Nottingham Township. The residents who live in the area and those Washington County residents who use Mingo Creek County Park for a variety of recreational activities do not want the aesthetic beauty and peaceful atmosphere of the park destroyed by industrialization that necessarily attaches to the mining of coal.
The battle lines are drawn and Ramaco has started a calculated attack against those individuals who do not want a coal mining operation in the area surrounding the park. The first corporate strategy is to label their opposition as unpatriotic radicals with a proclivity for violence. Then, they sell that view to township officials and the media. Next, they insist that the radical nature of the opposition requires the presence of security. Finally, Ramaco wants to convince their opposition that all the company wants is to be a good neighbor who will bring jobs to the community without degrading the rural atmosphere.
Theirs is the classic military strategy of divide and conquer. There is only one problem: the residents all know that the peaceful citizens of Nottingham do not even need a police force and acts of random violence are nonexistent. But these facts were ignored by the board’s chairman as he addressed residents as if they were 5-year-olds being threatened to behave or else. “We will remove anyone who acts up.” In order to maintain security, residents were even denied the right to make any further comments.
Although the docile nature of the crowd never afforded the unarmed security guards the opportunity to spring into action, it was obvious that the board chairman had partaken of the corporate kool aid. The residents of Nottingham that had only yesterday been his friends and neighbors last week become a threatening enemy to be feared and controlled. The residents of Washington County intend to defend their community and the rare beauty that is Mingo Creek County Park against the environmental degradation of the proposed industrialization, but will do so in a peaceful law-abiding manner. Nottingham supervisors need to reflect on their job description, which is, after all, to protect the community, not hire security guards, at taxpayer expense, to protect against a corporate-created mythological threat of violence whose authenticity shares a world with the likes of witches and unicorns.