Readers Respond

Hopkins’ weapons research an explosive topic worth discussing

I cannot thank Alicia Sanders-Zakre enough for writing the commentary, “Johns Hopkins University among schools furthering nuclear weapons” (Nov. 21). As a long-time protester of the Applied Physics Laboratory, I was thrilled that someone from a Nobel Peace Prize–winning organization raised the issue that universities are working on weapons of mass destruction which threaten the existence of Mother Earth.

I am not sure if the author knows that there have been protests of the weapons contracts at the APL for decades. For example, in 1994, I was arrested at the APL for handing out leaflets and in 1995 after being convicted, I served a 30-day sentence in the Howard County Detention Center.


Today, the protests continue. The Baltimore Nonviolence Center hosts a demonstration outside Johns Hopkins University at 33rd and North Charles streets on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. to condemn the school’s weapons contracts.

When I get a chance to speak to students at Johns Hopkins, I warn them to be careful about working on weapons research, as that is classified. Should moral qualms cause a person to reconsider doing weapons research, he or she cannot divulge on a resume what the classified research might be. And doing classified research at a university is antithetical to the general idea that the purpose of college is engage in an open and transparent learning experience.


I am hoping that this op-ed might generate some discussion on campus among students, professors and administrators. Why is a renowned institution which includes a world-class hospital dedicated to saving lives involved in military research designed to take lives and cause mass destruction? Those sea-launched cruise missiles which were used in the 2003 invasion of Iraq were designed by the APL.

Living in Baltimore, I am well aware of the poverty and the destitution in many parts of the city. Imagine if the funding of the noxious military research being done at the APL was ended, and the tax dollars were instead used to rebuild the infrastructure in Baltimore. Let us start a conversation.

Max Obuszewski, Baltimore

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