Standish Max – An Easy Target for Terrorists

Standish Max prison sits just a couple of hundred yards off of Michigan highway 61, probably within a half-mile or so of Interstate 75.

The prison itself is sited attractively. Several acres of heavily forested hardwoods and conifers surround much of the facility screening it from casual view. A large sign, illuminated at night, identifies the facility and welcome vehicles approaching  off the highway with a broad driveway and large parking lot. The road continues over  a small stream crossed by a concrete bridge. Once across the bridge another parking space opens presenting a broad chain-link fence view of the prison exercise yard, the multiple buildings configured in a general U-shape, and the administration area protected by glass doors.

A multi-thousand gallon capacity propane tank sits parallel to the main road at the far right fence line.

Under normal circumstances this would be a proper maximum security facility. Designed effectively to keep prisoners in, not focused on potential outside threats.

The reasonable assessment is that Standish Max is highly vulnerable to attacks from outside. Even a small suicide bomber igniting the propane tank would be a disaster. A truck filled with ammonium nitrate explosive, al Qaeda’s weapon of choice, would yield catastrophic results.

Is anxiety over looming economic troubles so large that officials would knowingly endanger an innocent population for a will-of-the-wisp financial fix?

The majority of Standish seems to be aware of the danger, as are many in the state legislature. All efforts ought to be taken to bring US prisoners – from other states if necessary – to keep Standish Max open, but avoid the potential tragedy of importing Gitmo detainees to a facility woefully inadequate to repel committed jihadists intent on making a terrorist statement.

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