THE BATTLE FOR POISON

IN A PUBLIC RELATIONS DUEL, ALABAMA AND MISSOURI SQUABBLE OVER A NERVE-GAS TRAINING FACILITY

There is a war between the states of Alabama and Missouri, and the prize is poison. The trophy, a low 30,000-sq.-ft. brick building, is surrounded by high fencing topped with barbed wire, surrounded by armed guards and laden with alarms, sirens, cameras and a medical station. Up to 100 soldiers at a time would train there, each repeatedly giving blood samples during their stay to ensure that they were not contaminated by the lethal agents within. These trainees, cloaked in protective overgarments and masks, would detect and swab a bleachlike solution over military gear spotted with deadly droplets. Each week 10...

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