Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern held a public meeting in Dublin, CA over the weekend to explain the circumstances behind the wayward projectile that penetrated a home, tore up the roof of another, and finally landed in a minivan. The cannon shot was part of an experiment to see if cannonballs could really penetrate castle walls. Roughly 50 residents attended the forum. The official panel included representatives from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and the MythBusters. While Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti and city staff were in attendance, they kept their distance from the panel.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Was Here First
Sheriff Ahern began the meeting by giving all the attendees a history lesson. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office has been at its current location long before Dublin was incorporated as a city. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office was not responsible for approving the homes that have been built nearby. Sheriff Ahern then defended the relationship between the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and MythBusters. According to Sheriff Ahern, MythBusters has provided revenue for Alameda County over the years in exchange for the use of the Alameda County Bomb Disposal Range. MythBusters paid Alameda County $20,000 last year alone for such a privilege.
Sheriff Ahern has suspended all non-emergency activities at the Alameda County Bomb Disposal Range until the completion of an investigation by Dublin Police Services, in collaboration with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and the MythBusters. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office currently runs Dublin Police Services for the City of Dublin by contract. No formal inquiry by an independent agency is currently planned.
The Show Must Go On
The public meeting on Saturday was a star-studded event attended by key members of the MythBusters team including executive producer Dan Tapster and show hosts Jamie Hyneman, Adam Savage, Tory Belleci, Grant Imahara, and Kari Byron. “We will never ever shoot a cannon on this facility again,” proclaimed show producer Tapster, who reportedly descended upon Dublin in a Rolls Royce.
Many Dublin residents were not convinced by Tapster’s promise. “Everybody should understand my concern and my anger,” said a Creekview Drive resident going by the name of James. “My concern is not that it is done safely – it is that it is done at all. This is my neighborhood.” A Dublin Ranch resident followed by telling Sheriff Ahern and show producer Tapster that the cannonball misfire “was a foreseeable accident” and that the MythBusters should move the zany experiments to the less populated “Gold Country.” The same resident also articulated how she now fears for the lives of her children. Sensing that the tide was quickly turning against the MythBusters, Tapster took the podium to let impacted residents know he has children of his own and can relate to their safety concerns. Still, the show must go on, and MythBusters needs the public to believe that it is doing everything possible to set things right.
Unmoved by Tapster’s attempts to sway the audience, another resident going by the name of Paulreminded everyone that “this time we got lucky. If [he] knew what was going on at that area, [he] would not have bought here twelve years ago.” Paul later confided in private that he knows of neighbors who have moved out of Dublin, because their dogs would go “crazy” whenever guns were fired and bombs exploded at the nearby Alameda County Bomb Disposal Range.
A Supporting Cast of Characters
The MythBusters saved comments from supporters for the very end. A gun shop owner in West Dublin expressed general approval of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and the MythBusters and added that he would like to see experiments by the MythBusters continue in Dublin. The gun shop owner was later seen sharing laughs and heartily shaking hands with an Alameda County officer.
The MythBusters also brought in fans from beyond Dublin’s borders. An Alameda County resident who does not live in Dublin gave a long speech in support of the MythBusters antics. Wearing a patriotic flag shirt with a Mount Rushmore depiction around his belly, the non-resident tried to draw a connection between the MythBusters experiments and the glory of democracy. Crediting the MythBusters with his son’s love for science, this MythBusters fan boy implied that East Dublin residents should learn to live with the revelation of this public safety risk for the sake of America and be grateful for the attention the city has garnered thanks to the MythBusters.
Dressed in a festive black “Nightmare Before Christmas” ensemble, a woman who claimed to be a Dublin Ranch resident testified that she was made aware of the proximity of both the Alameda County Regional Training Center and the Alameda County Bomb Disposal Range through the full disclosure provided by the builders. The woman also accused concerned residents of being “hysterical” over an accident in which no one got hurt.
All-America City of Dublin Unprepared for Emergency
The City of Dublin waited 20 hours before coming out with an official statement that directed all questions and concerns to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. According to Mayor Sbranti, the City of Dublin waited partly because it was learning about what happened the same time as everyone else. To date, the City of Dublin has not assumed any responsibility for notifying residents regarding activities on Alameda County Sheriff’s Office properties that may negatively impact their neighborhoods. The City of Dublin and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office have provided residents due notice regarding homeland security exercises conducted by government agents trained in the armed forces before; however, they feel differently when “heavy artillery” operated by civilian television personalities is involved. The only active role Dublin City Hall has played so far is using its CodeRED Emergency Notification System to let residents know about the public meeting on Saturday. Given its passive role at the public meeting, the All-America City of Dublin is not in any position to guarantee that the same thing will not happen again within its borders.
Money Makes the MythBusters Go ‘Round
Money was the common theme in public statements from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, the MythBusters, and their supporters at the meeting this past Saturday. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office took part in the MythBusters cannonball experiment that went horribly awry, because it needed the money. By promising to continue their relationship in Dublin, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and MythBusters have shown that they are merely paying lip service to public safety. Given that nothing will change, residents are encouraged to subscribe to MythBusters’ official twitter feed, so they may get out of the way for the next filming. As promised by the MythBusters, “failure is always an option.” The question now is not if, but when another “foreseeable accident” will happen in Dublin.