Everyone has their dirty little secrets. Cities are no different, and since everyone is so excited about El Paso being named an All-American City for 2010, we here at Sun City Comedy decided to highlight the things El Paso would rather you not know about. So get ready to pack your bags and move somewhere else…
El Paso is surrounded by military bases and government research facilities
If you’ve been watching any movies lately, and by lately I mean since the 1950’s, you know that any type of disaster usually begins at some sort of military base or government research facility. Well, El Paso is surrounded by a few (that we know of- insert evil scientist laugh here), with the best known bases being Fort Bliss and the White Sands Missile range (where the first atomic device was tested, so when zombies, captured aliens, or 30 foot insects start becoming a common sight, we will know who to blame).
I know what you are thinking: “Those things just happen in the movies.” Well, if you want a real threat, then how about the fact that Nazis roamed freely in some of these facilities. In case you didn’t know, White Sands also housed Project Paperclip (sounds terrifying!!), which used Nazi rocket scientists smuggled into the country illegally to work on rockets for the US government.
This bears mention that these weren’t fully reformed Nazis; some were hardcore, unrepentant, Jew-killing Nazis who made their home in El Paso and surrounding areas. So if you were wondering why pawnshops downtown are all full of Nazi memorabilia, there you go.
Our sister city was the most dangerous city in the world
El Paso is the 3rd safest city in the entire United States, which is awesome. Just south of the border, however, our sister city has recently been listed as the most dangerous city in the world, with one of the highest murder rates in the world.
So if you ever want to experience robbery, kidnapping, sexual assault and drug relate crimes first hand, Juarez is the place to be. The city is bad according to not-made-up statistics: 50% of all murders in Mexico come from J-town. Or J-tweezy. Maybe J-twittle, depending on your ebonic preference. But this is not a recent trend. It all started back in 1994, when women stated going missing. Some of them were found, and by that I mean some parts of them were found.
But if you are looking to get drunk for cheap and don’t mind dodging some bullets, Juarez is still the place to be.
Atomic Devices were tested only 20 miles from El Paso
The government of this United States of America, the best government in the world (but maybe not the smartest), decided that the area in White Sands Missile range, situated about 20 miles from El Paso, was far away enough from populated areas to test their first atomic device…
Yes, you read correctly. On July 16, 1945, the first atomic bomb (codename: Trinity) was detonated not 20 miles from where you live, work, and play.
The weapon (codename: The Gadget), which was the same design as the device detonated over Nagasaki (codename: Fatman), produced an explosive power equivalent to 20 kilotons of TNT. Not only did they happily set this bomb off, the scientists involved also made bets on how much destruction the gadget would be capable of, ranging from “dud” to “complete worldwide destruction” (those wacky scientists).
Today, more than sixty years after the test, residual radiation at the site has been measured about ten times higher than normal. If you’ve seen movies like Them! and Night of the Living Dead, you know what this means. (codename: screwed)
The WORST movie ever made was filmed in El Paso
When you think of El Paso, you never really think of Hollywood movie production, and apparently you never will, thanks to an insurance and fertilizer salesman that lived in El Paso, who made what is considered the worst movie ever made.
Manos: The Hands of Fate (literal translation Hands: The Hands of Faith) is a movie that is so bad, it’s actually funny, but bad nonetheless. It has horrible storytelling, even worse cinematography, and only two people doing the voice of the entire cast (it was filmed with a camera that had no way of recording sound, so voiceovers were done in post production).
The movie was so terrible, one of the actors actually killed himself after filming (okay, his suicide might not have anything to do with the film, but then again…). The movie might have been forgotten if it wasn’t for Mystery Science Theater 3000, which featured the movie in season 4. Even on a show that deals with bad movies every week, the characters apologized on screen about how abominable the movie actually is. In recent news, this movie is in the process of getting a sequel to be filmed in El Paso in 2011. Joy.
There’s unexploded ammunition in the Franklin Mountains
El Paso’s Franklin Mountains offer lovers of the outdoors a great hiking experience, beautiful scenery, and also a blown up leg if they’re not careful. Next to the Franklin State Park sits Castner Range, a disused military firing range that is off-limits to the public, and by next to, I mean right on top of it. You won’t know you’re in there until it’s too late (or until you see one of the helpful yet terrifying signs pointing it out.)
Here is an excerpt from a military memo published by Fort Bliss in their Environmental Impact Statement:
“At this time Fort Bliss is performing a detailed survey of Castner Range to determine the extent and quantity of unexploded ordnance (UXO) both at the surface and subsurface level. This will determine what efforts will be required to remove UXO and make it safe for addressing the various options for the use or disposal of Castner Range at a later date. Until that occurs, Castner Range will remain a closed range and off-limits to the public.”
So instead of taking a hike, staying home and reading some humorous articles on a website seems a much better idea don’t you agree?