163 miles. That is the distance from Oshkosh to Thomson, Illinois.
Why should we care about how far it is to a sleepy town along the Mississippi River that houses a currently-vacant Supermax Prison? Because that is where the Obama administration is considering moving some of the detainees from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. That would put some of the most dangerous people on the planet less than three hours driving time away from your house. Currently, those men are 1,827-miles away--and would have to fight their way out of one of the most heavily-armed military installations in the world--surrounded by open ocean with no direct flights to the mainland US.
163-miles. That would be all that seperates us from men who would think nothing about killing anyone of us. A local official who supports using the prison to house terror suspects and enemy combatants says "they can't really be that different than a murderer." Your average convicted murderer has killed one person--usually someone they targeted specifically. The men that would be housed in Thomson couldn't care less who they kill. Their weapon would not be a handgun or a knife--they would use a moving truck loaded with explosives and nails and ball-bearings in an effort to kill or maim as many people as possible.
163-miles. The distance from a new magnet for every other terrorist and muslim extremist--who would all love to free their "brothers-in-arms"--or to die trying. They wouldn't want to set up camp right in Thomson--that would attract too much attention--but a city just three or four hours away? That might be a nice place to plot and train.
163-miles. President Obama never used that distance to describe how close he would bring Gitmo detainees when he talked about closing the prison during his campaign. Did he think that might turn off voters in key states like Wisconsin and Iowa--to know that professional killers and bombers would be seperated from them by just chainlink fence and barbed wired? Of course, where else would you expect the President to use the "Chicago Way" to get what he wants? You think any Democratic state official in Illinois is going to say "boo" to this plan? Hopefully, the administration uses stimulus dollars to fund the prison upgrade and hire the para-military trained guards--so at least a thousand jobs will actually be "created" for a change.
163-miles. Doesn't sound that far does it? Of course that is much better than the 0-miles that New Yorkers will enjoy between themselves and the men that helped to carry out the 9-11 attacks as they await trial in Federal Court. Suddenly, I feel much safer already.