Bulletproof Security guards will soon be back in the woods of Iron and Ashland Counties at the proposed mining site, just in time for Wisconsin’s deer hunting season. GTAC mining company spokesman, Bob Seitz, sees no conflict there; Wisconsin deer hunters are safe and responsible and Bulletproof Security guards are well-trained, he says. But local elected officials say it’s a recipe for disaster, and they worry that someone will end up getting hurt or killed.
The mining area is a five mile stretch between the Iron County Town of Anderson and the Ashland County Town of Morse near Mellen.
At last Thursday’s DNR public hearing about allowing Gogebic Taconite to do exploratory mining, Anderson Town Chairman Bud Benter says his town board is against Bulletproof Security or any private firms returning with semi-automatic weapons.
But he says GTac says Bulletproof is coming back.
“These people, they tell me, are trained to search the woods for protesters. What we’re asking is: Put a stop to this before somebody gets killed or hurt.”
Ashland County Board Chairman Pete Russo concurs:
Russo says armed security guards could lead to a high-powered confrontation this fall.
“One guy’s got a 30-06 and he’s deer hunting and you got another guy maybe 100 yards away in camouflage with an AR15. You know what it is? It’s a mixture for disaster.”
And the Mayor of Mellen agrees:
Mellen Mayor Joe Barabe also is on record saying the armed guards are scaring tourists away and Iron County District Attorney Marty Lipske has asked GTac to have the guards return unarmed.
Will the concerns of these elected officials and others fall upon deaf ears?