Monday, August 6, 2012

Caught Off Guard

It's difficult to hear the soft-spoken
 Megan Rice speak in this video but her 
actions speak louder than her words.

This day always catches me off guard as I imagine it did all of Hiroshima over a half century ago when its citizens fell victim to the horrors of the first weapon of mass destruction ever unleashed on the face of the earth. I always forget what would seem to be an unforgettable anniversary.

It's good to know that not all minds think alike though and that there are those who, unlike me, never forget. One of those people is 82-year-old Megan Rice, SHJC.  Rice is one of the three law-breakers, including her silver-haired cohorts, Michael Walli (63) and Greg Boertje-Obed (57), who breached the maximum security of the Oak Ridge nuclear weapons facility in the US state of Tennessee on July 28. Their actions, occurring just a week ahead of the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, were aimed at preventing another atomic Holocaust from ever happening again.

According to the trio's own account of the event, once inside they "hammered on the cornerstone of the newly built Highly-Enriched Uranium Manufacturing Facility (HEUMF), splashed human blood and left four spray painted tags on the recent construction which read: Woe to the empire of blood; The fruit of justice is peace; Work for peace not for war; and Plowshares please Isaiah."

The gang of three, taking a cue from the holy book were hell-bent on beating "swords into ploughshares," even if only metaphorically.  Armed with little more than a small hammer, candles, flowers, crime-scene tape and a Bible they breached the wall of the U.S. atomic weapons production plant in the name of peace and justice. It was the first break-in ever of its kind of a US atomic weapons facility. The incident was made all the more historic by the age and backgrounds of the three desperados who made their way through the bowels of supposedly one of the most heavily guarded sites on the planet.  

Nathan Schneider, reporting in the journal Waging Nonviolence, writes that "in the process of their break-in and after, they managed to close down operations at the facility for days on end and raise searching questions about how secure — and how justified — the United States’ vast nuclear stockpiles really are."

While Rice and her fellow peace activists have caught the Oak Ridge facility off guard, word of their arrest has also sparked a chain reaction of nonviolent action and discussion aimed at scrapping atomic weapons forever.

Related post: Twist of Fate

Suggested reading: I thought my last hour had come... (The Atlantic Monthly)

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