We began our day in the presence of a full-scale Trident D-5 missile (inflatable of course; the Navy could learn something from this) in front of the U.S. District Courthouse in Tacoma. The people of peace turned out to vigil and send off the Disarm Now Plowshares 5 – Anne, Bix, Lynne, Steve and Susan – to their trial that would soon begin. The missile’s presence was meant as a graphic representation of the most violent and destructive force ever created by human beings. How people could even participate in the preparations for the destruction of humankind is the subject for another post.
After introductions and words of hope and good wishes from Angie Zelter, Ret. Col. Ann Wright and Steven Leeper, followed by a blessing of the defendants we entered the world of the U.S. Justice system.
Meanwhile, back in the courtroom the five co-defendants settled in. Only about a dozen observers were allowed in the courtroom so that there would enough room for the prospective jurors; there were approximately 45 members of the jury pool in the courtroom. The primary jurors sat in the jury box, and the remainder sat in the back of the room. Further up were the U.S. Attorneys at the left-hand table and the defense on the right.
The five Plowshares co-defendants sat at the table, and their attorneys sat behind, close enough to be accessible for questions and advice. Judge Benjamin Settle sat at the front of the courtroom; a vast tract of Boreal rainforest must have been sacrificed to build such an imposing facade. This, in addition to the high ceilings would give an impression of grandeur meant to humble those who pass through these doors.
The major issue that needed to be decided before the jury entered the courtroom was the issue of cross-examination; specifically, questions that would either confirm or deny the presence of nuclear weapons at Bangor. It is clear to Disarm Now Plowshares that this trial is about the fact that nuclear weapons are horrendous, they are illegal, and it is the duty of us as citizens to do everything in our power to resist them. Unless the court acknowledges the very existence of nuclear weapons at Bangor, this entire trial will be a mockery.
Among the first twelve in the jury pool was a man who declared, “There is no way I could possibly convict these people.” Would that the entire jury reaches that verdict by the end of the trial.
Chrissy & Leonard (for Disarm Now Plowshares)