It is just past midnight, and in just a few hours the Disarm Now Plowshares trial will continue on its fourth day.
I’m sitting on the couch at Jean’s House of Prayer after a very long but wonderful day. The house is quiet now. Everyone is asleep; it is a good time to reflect on the day. Just awhile earlier there were four of us in this room, each on a different computer; Bix checking email, Chrissy uploading videos, Susan reading legal documents, and I was getting the news release ready to send. Our Lady of Guadalupe is in the corner looking over my shoulder.
I am humbled as I look around at the many images that include St. Francis, Franz Jagerstatter, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Oscar Romero. I am also humbled by the character of the five Disarm Now Plowshares defendants who are doing their very best to focus on the real issues at hand while the court essentially ties their hands and puts a gag over their mouths. It is difficult to put on a reasonable defense when one cannot even get a rational person to say what most of us know – that there are nuclear weapons at Bangor, and that they are a danger to the world.
I am overwhelmed at all the people who have come, not just from Tacoma and other parts of Puget Sound, but from around the country and around the world to witness the trial and help in so many ways. Expert witnesses have come from as far away as Scotland (Angie Zelter) and Japan (Steven Leeper). Ret. Col. Ann Wright took time out from her dizzying travel schedule to be here.
People on the other side of the Atlantic have held vigils in solidarity with Disarm Now Plowshares (see previous posts).
Lawyers have come from the other side of the country (Anabel Dwyer and Bill Quigley) on a pro-bono basis to offer legal advice throughout the trial. In addition to the standby legal counsels appointed by the court, local attorney Blake Kremer is also working pro-bono as an advisory counsel.
People have filled the courtroom every day to show their support and witness the trial. They have filled the halls where we have had our evening gatherings. There has been plentiful food, wonderful music and speakers galore. We have come together as a community to support the Disarm Now Plowshares, and as we do so we are in solidarity with people all around the world – with all who suffer from hunger, lack of shelter, the effects of violent conflict and war.
We know that there is another way, and we also know that until we can all face the horrendous monsters in the bunkers at Bangor and call them what they are we will never eradicate that tap-root of violence that leads to far too much suffering in our world.
As I look around the room one last time I am heartened by those spiritual leaders who have beckoned us to another way, which we know is not the easy one. And as I do so I think of the Disarm Now Plowshares 5 – Anne, Bix, Lynne, Steve and Susan – and how they are calling us all to take that difficult path. For that is the only one that will lead us to peace in a violent world.