DAY THREE • 16 September 2011 • Part I, Carol Gilbert
[with Thanks to Ralph Hutchison]
Carol Gilbert, arrested at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee in July 2010 and convicted in May 2011 on a misdemeanor trespass charge, appeared before Judge Bruce Guyton for sentencing on Friday, September 16, 2011. Carol’s pre-sentencing investigation determined her sentencing range—points for prior offenses, added to points for the current offense—at 1-7 months.
Assistant District Attorney Melissa Kirby announced the government had no objections to the pre-sentencing report and sought a “just and fair sentence,” noting Carol had already served four months.
In her elocution, delivered just before the judge handed down his sentence, Carol said, “We do not choose jail. We do choose nonviolent direct action. We do choose to try to uphold Article 6 of the United States Constitution which was not allowed in this courtroom. We do choose life over death. But we do not choose jail.”
Carol declared that Oak Ridge can not continue to refurbish and upgrade nuclear warheads and, at the same time, adhere to humanitarian law and the laws of war. She spoke of women she met in jail who had horror stories to tell of the damage done to their families, health, and the environment by the work at Y12.
Drawing a distinction between civil disobedience, which breaks a specific law to accomplish a greater good, and civil resistance, which acts to uphold a law based on the citizen responsibilities established at Nuremberg to resist government crimes. Carol described her presence in the courtroom, along with her co-defendants, as drops of water—drops of water that, over time, wear away the stone.
Carol closed her statement with a remembrance of Jackie Hudson, to which the gathered audience responded, “Presente!”
The judge then sentenced Carol to time served, imposed no fine or probation.