Finally – A NONVIOLENT Action Figure

Friends,

If any of you have been wondering when someone would come up with a nonviolent action figure, your wait is over!!!  Cartoonist/Inventor R.R. Anderson has done what no one has done before.

Introducing the Tacoma Action Figure: Father Bill “Bix” Bichsel, REAL ULTIMATE American Hero.

Anderson is a genius, or at very least extraordinarily creative.  He has captured the essence of Bix, right down to his “Greek Fisherman of Men Hat.”   It’s the kind of tribute that no amount of money can buy.

Real American Heroes are few and far between; Bix IS the real deal!!!   Click here to download your very own Tacoma Action Figure: Father Bill “Bix” Bichsel, REAL ULTIMATE American Hero and read what Anderson has to say about Bix (and nuclear weapons).  Get yours today!!!

Peace,

Leonard

Of family and pounds of flesh

[A note from Theresa: cub reporter, filling in for Joe]

Bix just learned that his nephew, Jimmy, died a few days ago. Many of us have fond memories of Jimmy’s laughter as he helped construct Guadalupe House and joined us in other community events. He will be missed. Our hearts go out to the Bichsel family for their loss as well as the absence of Bix in their midst. A request was made that Bix be released on Saturday for the funeral; but, this seems unlikely to be granted.

Ensuring that the BOP collects every ounce of their pound of flesh may trump any amount of comfort Bix could offer or receive from his family.

Peace to the Bichsels, the BOP, and that pound of flesh nonetheless

Bix has ended his fast… and some words from him!!!

Friends, Hot off the presses from “Guest Reporter” Theresa Power-Drutis we have an update on Bix!!!  Bix has ended his fast, and (according to Theresa) sounds very upbeat. 

*************

Yesterday I received a letter written by Bix on January 24. I believe Bix’s own words best describe how he is doing; so, here they are:

On fasting and Intentionality: “I don’t ask that I be removed from the SeaTac SHU. I find peace and connection with all of you in here.  I feel a real sense of God’s presence and a calling to nurture and live out this freedom God has given me. I’m more weak today from the fast and have decided to end the fast tomorrow in the evening. “

On gratitude and community: “Thank you hugely for the vigils – in the arctic weather – and for the tremendous outpouring of help and consciousness you have brought about. Overwhelmed and humbled am I.”

On health: “I would like to express my heartfelt love to all of you working to better my condition.  I now have four blankets and some itching cream. I did not sleep, but am not out of shape by it. I am deeply sustained by my liquid-only fast.”

Retraction/Correction Policy: Plowshares News welcomes comments and suggestions, or complaints about errors that warrant correction. 🙂

Here are 2 such corrections from Bix RE: Blake’s visit “I was asked by the Lieutenant at SeaTac, ‘Why are you doing this?’ I answered, ‘Conscience.’ She responded, ‘This has nothing to do with conscience – this is a matter of policy.’ I replied, ‘You said it well – you have divorced policy from conscience.’”

Our report printed that last line as, “What is policy for some is not acceptable to Christians.” While this is probably true, it is not the point that Bix was trying to make. “What I’m saying is that policy without conscience is not acceptable to anyone.  I’m saying that the bureaucratic stronghold of policy has squeezed conscience to a drip level.”

Re: Naiveté vs. Fully Informed Risk Taking Bix writes that the government often portrays peace activists as, “well-meaning, generous, community helpful persons – but Charlie Brown like – out in left field.”  This is not the case, as Bix’s life – including more than two years of personal experience with the inhumanity of the Bureau of prisons – has proven.

“I didn’t choose the halfway house because of trust in the BOP or “Nazi” offer – I chose it out of an unknowing cloud of things going on within me.  Different elements, such as the courage and resistance of the young ‘White Rose’ woman to the Nazi court – complete condemnation – came to me over a few weeks, thoughts of,  ‘How will the BOP violate me back in,’ were floating in this cloud.  Also, thoughts of, ‘Maybe it’s a time to get to the Jean’s House Renovation.’ ‘Maybe the BOP doesn’t want to pay for my medications anymore.’ All of these elements were playing inside – for me it was a stepping out of my comfort zone to the unknown.”

—————————————–

To each of you who added your voice in seeking basic care for Bix – whether through a letter, phone call, prayer, meditation, or other action – thank you! We never know which ounce may tip the scales of power toward compassion.

When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion. ~Ethiopian Proverb

Seeing with the heart: a note from Joe

[A note from Joe Power-Drutis]

January 24, 2012

“It is with the heart that one sees rightly; what is essential, is invisible to the eyes” ~ The Little Prince

On Sunday, shortly before our motley Northwest group headed to vigil at the SeaTac Detention Center, in order to call attention to their negligence of Bix, my brother George called with the news that our older brother Reds, died suddenly that morning of an apparent heart attack.

Once again, we are reminded that the hour and day of our appointed time to leave this rock remains unknown, until it is time. Knowing Reds, his last thoughts were probably, “Wow, this happened fast … well, that’s life.”

I hope he also knew that we will miss him dearly. Reds takes a little part of us along with him and a part of his spirit of kindness and generosity remains with us.

In a few hours I’ll be returning to Pittsburgh to join my family to honor and give thanks for the life of Stanley Drutis Jr. “Reds.”

Given the present state of affairs surrounding Bix’s imprisonment, Theresa and I both feel it’s best that she remain in Tacoma as we continue to advocate for basic care for Bix and others in prison. Reds had a special place in his heart for Theresa as he did for so many of us. She found a letter of support recently that Reds had written; none of us knew it existed. Theresa writes about what is essential and meaningful.

R.I.P.
Stanley Drutis JR. November 13, 1942 – January 22, 2012

Yesterday morning Joe’s Brother, “Reds,” died due to heart failure. His most essential heart (compassion) never failed him while he walked the earth. We will always remember Reds for his eccentric driving, quirky sense of humor, and boundless generosity.

Reds also cared deeply about his family and their causes. Despite living many states away, he was a regular donor to the Tacoma Lesotho Connection and recently wrote this letter to the Magistrate in Knoxville Tennessee in support of the Y-12 Nuclear Resistors:

————————————————————-
Stanley Drutis PA, 15216 Sep 12, 2011 @ 7:38 PM

Your Honor: Before rendering the final decision in this matter, please considerthe underlying and truly superior motives of these defendants. In our fast-paced and often phrenetic world, where power and money will more likely trump honor and virtue, it is at least refreshing that a (very) few individuals would put themselves at risk in a non-violent way in pursuit of a goal that clearly will benefit all mankind. It is of course too late to turn back thenuclear clock, but (for me) any peaceful efforts to mitigate the risks going forward should be applauded- not condemned. If only our world’s leaders would earnestly come together in furtherance of this same goal.
——————————————————————–
The Northwest contingent of the Drutis Clan remains grateful for the love and life of our dear Reds. He will be missed.

Sunday at SeaTac – The Video

Rodney Herold captured the spirit of the day as we vigiled at SeaTac Federal Detention Center on Sunday, January 22nd. Here is his video:

Activists express concern for imprisoned priest

[Thanks to National Catholic Reporter Staff Writer Joshua McElwee for this article published in NCR Online on January 23, 2012]

Activists and friends of an 83-year-old Catholic priest imprisoned for an act of civil resistance are expressing some relief after prison officials responded to concerns he was facing unfair treatment in prison. The priest has not eaten since Jan. 10 to protest his placement in solitary confinement.

Jesuit Fr. Bill Bichsel was serving a three-month prison term in the Federal Detention Center near Seattle, Wash., for a July 2010 action at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., where a new nuclear weapons manufacturing facility is being planned.

Bichsel was moved Jan. 10 to a prison transition facility in Tacoma, Wash. He was sent back to the federal detention center in Seattle the next day because authorities said he had received an unauthorized visit at the transition facility.

Fellow activists say Bichsel has begun a fast since his return to prison, where he is being held in solitary confinement. The activists also were concerned that Bichsel, who suffers from blood circulation problems, was not receiving an adequate number of blankets to keep warm.

In a posting at the blog of the “Disarm Now Plowshares” group [2] Jan. 19, activist Blake Kremer said Bichsel had told him “it is very cold for me all of the time.”

“I cannot sleep at all,” Kremer reported Bichsel as saying during a phone call. “24 hours a day without sleep, fighting off the chill. I have asked for a jacket or a pillow or a mattress; they do not comply.”

Activist Joe Power-Drutis reported this afternoon on the same blog that Bichsel has now received extra blankets and is “much warmer,” following a support vigil for the priest outside the prison Sunday, which saw more than 40 people attend.

Power-Drutis also said there “remains a couple of other health related issues” that the activists “hope to resolve those soon through direct negotiation.”

Supporters say Bichsel was visited by Buddhist monks with the Nipponzan Myohoji order when he was moved to the Tacoma facility Jan. 10. They say the authorities at the facility reprimanded Bichsel for the visit and had him rearrested the next morning.

According to Kremer, Bichsel started his fast partly “to unite us as one and strengthen resolve against nuclear weapons” and would be appreciative of any who would join him in the effort.

A spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons said that while he couldn’t comment on the case of a specific inmate, he did say that the “typical issue” for all inmates in the federal system is a blanket and sheet, and that there is a “full health services staff on duty at all of our facilities.”

“If we receive information either from the inmate or the inmate’s doctor on the street that there was some sort of pre-existing condition that was being treated, obviously we would pick up the ball from there,” said Chris Burke, a public information officer at the bureau’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

“Now, sometimes, our doctors’ treatment may differ from what [the prisoner] was receiving on the street for a lot of different reasons. But those conditions will still be treated regardless.”

Before his imprisonment for the Y-12 action, Bichsel had served a three-month sentence in the spring of 2011 for a November 2009 act of civil resistance at the U.S. Navy nuclear weapons base in Bangor, Wash.

Supporters were concerned for Bichsel during that imprisonment, as he was transferred between at least six different facilities across the country.

Writing on the “Disarm Now Plowshares” blog, Power-Drutis said that a May visit to Bichsel in the Knox County, Tenn., Sheriff’s Detention Facility found the priest “a broken and very hurting soul.”

Twelve others participated with Bichsel in the 2010 action at the Y-12 complex, for which they faced sentencing in September.

Four others participated with the priest in the 2009 action, which saw the activists cut through the outer fences of the Washington state naval base before walking toward the center of the base holding a sign that read “Disarm Now Plowshares Trident: Illegal Immoral” and scattering sunflower seeds and hammering on a roadway and fences.

Among the other four who participated in that action was Jesuit Fr. Steve Kelly, who has been imprisoned since April at the Seattle facility, where he is serving a 15 month sentence. According to supporters, Kelly has been in solitary for most of his imprisonment.

Two of the other three people found guilty for the 2009 action have since been released. Susan Crane, a member of the Jonah House community in Baltimore, is still being held on a 15 month sentence at the Federal Correction Institution in Dublin, Calif.

[Joshua J. McElwee is an NCR staff writer. His email address is jmcelwee@ncronline.org.]

Copyright © The National Catholic Reporter Publishing  Company

Bix got blankets – his fast continues…

Dear Friends,

More than 40 people showed up yesterday.  The rain and wind were unable to dampen our spirit-filled spirits as we vigiled outside of the SeaTac Federal Detention Center in support of Bix, and of course all the prisoners incarcerated in all prisons.  We were simply reminding those in power of their moral and ethical responsibilities to their fellow human beings.  I hope that our collective Love, Compassion and Nonviolent spirit penetrated those thick, cold concrete walls and touched both prisoners and prison guards.  As Lynne Greenwald of Disarm Now Plowshares said,

It is important to note that while our circle of resisters have a wonderful network of supporters, we also remember all prisoners, everywhere, who daily suffer under this system of injustice. Most of the 700+ prisoners at SeaTac FDC are there for nonviolent crimes. Our friends in prison have witnessed cruel treatment under an inhumane structure. Jackie Hudson’s and Bix’s experiences remind us of how much work there is to do, to turn our lives around.

Vigiling outside SeaTac FDC on Sunday, January 22nd

Bix has received blankets, and both Joe and Blake will fill you in below.   Your collective good wishes, prayers and emails are a powerful force.  Thanks!!!  Rodney Herold videotaped yesterday’s vigil, and I expect to have that up here later today or tomorrow.  May the spirit of this community spread far and wide, and may everyone come to embrace its message of Mercy, Justice and Peace.

Leonard

****************

From Joe Power-Drutis

My apologies for not sending this report from Blake to you sooner; however, much was happening yesterday that prohibited me from jumping on this. Yesterday’s vigil at SeaTac was absolutely wonderful. We did sing Angels We Have Heard On High – twice; along with one of Bix’s favorites “This Little Light Of Mine”. Our line of well wishers stretched the front entrance of SeaTac Detention, as Senji and Gilberto led us for nearly an hour of meditation and drumming.

All of your efforts were well rewarded, as Bix has received extra blankets and he now reports he is much warmer. There remains a couple of other health related issues and we hope to resolve those soon through direct negotiation. Thank you so much for all of your efforts.

From:  Blake Kremer

I met with Bix yesterday, January 21st, and he asked me to pass along a message.

Bix is still in the SHU. Bix received a letter from Terry Morrison where he learned of the Tuesday vigil, and he is deeply appreciative of that.

Bix says that he has received extra blankets, and he is no longer cold.  He is able to stay warm enough in bed, and wears his blankets when he stands up to stay warm.  Bix says that he continues to not be able to sleep at all, but he no longer thinks that being cold is the cause of that. He thinks that it relates to “itchiness” that continues to trouble him.

Bix wants everyone to know that as he continues on his fast – yesterday was his eleventh day – that he feels stronger and more confirmed in his resolution.  Bix is appreciative of any who join him in his fast, the goal of which is to unite us as one and strengthen resolve against nuclear weapons.  Bix says that there are 10,000 issues that we can work on; this is one thing that we can all unite together on today. Bix says that Christians can unite in conscience where God speaks to all of us, to abolish nuclear weapons and to oppose those policies of the US that are without conscience. This was a point that Bix was reminded of when he was taken back to the BOP and told by his jailer that his re-arrest was a matter of policy, not of conscience.  Bix talked about how policy without conscience reminded him of the courage of the White Rose and their courage in protesting Nazi policies without conscience, even though they were beheaded for their resolve.

Bix talked about his re-arrest at the halfway house, and how just prior to that he was Gilberto and others drumming outside the house. Bix said that the monks looked like angels bringing songs of peace and joy to him. While Bix was re-arrested for this “unauthorized contact,” he continues to think of that and delights in the memory of what he considered wholly authorized contact. He blew kisses to them at the time, and continues to rejoice in the memory. Bix sings to himself in his solitary cell, and hopes that at the vigil today, those present will sing:  “angles we have heard on high.”

Bix is deeply appreciative of those who are thinking of him and sends his love.

%d bloggers like this: