By Mic Check
Jan 22, 2014
Join civil resisters on Friday, Dec. 13, at their Municipal Court trial in KC, Mo. The nine defendants were among 24 line-crossers July 13 at KC’s new nuclear weapons parts plant, which Honeywell will manage at Botts Road and Mo. Hwy. 150. At the courthouse entry at 12:45 pm on Dec. 13, the defendants will each make a statement before stepping through a door marked, “Open the door to a nuclear-weapons-free future!” In court, they will say why they oppose nuclear weapons, why they’re working to free the Earth from these WMDs. Specifics:
Noon rally at a restaurant west of 11th and Oak, KCMO—light lunch, then a march past City Hall to Municipal Court between 12:30 and 12:45 pm.
1:30 pm trial, Courtroom B, with Judge Ardie Bland
Defendants: Local resisters Cele Breen (a Sister of Charity of Leavenworth), Lauren Logan, Jane Stoever, Georgia Walker; other resisters Carl Kabat, OMI, of St. Louis; Bill “Bix” Bichsel, SJ, of Tacoma, Wash.; Betsy Keenan of Lamoy, Iowa; Janice Sevre-Duszynska of Lexington, Ky.; and Jerry Zawada, OFM, of Burlington, Wis.
New nuclear weapons parts plant, to be fully operational by Spring 2014.
Among the defendants, Lauren Logan spent more than 24 hours in a holding cell July 13-14 before being released. An administrative specialist in integrated communications for the Community of Christ, based in Independence, Mo., Lauren says she will plead not guilty by reason of sanity. Every creature is by nature loving, peaceful, oriented to community, says Lauren. The new plant will contribute to the destruction of our environment and of people, and therefore is illegal, she says. “We are law-abiding. We shouldn’t be criminalized or punished” for objecting to the plant. She is Buddhist, and the Buddhist beliefs in the sanctity of each living being and in opposition to violence are basic to all world religions, she says.
Another defendant, Georgia Walker, is a community organizer helping provide homes to the homeless and build understanding among midtown KCMO apartment residents. Georgia says the word “trespassing” usually involves laws to protect property, and the line-crossers did no damage to the land and had no weapons. “I am outraged,” she says, that the city of Kansas City arranged for the acquisition of the property, a good beanfield, and now it has five buildings on it for making WMD parts. Two of Georgia’s aunts worked for the IRS at Bannister Federal Complex, home to the current KC Plant, and the family believes their deaths from cancer at ages 62 and 63 were caused by exposure to contaminants from the KC Plant, which has made parts for nuclear weapons since 1949 at the complex.
Defendant Cele Breen says that since she’s a native of Kansas City, what KC does matters to her. Her father was a patriot—her Dad went to World War I and served under Capt. Harry Truman, Truman asked Cele’s Dad and others in Battery D to walk beside his car in the celebration of his election, and Truman came to her Dad’s funeral. Cele remembers how shocked she was to find out that the Japanese wanted to surrender earlier in the summer of 1945, but Truman wanted to test the bomb and proceeded with doing that, as shown in the movie “The Hidden Bomb.” Cele says that during the trial, she plans to refer to the word “property” in the municipal ordinance and discuss the city’s approval of plans that financed the new nuclear weapons plant.
Defendant Janice Sevre-Duszynska reflects, “We come from the Holy Mystery, from our Loving God who is about abundance and blessing, not suffering. We are to make life-giving choices, not those that bring about suffering to ourselves and others. To act otherwise is blasphemous of the Spirit that lives through us. We are making so-called security our idolatry … and it is insatiable. We are contaminating our Holy Mother Earth, causing suffering and death from cancer and the breakdown of the body from the handling of these chemicals. We are also taking away from our community and federal budgets the funds needed by the people in their communities. Again, this weapons plant brings death and suffering.”
Defendant Betsy Keenan says that since the end of the cold war and the moratorium on nuclear explosive testing, the KC Plant’s mission has shifted from making and procuring parts for new nuclear weapons to supplying new components for current weapons in support of their “life extension programs.” In contrast, says Keenan, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons is calling for people everywhere to open the door to a nuclear-weapons-free world. The defendants symbolically stepped through that door July 13, into territory controlled by the National Nuclear Security Administration and operated by Honeywell for the death-dealing work of nuclear destruction. On Dec. 13, the defendants will call for disarming these ecocidal weapons and creating healthy, worthwhile alternatives, says Keenan. “We will take the call from the street to the courtroom. I grieve that the nation I live in is the only nation to have used these weapons in war, and has not repented. It seemed fitting to me—since these weapons are being enabled and their “life extended” relatively close to my Catholic Worker home in southern Iowa—that I should join in this effort to open the door to a new, safer world, by opposing the KC Plant.”