Convicted

Editor's note: Sarah Cool, of Cherith Brook Catholic Worker House in KC, MO, gave this talk Nov. 3 at a festival of hope at St. Paul School of Theology and Nov. 4 at a rally at the new nuclear weapons production site. She shared her thoughts in follow-up to doing civil resistance to the groundbreaking for the new site Sept. 8.

Convicted. That's what I was the day I decided to risk arrest and practice civil disobedience at the site of the new Kansas City nuke bomb plant.

After watching Countdown to Zero with 100 others on August 16, I just knew that despite my previous hesitations, I HAD to act now. In the movie, Oppenheimer, the creator of the bomb, talked of his sincere regret in doing so, and in not being able to undo what he had created. Well, I say it's not too late to undo this evil, even here in Kansas City.

I think that if each and every individual person were asked: Do you want a nuke bomb plant built in your city? That each and every person would answer NO! And I too, say NO! Not only because of the plant workers health; not only because of what it will do to the health of those who live here in our city; not only because we need Green Jobs; not only because we still need to clean up the mess that's been made at the old plant--but mostly because Weapons of Mass Destruction are just plain wrong!

Our Creator has mandated that we love one another. We don't have to agree with everyone in the world on every issue, but we MUST love one another, even our enemies.

So what does that mean? What does that look like, to love one another? That means caring for all humans everywhere, regardless of race, religion, politics, borders. To care for others does not mean continuing to create Weapons of Mass Destruction, nor does it mean continuing to wage war against others.

I've always been of the belief that once one knows something, such as knowing that the City of Kansas City is building a nuke bomb plant, then one can no longer operate as if you don't know it. And if you do nothing to right the wrong, then you are just as guilty as those committing such crimes against humanity.

So that's why I say I was convicted--convicted to do something to right this wrong. I chose to risk arrest on September 8 as an outward and visible sign that I am standing firmly against nuclear weapons, against war, against harming our neighbors and ourselves. Actually I knelt in front of a big bus full of folks arriving for the Ground Breaking Ceremony at the new plant, after being pushed back twice by the police. I knelt and prayed while holding a big banner blasting our building for nuclear war. Then I was promptly handcuffed and taken away, charged with disorderly conduct, which was later dismissed due to lack of evidence.

I believe that we must each do ALL in our power to right these wrongs, lest we be complicit in these crimes, equal to these criminals whose actions we abhor, but whom we are required to love, not bomb.

And although I didn't get my day in court--I fully anticipate that I will one day. I hope others will also feel convicted to stand with us in the future against this plant, and stand with us in the promotion of loving our neighbors.