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Ann Suellentrop on KKFI’s ‘Jaws of Justice’ 5/25


Ann Suellentrop —Photo by Jim Hannah

I have been a mother-baby nurse for 45 years in Kansas City.  I’ve been a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility and PeaceWorks KC for 12 years.  We are holding a CARE-a-van for a Pandemic Pivot to Human Care, not Warfare, Monday, May 25, using social distancing by car.  Anyone is welcome to join us.  As always, no one has anything to fear from our nonviolent protests. We will have speakers from several groups: Veterans, the Poor People’s Campaign, Physicians and Nurses, Environmental Activists, Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, and PeaceWorks KC.  We seek to educate, alert and inspire the public.

The schedule is:   We’ll meet at

9:30am at 30th Street Campbell to Harrison to put signs on cars, and put on masks and gloves.  Then we’ll drive together to gather at the

10:00am Rally at St. Mark’s Hope and Peace Lutheran Church at  3800 Troost to listen to several speakers.  Then we will split into two groups at

10:45am CAR(E)avan #1 will go to the National Security Campus 14520 Botts Road for more speakers, and at

10:45am also CAR(E)avan #2 will drive through midtown Kansas City, MO

On Memorial Day we remember those who have died, particularly those from wars.  But we don’t often remember those who died and are dying due to the Cold War, which had its beginnings during WWII with the Manhattan Project and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6th and 9th of 1945.

There have been thousands and even millions who have died in the Cold War and it continues to this day, and is even ramping up as we speak.

To highlight just one small part of the suffering due to the Cold War, I would like to recommend a brand new 22 minute stunning documentary, called “The Atomic Soldiers” by Morgan Knibbe, You can google it and watch it on Youtube.  It is about the 14,000 soldiers who witnessed the nuclear bomb test in Nevada.  They were placed in trenches 1 mile from the explosion and were basically like guinea pigs in an experiment.  The men were silenced for 50 years and are finally talking about their horrific experience.  They went through incredible physical and mental suffering and damage at that moment and through the years.  Due to the blinding light of the blast, they describe seeing all the bones in their body and the persons next to them.  As the shock wave hit men were crying and screaming out for their mothers, vomiting and defecating.  As they talk on screen, their emotional silence as they look at the camera speaks volumes.  They have had nightmares and physical and mental illnesses ever since.

Kansas City has its own nuclear bomb parts Plant which is a big part of the Cold War.  It began in 1949 at the Bannister Federal Complex at Troost and Bannister Road.  A new plant was built in 2014 and renamed the National Security Campus at Hiway 150 and Boats Road, which is about 1 mile west of Hiway 71 just north of Grandview.  It is a Federal nuclear weapons plant, under the Department of Energy and the NNSA, the National Nuclear Security Administration.  It is currently managed by a private company, Honeywell, and produces or procures 85% of the parts for U.S. nuclear bombs.  It is the lynchpin of the eight major productions sites that make nuclear weapons.  Without Kansas City’s plant, there would be no nuclear weapons possible.  It is a dirty, dangerous business.  At the former site, the Bannister Federal Complex, the government reported it used about 2,400 hazardous toxins, and the workers have reported hundreds of early deaths and serious illnesses.

When the new plant was built, the government claimed it would save $100 million dollars a year.  However this has not proved to be true.  The budget has increased from several hundred million to over 1 billion dollars per year, a 52% increase in just the last 3 years.  The number of employees has doubled in the last10 years, from 2,500 to 5,000.  The nuclear bomb production sites have historically been run in secrecy, hidden from public view.

The Kansas City Plant’s main work is in so-called Life Extension Programs.  They extend the life of bombs, not human lives.

So why, you might ask, would a mother-baby nurse care about all this?  Because nuclear weapons offer ZERO help in a pandemic, in fact it weakens our medical response by using up money, scientific minds, and workers that could be much better used for human needs.  We need money for Human Care, not Warfare.  We need to protect workers who give us LIFE, not death.  We need PPE to protect first responders, medical workers, grocery store and food chain workers, truckers, bus drivers.

I would like to recommend another resource online, called “Warheads to Windmills” by Timmon Wallis.  It came out last year and is at www.NuclearBan.us.  It is a detailed plan to take our tax money, the scientists, engineers and workers away from making nuclear bombs and instead convert them to things that would help our economy and drive the Green New Deal.  Sustainable changes are needed for our transportation systems, our housing and agriculture to avoid climate collapse and mass extinction.  This would create millions of sustainable jobs and create income equality necessary for democracy.

We need a Pandemic Pivot from Warfare to Human Care!  For more information, go to www.psr.org and www.peaceworkskc.org.

Man hanging origame peace cranes.