By Jane Stoever

We don’t always get what we expect. We knew, well in advance, that five men in PeaceWorks would cross the property line May 31, Memorial Day, at the National Security Campus, the Kansas City, Mo., plant that makes parts for nuclear weapons. Done.

We knew they’d be briefly arrested and processed. Done. An arraignment was set for July 1. Done. It was by videoconference, not in person. But—surprise—Judge Martina Peterson said our five should come to court in person Aug. 11 to speak to a different judge. Why? Well, if any of the five wished to plead guilty and most likely be assigned community service and fees, they could either bring a lawyer to the court or sign a waiver of the right to legal representation. Municipal Court does that to protect the defendants—because the trespass charge carries a possible sentence of up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $500, plus $48.50 in court costs.

We at least have a court date: Aug. 11, at 10 a.m., in Courtroom C, presided over by Judge Michael Heffernon.

So what do we expect now? Well, one or two of our five—Christian Brother Louis Rodemann and Tom Mountenay—may plead guilty of trespass and be assigned community service and fees. For the others—Jim Hannah, Henry Stoever, and Brian Terrell—the judge may assign a special trial setting at a later date.

To those who wish to attend the Municipal Court hearing Aug. 11, welcome!

We recall Tom’s statement on May 31 as to why he was crossing the line: “I am taking a simple step, an act of love, towards a future when there will be no weapons of war, as prophesied by Isaiah.”

A police officer guides Christian Brother Louis Rodemann, hand-cuffed, toward a point for processing after Louis crossed the National Security Campus property line May 31.–Photo by Tom Fox

And we remember Louis’s words before crossing the line, reflecting on his 28 years at a KC house of hospitality: “Walking with me (across the property line) will be every one of the thousands of guests who were ever welcomed into Holy Family Catholic Worker House through its 44-year history – guests who could come in from their poverty, brokenness and loneliness and be treated with the dignity of the human person they had stopped dreaming and hoping they could become; to get a glimpse, if just for an hour, of the peace and wholeness they justly deserved as a way of life. For making this glimpse just one step closer to reality, I will step over that line one more time.”

Note: This Memorial Day marked the first time Tom stepped across the property line and the fourth time Louis did.

By Jane Stoever of PeaceWorks-KC