Thank God there's another war looming
I see by the front page of today's Daily Gazette that our government is now contemplating going to war with Syria because Syria is using chemical warfare against its citizens -- and the U.S. needs to “protect” them. My first thought was, “Too bad what Monsanto is doing with GMOs in our food supply doesn't count, because we could use some protection against chemical warfare right here at home.”
We're not even done ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Although many of us are still trying to end them. In fact, approximately 275 gathered at Hancock Air National Guard base on Sunday, April 28, to witness against the death and destruction by drone. Thirty-one of those folks were arrested, one being Albany native John Amidon, who was dressed as the grim reaper and was dancing on a barricade at the time. I am sorry to have missed that performance. I never made it out of the parking lot of the rallying point, spotting an undercover officer in a car tucked in the back of the lot, I promptly left with a friend.
We went to another parking lot about a block away and prayed the Rosary for everyone's safety and asked the intercession of the Blessed Mother and Padre Pio to change hearts to make the bombing stop. John was most grateful for the prayers -- which made me feel better about leaving the rally.
I am one of the people with an order of protection to stay away from Earl Evans, the commander of the base. We have never even met each other. The chief of police of DeWitt threatened to arrest anyone with said order if they were even within sight of the base. And the local constabulary was “loaded for bear,” so to speak, with several police cars just across the road from the rallying site and many, many more at the entrance to the base.
All this public resource to “protect” against unarmed, nonviolent citizens asking our government to stop killing other people. Folks were gathering at the rally to prepare for the march to the base when I saw the officer in the back of the lot. I wanted to say to him, “I think you're missing a rape two blocks over....”
I don't mind getting arrested if I am actually participating in civil disobedience but not when I am just standing in a parking lot.
One of the people arrested on Sunday and given an order of protection on behalf of Earl Evans was an 88-year-old woman in a wheelchair. There's a good use of your tax dollars.
People were given high bail rates so the group had to come up with $34,000 in bail money in a hurry. The Catholic Worker helped organize this “impromptu fund raiser,” appealing to the Fellowship of Reconciliation as well as $50 and $100 contributions from individual citizens. A few folks had to stay in jail for a day or so until bail was raised.
John told me he was released with a violation and a misdemeanor Class B and no bail required because his arresting officer wanted to get home at a reasonable hour. He said it was quite amusing sitting and listening to the officers complain about officers' incompetence and the department in general, while he waited to be processed. “They were not shy about it,” he said to me.
In the meantime, we still have daily coverage of the bombing in Boston -- but little on the fertilizer plant in West, Texas, that exploded. Both tragedies to be sure -- but the one in Texas could have easily, easily been avoided. That plant had not had a government safety inspection since 1985 -- that's 22 years. There is evidence that the administration of the plant had in fact hidden safety issues.
Over 15 people were killed with 2/3 of them being first responders, decimating the town's rescue services. In addition, entire neighborhoods were flattened. People in those neighborhoods, who did not have much to begin with, lost everything and then some.
The U.S. Senate has just decided to convene a special panel for a probe into this engineered by greed accident. (“Johnny on the spot,” our politicians. Course it took them two decades.)
I am not holding my breath for a “perp walk” on this one.