An 84-year-old nun was sentenced Tuesday to nearly three years in prison for breaking into a U.S. nuclear weapons complex and defacing a bunker holding bomb-grade uranium, a demonstration that exposed serious security flaws.
CBS News has the full story of Sister Megan Rice.
In her closing statement, Rice asked the judge to sentence her to life in prison, even though sentencing guidelines called for about six years.
“Please have no leniency with me,” she said. “To remain in prison for the rest of my life would be the greatest gift you could give me.”
If you are of a certain age, you grew up with small groups of activists, often radical nuns and priests, breaking into nuclear weapons facilities or military bases and symbolically defacing something or other. At times in my life I have thought of these activities as acts of courageous witness, and at other times as pointless, if not self-defeating. If there are ways to galvanize public opinion against the incredible amounts of money that our country spends on its defense, no one has found them yet.
While I admire Sister Megan, I don’t know whether what she and her friends did is helpful. I would be interested in what people think about these kinds of protests. (At a minimum this one demonstrated that nuclear materials at this facility weren’t secure.) Beyond that, what you make of your own response to the protest? Even if you think breaking into bases is pointless, what are the rest of us doing about our nation’s distorted budget priorities?