“Let’s stop pouring our billions into false, impossible security.” — Sister Megan Rice
Anabel Dwyer put the focus on this quote of Sister Megan’s this morning as she addressed a handful of media representatives at the Transform Now Plowshares pre-trial press orientation. Nuclear weapons have unavoidable catastrophic global effects, and nuclear “security” is a sham. As Paul and Anabel briefed the press, a crowd of supporters and onlookers began to gather at the other end of Market Square, tuned into the drumbeats that signaled the beginning of a prophetic tableau.
Giant blindfolded puppets walked towards the crowd, carrying a huge cardboard nuclear weapon. Sue, dressed as a jester, announced, “These people have been specially chosen to go from town to town bringing this BEAUTIFUL RESOURCE that their country has poured thousands of dollars into, that they are so happy to bring for all to see!”
“Our first citizen believes that what she is carrying is… a BICYCLE!!! (COOL!) Our second believes that what he is carrying around the country to be admired and used is… a TOASTER!!! (YUM!) A third citizen believes she is bringing books, and a fourth citizen just knows that he has been given an astounding and awe-inspiring… WHALE!!!”
In the end, the citizens remove their blindfolds and see clearly what they have been carrying, and the nuclear weapon is transformed by household hammers into beautiful trees and rivers, mountains and towns full of life and joy.
With that, the crowd danced in the square, and continued dancing in procession all the way to the courthouse. At the courthouse there was more dancing, drumming, and chanting, some statements by the defendants, and a blessing of Greg, Megan, and Michael as they went into the courtroom. John Amidon of Veterans for Peace has put together a three-minute video that gives a wonderful feel for the spirit of the street celebration.
The rest of the day was nowhere near as interesting: in court, the process of sorting through seventy prospective jurors was uninspiring, disorganized, and repetitive. “It was more boring than jail,” reported a seasoned resister in the gallery.
Of the pool of seventy, 44 had close ties to the military, and several dozen had close ties to law enforcement. Only three had any experience attending protests. “That’s what it means to be in front of an east Tennessee jury,” said Ralph Hutchison. Almost 90% of the jury pool had heard about the case prior to arriving in court today. Finally, at 7pm, a jury was chosen. A group of fourteen chosen, which will later be separated into twelve jurors and two alternates; ten are men and four are women. All are white.
After court, we enjoyed the hospitality of the First Presbyterian Church and the wonderful cooking of the Great Smoky Mountains Peace Pagoda. We had a humorous recap of the day from Ralph and Anabel, and some more music from Charlie King before he has to leave us tomorrow.
Court will be starting at 8:30 daily EXCEPT tomorrow, Tuesday — we will begin at 9:00am due to the late finish tonight.
Below you will find links to a sampling of the media coverage so far this week.