Reflection by Elizabeth McAlister Camden County Jail, Woodbine, Georgia

Absurd Convictions, Modest Hopes is the title of one of the more than fifty books by my late brother-in-law Daniel Berrigan (RIP and Presente!). It might be fair to say that we came to Kings Bay Submarine Base animated by the absurd conviction that we could make some impact on slowing, if not ending, the mad rush to the devastation of our magnificent planet. And this is no extreme overstatement. The six Trident submarines that consider Kings Bay their homeport carry enough destructive power to destroy all life on Earth. What difference can seven aging activists make?

We come with hammers to imprint the pristine coat of the weapon. Knowing a bit about how important image is in the military, the weapons so scarred may be trashed.
We come with blood (our own) to mark the weapons’ purpose as the spilling of blood and yes,
We come with bolt cutters to violate the fences that protect the weapons that spell death to all life.

But, above all, we come with our voices and our lives. We raise our voices in a cry to dismantle the weapons- all of them and we risk life and limb and our future hopes to make this plea: “dismantle the weapons.”

Admirals at Kings Bay, you must know as well or better than we, that the payload of your six Tridents is more than enough to obliterate all life on Earth (cf. Daniel Ellsberg’s book Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, Bloomsbury, 2017, to learn more)

We plead with you to examine your priorities. Is this really what you want to be about?
How can you look at your children and grandchildren and continue to grease the wheels of destruction. Turn it around before it is too late…

Editors note: Yesterday when I spoke with Clare, she related a beautiful story about Liz: The women in the jail have an emerging prayer circle. They asked Liz, as the elder, to lead a prayer. Liz was reluctant but eventually agreed. She began by saying, “God is in each of us. Each of you has God within you.” She repeated those words. Women began to weep. No one had ever shared this with many of the women in the Camden county jail.

Any of us who have been inspired and comforted by Liz can probably hear her steady, firm, and loving Irish inflected New York voice offering that benediction. Thank God for the gift of Elizabeth McAlister in that jail and in our world.~

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