Jun 08, 2020
Kings Bay Plowshares Seven activist Elizabeth McAlister was sentenced Monday to time served and a $25-a-month fine for her involvement in a peaceful act of civil disobedience against the U.S. Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia on April 4, 2018.
"I acted because I had to follow my conscience and my faith," McAlister told federal Judge Lisa Godbey Wood at her sentencing hearing.
McAlister is one of seven activists who defaced and superficially damaged buildings at the base, which houses Trident nuclear missiles.
\u201cThe Plowshares activists risked their lives to save other people\u2019s lives. They are being punished for this.\u201d— sign up! husseini.substack.com (@sign up! husseini.substack.com) 1591622672
The activists used a "necessity defense" at trial, arguing that the danger posed by the "omnicidal" weapons made their actions a moral imperative; the jury found them guilty of four counts of destruction and depredation of government property in excess of $1,000, trespassing, and conspiracy in October.
"I don't apologize for it," McAlister said during her sentencing. "I think the weapons are completely destructive of life."
\u201cLiz McAlister speaking to judge: "I have spent most of my adult life trying to speak out about the threats to life that come from weapons of mass destruction... And to say that money belongs to building life and building a more humane society."\u201d— Kings Bay Plowshares 7 (@Kings Bay Plowshares 7) 1591626569
An 80-year-old longtime Catholic activist, McAlister was married to Philip Berrigan and founded Jonah House, a community for nonviolent resistance, in the 1970s.
Though the other six activists still await sentencing, the group found time to issue a statement of solidarity with the uprising across the country against police brutality and racism. The nationwide protests, sparked by the killing of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police officers, entered their fifteenth consecutive day Monday.
"As seven white, American Catholics who have chosen to nonviolently, symbolically disarm this nation's most deadly weapon, the Trident nuclear submarine, we understand that there is a critical connection between this nation's weapons of mass destruction and guns of the police on the street," the group said.
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