Sunday, September 13, 2009

Alliant Tech Protesters Tried For Trespass

It wasn’t the usual group of criminal defendants in Hennepin County’s Courtroom 14D this past week where Judge Lloyd Zimmerman presided. Minnesota judges are used to facing defendants who have been charged with drunk driving, burglary, assault, and even murder. And it is a rare occurrence when defendants who face up to three months in jail agree to “stipulate to the facts” of the charges against them before any evidence is presented by the prosecutor. In fact, after the stipulation was entered into the court record, the prosecutor for the City of Eden Prairie rested her case.

After all, the stipulation said both the defense and the prosecution agreed to the “facts”: The nine defendants went on the property at 7480 Flying Cloud Drive on March 4, 2009; they had not been invited and, in fact, were asked to leave; they refused; and the police were summoned and arrested them on the charge of criminal trespass. Only one element of the case was disputed: did the defendants have a reasonable belief that they had a “claim of right” to be on that property despite the wishes of the owner?

The youngest defendant is 52. Three were Roman Catholic nuns in their seventies. There was also an elementary school librarian, a retired social worker, and an environmental engineer. At least four defendants are grandparents. And not a lawyer among them – they chose to go “Pro-Se”, to defend themselves. An old saying is often heard in the halls of most law schools: “He who defends himself has a fool as a client”. But these defendants thought this was no laughing matter. They sat before their jurors facing fines and jail because of conscience and conviction.

It was where the alleged trespass occurred that holds the key to understanding their determined and principled resistance – the headquarters of the largest Minnesota-based military contractor, Alliant Techsystems. Some of the defendants in the courtroom had begun their protest of the manufacture of illegal, indiscriminate weapons (especially cluster bombs) in the 1960s when Honeywell made them. After nearly twenty years of protest, vigils, and arrests, Honeywell chose to spin off their weapons products into another company, Alliant Techsystems – which is often referred to as ATK, their abbreviation on the stock exchange. That is significant. There is a lot of money to be made in selling both bullets and high tech weapons to a nation whose military budget grossly outpaces the rest of the world. But ATK doesn’t stop there. It markets its deadly products to more than 40 other nations. . . . [more] Progressive Catholic Voice

This is a very good article in a source that most probably thought that I would never link to. Actually, I admire greatly the commitment of those in the peace and justice movements over these many years.

What I wonder about is why they they want to change the Roman Catholic Church's beliefs, sacraments and liturgies, the worship, thanksgiving and petition of and to Our Lord Jesus Christ
, into something that complies with their secular beliefs. Are they saying God was wrong when he instituted his Church? That they don't need to follow the Commandments of God and of the Church?

Atheists and pagans comfortably work within the peace and justice movements. They have no expectations of eternal happiness in heaven. It is part of the Natural Law with which we were endowed.

What is special about the Catholic Church is that Jesus Christ, the Messiah, came down to Earth and gave up his Body and Blood in real human sacrifice for all of humanity, for all time, so that we could join Him in heaven. Monday through Saturday, the endeavors of the peace and justice movements are praiseworthy and appropriate activities in which to engage.

Sunday is the Lord's Day. And His commandments and the teachings of Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium are to be kept on all Seven Days.


Anonymous said...

Would these same defendants be willing to risk arrest for illegally trespassing to protest within an abortion-providing facility?

The Ironic Catholic said...

Well, at the risk of alienating some folks, I've protested at Alliant (when I used to live in the Twin Cities)--never made the moves to get arrested though. But as anon's question, I know at least some who do both forms of protest.

I think at least some people in P&J actions like this wonder who is being "targeted" (not the best word, can't think of another) in resistance actions at PP. At Alliant, it is the workers. At PP, the workers go in the back door and rarely see the protesters. There are ways in which the actions are similar, but ways in which they are different as well.

Dorothy Day, maybe the best known American P&J protester, isn't remembered as often for a strident speech against legalized abortion in front of feminists thrilled about Roe v Wade...or that she chose to have an abortion as a young woman and grieved and regretted that choice deeply the rest of her life.

Unknown said...

Thanks, anon. & I.C.

I'm familiar only with demonstrations at abortion facilities.

My experience has been that no attempts are made to step on private property or obstruct sidewalks. At Highland Park in St. Paul, on Fridays, in small groups everybody stands on the grass boulevard.

On Good Friday, when thousands are out there over an 8 hour period or so, Police are present and while it is not possible to avoid the sidewalk, reminders are regularly made to not obstruct it. After all, the sidewalk is public property.

I'm not sure who is being targeted at PP in Highland Park, but there does seem to be a lot of employee traffic, some wearing badges but they may be escorts.

But my intent in posting on this subject is to remind readers that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not the time or the place to proclaim P&J beliefs (other than at the time for congregational intentions after the Gospel).

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with protesting at Alliant Tech, or at an abortion clinic, but when you start pulling Saul Alinsky stunts for either credibility with your peers, or for publicity, the focus become you, not your cause. Selfish is as selfish does!