Sister Megan Rice Invokes Briar Patch Privileges

Beating swords into plowshares

Beating swords into plowshares

“Only please, Brer Fox, please don’t throw me into the briar patch.”

The Transform Now Plowshares Three were sentenced for their infiltration and protest at Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee on July 28, 2012. I guess it could have been worse. CBS News reports (emphasis added):

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.

Two other activists who broke into the facility with Megan Rice were sentenced to more than five years in prison, in part because they had much longer criminal histories. … 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.”

Not entirely sure what Sister Megan meant by that, nor whether this kind of psychic jujitsu resulted in a lighter sentence for her. The disparity between the three years she received and her colleagues’ five years was presumably out of deference to her age.

We in the disarmament community not only experience sorrow for their sentencing, but because their acts have been viewed by most as less a protest against nuclear weapons than cause for panic over flaws in a nuclear facility’s security. Nevertheless, the Transform Now Plowshares Three are exemplars of a moral courage most of us shrink from.

Cross-posted from the Foreign Policy in Focus blog Focal Points.