Roy Exum: Our Misguided Nuclear Nun

Thursday, February 20, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Three incredibly selfish and brazen people – one said to be a Catholic nun – were sentenced to 35 months and more in a federal prison on Tuesday after they wantonly disobeyed the laws of the United States and were found guilty of serious federal offenses. The justice system of the United States worked exactly as it should in a Knoxville courtroom when the three were found guilty of criminal trespass, sabotage of federal property and intent to harm national security.

Sister Megan Rice, age 84, Catholic layman Michael Walli, age 65, and Minnesota house painter Gregory Boertje-Obed, age 58, were brought to justice after they invaded, damaged, and defaced government property in Oak Ridge that contains the United States’ stockpile of weapons-grade uranium on July 28, 2012. Rice received two years and 11 months in prison while her two followers each received five years and two months after serving similar sentences in the past.

Most news accounts identified the trio as “peace activists” who cut through four fences, splashed human blood and wrote Bible verses on the outside of the Y-12 National Security Complex but, in fact, they are lowly criminal misfits whose twisted minds and jumbled thinking are in direct violation of our nation’s laws and our undiminished yearning for a civilized society that adheres to the same principles and Constitutional guidelines.

I know many activists who have a passion for everything from animals to religion, from human rights to racial equity, but they realize to be “active” they must play by the rules, abiding by the laws of the land, or else all they hope to obtain is dashed away in a vain effort that serves only their shallow and misguided personal agendas.

U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar, who dutifully recognized their three for their conscience and good works, told the scofflaws, “If all that energy and passion was devoted to changing the laws, perhaps a real change would have occurred today” but the judge also said he hoped the significant jail time “will lead people back to the political process I fear they’ve given up on.”

According to court records, sometime before dawn on July 28, 2012, the three cut through a chain-link fence, walked over a mile and cut through three more fences while breaching the most tightly-secured uranium processing and storage facility in the country. They threw baby bottles of human blood on the building, painted Bible verses and defaced its surface with a hammer.

When a guard appeared they offered him a Bible, some food and began singing. The companies charged with guarding the facility were later severely disciplined with one fined $12.2 million and losing contracts worth $23 billion. Four Congressional hearings followed the security breach and operations at the site were shut down for two weeks.

Upon sentencing, Sister Megan told Judge Thapar, “Please have no leniency with me. To remain in prison for the rest of my life would be the greatest gift you could give me," and then, with the judge’s permission, led a large gallery of onlookers in a song that contained the words, “Sacred the earth, sacred the waters, sacred the sky.”

Walli, a Viet Nam veteran from Washington, D.C., told the court, “I was acting upon my God-given obligation as a follower of Jesus Christ,” he said. “I make no apology. I have no sense of remorse or shame. I would do it again.”

In a New York Times article last year, Sister Rice claimed she has been arrested 40 to 50 times and once spent six months in prison. After her arrest in Oak Ridge she and her cohorts released “an indictment” accusing the United States of “war crimes” and three weeks ago Judge Thapar ordered the three to pay $52,953 in fines and restitution.

U.S. Attorney Bill Killian said Rice and her followers were actually “recidivists and habitual offenders” and said their blatant disregard for the law warranted serious sentences. A spokesperson for the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, the Catholic order of which Rice is a member, asked the court that Rice’s sentence should be reduced due to “her age, her health and her ministry.”

Each perpetrator will receive 8 ½ months credit for time already served and all reserved the right to appeal their sentence. But what a flagrant waste of life; it’s so selfish it is sickening.

royexum@aol.com


A Light Rain Began To Fall - And Response (3)

Around noon Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the most powerful nation on Earth after a long and sometimes bitter campaign where 17 GOP candidates of his own party and two of the opposing party competed for the honor.   Thousands rejoiced in the Washington D.C. streets while policemen who had come along with national guardsmen pushed ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Lady Remembers Rex

Kevin Roden sits on the City Council in Denton, Texas (think the Dallas-Fort Worth airport area in the northeastern part of the state) and he is gearing up to run for a third term this spring. He’s already got his website up and, while the election isn’t until April, he writes on his blog every now and then. Last month he let his wife take a turn at it, which brings us to yesterday’s ... (click for more)

Alabama Man Faces Murder Charge In Shooting Death At Bradley County Landfill

An investigation by  s pecial agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has resulted in the arrest of an Alabama man in a shooting death that occurred last fall at the Bradley County landfill.   At the request of 10 th  District Attorney General Steve Crump, last Sept. 8 TBI special agents began investigating a shooting death that occurred that ... (click for more)

Man Shot In East Lake Winds Up Facing Several Criminal Charges

Police said a man who was shot on Sunday morning in East Lake was assaulting the woman who shot him and others immediately before the gunfire.   Police said 29-year-old Latesha Hinton would not be charged in the shooting of Dieshunn Lindsey, 30. At approximately  10:50 a.m.,  officers with the Chattanooga Police Department responded to the 2700 block of ... (click for more)

Tullahoma Nips East Hamilton For Central Mat Title

The annual Central Invitational wrestling tournament was cancelled two weeks ago by the threat of inclement weather, but they were able to get it in on Saturday and it was a battle to the wire for the team championship. Luke Champion was the individual winner at 285 pounds and it was his victory that lifted the Tullahoma Wildcats to the team title as they finished the day-long ... (click for more)

Father Ryan Rallies To Beat Soddy Daisy

The Soddy Daisy Trojans may have been embarrassed over a lopsided whipping they took at the hands of the Bradley Bears Thursday night in Cleveland, but they came out with fire in their eyes Friday night in a dual meet with Father Ryan. The host Trojans had a seemingly-comfortable 32-22 lead with three matches remaining, but the Purple Irish won all three -- including two with ... (click for more)