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


Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Okay … here we go. A number of readers have complained that I haven’t shared any jokes that my friends send to my email address so on a weekend when our Volunteers and Mocs are idle, let’s laugh a little:   I was sitting in a bar one afternoon with an old friend knocking back a few beers when he said, "You know, if we're not careful we'll end up like those two old drunks ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Troubling Jameis Winston

One of the greatest things about the American legal system is that each and every crime is judged on its own merits. Just because Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer and Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy were each arrested for domestic abuse earlier this week, each National Football League football hero will be given an independent hearing and trial, if need be, ... (click for more)

Man Charged With Killing 3-Year-Old Takes Own Life In County Jail

Justin Dale Bradley died in the Hamilton County jail Saturday morning. Notification was received from the Hamilton County 911 Center at   12:50 a.m. ,   regarding an inmate found unresponsive.   Jail personnel found the male inmate unresponsive in his cell and initiated CPR while notifying Hamilton County Emergency Medical Services. ... (click for more)

Democratic Chairman Roy Herron Announces He Will Not Run For 2nd Term

Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron announced Saturday at a meeting of the Tennessee Democratic Party State Executive Committee that he would not be seeking a second term as party chairman. “I have been blessed to serve as chairman these past two years, and I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to all of the executive committee members, party officials, staff members, and friends ... (click for more)

McCallie Beats Baylor In Tennessee Classic Silver Division

NASHVILLE – Reed Oscar was the overall winner in 16 minutes, 49 seconds and teammate Dylan Carmack finished fifth overall in 17 minutes, 13 seconds to lead the McCallie Blue Tornado cross country team to a first-place finish in the Silver division of the Tennessee Classic, which was held here at Percy Warner Park Saturday morning. Teammates Connor Smith and Kevin Wagoner finished ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Golf Team Second At Wolf Run Intercollegiate

The Chattanooga Mocs men’s golf team is tied for second after 18 holes at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate. The Mocs and Florida Gators each shot 295 over the opening 18 to trail Illinois by 11 at 285 at Wolf Run Golf Club. The day’s docket had a scheduled 36 holes. Afternoon storms sent teams from the course prior to finishing. The remaining holes will be completed starting at 9:30 ... (click for more)