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Dan Th ibo dea u was warned about trespassing, not why he crossed. But, he said, “this is the whole point!” The judge was very patient, reminding him that the prosecuting attorney had done a lot of legal homework which she had read and the gentleman from Oregon had not. Did he wish his case to be continued in November when she would have had time to study the matter? No, he did not wish to return in November, Well, then, he could not present his moral arguments about why he had done what he had done! After a break, he tried again to tell the court his reasons for his actions and the judge refused again very patiently. There was no one else there except a few other defendants. No TV, no radio, no newspapers. A lonely, sad, quiet, intelligent man trying to tell the world why it should not be blown up and no one was there to listen. He struggled for words but the judge was adamant. The Motion in Limine meant not talking about what he felt or believed, no other laws of church or Nuremberg. She didn’t say all that, just quietly reminded him several times that he had to stick to the trespassing in Nevada charge. He shuddered and mumbled, “but that’s what I came out here to say” and then his voice broke. He was pronounced guilty and fined $10 in court costs. He was told he would have six months to pay and he wandered aimlessly out of the courtroom. IT IS ODD how hard it is to be mad, I mean really angry, at the system and at the same time not be mad at the people who are cranking out their work protecting that system. Most of my friends are law-abiding citizens who pay their taxes, don’t cuss too much or get drunk often. Now, how can you get mad at them and tell them that we’re organizing the end of the world as a recognizable place for our grandchildren to enjoy? Try fingering someone with that heavy stuff, especially a cooperative and thoughtful judge in Beatty, Nevada! She was defending the laws the State had created for trespassers on private property. She was carefully avoiding testing moral dilemmas related to genocidal behaviors on the part of her government. Her work protected the bombs and the process of testing. So, should we be mad at her or the clerk or the snappy, pushy DA? Or should I not instead be angry with myself as I pay my taxes for this? It was my turn. I agreed that what the police lieutenant had said about the two previous defendants applied to me. The judge said O.K. Then she asked about the Motion in Limine business; did I agree to dropping any arguments that there were higher laws or that I was there to prevent people from destroying themselves? I said I disagreed but not strongly enough to return to Beatty in November. She looked puzzled and then asked, “Well, are you then changing your plea to guilty?” I said, no. We stared at each other. She said, “That’s confusing.” I had agreed that there were no higher laws to be discussed but then said I was not guilty even though I had admitted to entering the testing reservation. I felt sorry for her but all I could find to say was, “That’s ydur problem.” She resolved the problem quickly. Guilty of the charge of criminal trespassing. Was there anything which I wished to enter as a plea for clemency in sentencing? No. Sentence was payment of court costs, $10. Was I a doctor? Yes. Could I pay the $10 immediately? Yes. That was it. I know that I had planned to do just what the court ordered, no gymnastics to challenge the court or push them to do something other than what they planned but it certainly felt foolish. The judge started planning the afternoon with the DA and didn’t even bother with the ritual of all rising for the judicial departure. I wandered out into the sunlight. I drove south to the test site. There it was, nothing to see, just a simple narrow road off into the mountains where, 15 or 20 miles away, they did the testing in deep pits drilled into the ground. The cattle guard gave it the appearance of an open range. The barbed wire has small signs saying no trespassing. Underneath it says I couldn’t resist writing this down “Unauthorized carrying, transporting, or otherwise introducing any dangerous weapon or explosive or other dangerous instrument or material likely to produce substantial injury or damage to persons or property prohibited.” No mention of the defense of the country or democracy, just protect the property and personnel of the Department of Energy. There was a Rent-a-Can there for the demonstrators’ use. The debris around the gate reminded me of previous demonstrations a few beer cans, the usual cigarette butts, but also there was an old diaper. The children are in on this too. There was nothing to do and a storm was building up with huge ferocious clouds piling up over the mountains. An occasional truck rushed into the test site and I had to assume someone was around watching the gate but all that was visible was the beautiful empty desert mountains with the cloud formations becoming more and more ominous. I got into the car to leave as the thunder crashed, the lightning blasted at the mountains and clouds dumped a deluge. Las Vegas was the same except it was drenched with the rain storm. The same gambling casinos, the same places to get married immediately, the liquor stores every block almost, and the welladvertised brothels. Great place to test bombs nearby! I know they will proceed with the next test as scheduled. I know that my trip had absolutely no effect upon whether or not the next test or the test after that will be done. And now I am listed as a criminal. And why? Why try to invoke the laws of Nuremberg about genocide? Why the tiresome trip, the anxiety of the courtroom, the feelings of frustration and sympathy, the shudder of a fellow human being? Why do we write so many letters to our people in Congress? Why do we perform so many lectures in church and temple and school? Why carry signs and share vigils in front of Carswell Air Force base? Why constantly bring up the subject of war and peace? Why do I give people so much advice about unlearning the old rationalist, practical, military way of business as usual for philosophy in life? Why take courses in nonviolence and study the life of Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr.? Why sing songs of peace and pass out leaflets? You will have to answer these questions for yourself, dear friend. All I will answer is that I am doing my best. I tell you though, it feels like my father is around close by as I remember the days when he was assisting in preparing the prosecution of war criminals in Nuremberg so many years ago. But I know also, my friend, that we are going to have to do an awful lot more than this if we ever hope to stop the arms race. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23