Of jail cells and gravestones
I am getting ready to go on trial before Judge Jokel at 5 p.m. today in DeWitt Town Court for my Feb. 13 –- Ash Wednesday -- disorderly conduct charge. The Honorable Robert Jokel has promised us jail time for our misdeed of praying in front of Hancock National Guard Air Base (from which said drones are flown) to stop drone warfare –- and war in general.
I am looking at a 15-day sentence and with time off for good behavior I will most likely serve 10 days in a publicly financed gated community on the American Plan. I expect to be behind bars tonight.
Just to put a few things in perspective I will have served more time than Lindsay Lohan, Dick Cheney and anyone on Wall Street or (with Bank of America) combined. The Wall Street “Crips” crashed the entire economy robbing millions from mostly middle class Americans. Name one that went to jail. BofA knowingly laundered half a billion dollars of drug money, to be fair they paid a fine, still -– name of them that went to jail. Dick Cheney was one of the architects of the US torture program, which made us very popular with the rest of the planet, and not only has he not spent a night behind bars -– week before last he was with a group of the One Percent at a posh hotel in NYC making jokes about water boarding and other forms pain and degradation. Again for some perspective -– he has been tried in absentia in a few other countries and found guilty. And maybe Lindsay and I are neck and neck in serving jail time.
It is very rare to serve time on a disorderly conduct charge, especially one where the constabulary and the arrestees had such a civil encounter. But when the military gets to call the shots (unintentional pun) this is what happens so I expect more of this in the future. And so should you.
I am really so OK with going to jail. Through the generosity of my two faith communities, Presbyterian-New England Congregational Church in Saratoga Springs and the Inclusive Catholic Community of the Capital District, I have collected $300 for my commissary account to share with the women, mostly poor people of color who are there long term, who cannot afford a pencil and paper to write home with. I expect to do a great deal of praying, Bible study and listening to the stories of the women. I dare say I am looking forward to it.
In an interesting coincidence, yesterday, the day before my trial, I delivered a gravestone I had carved for a still-born child whose young mother could not afford to purchase one. (I fancy myself a slate carver). I kept a candle burning as well as a constant prayer while carving this stone knowing that it was a holy obligation to honor this little one's all too short life. In going to jail, I honor the stolen lives of the children who were killed by US drone strikes. If only I could carve one for each of them. Their names are listed here.
Many deeply felt thanks to all who wrote and called me with words of encouragement. I am most grateful for your kindness. Let us keep each other in prayer.