Twenty-three people, including the new U.S. provincial supervisor of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, were arrested Saturday after crossing the property line of a new nuclear weapons complex. The group was participating in a PeaceWorks protest at the National Security Campus, also known as the Kansas City Plant, a five-building facility where 85 percent of the non-nuclear parts for U.S. nuclear weapons will be made or procured. Line-crossers were arrested, fingerprinted, photographed and held at the Jackson County Police Department, according to a PeaceWorks Kansas City press release. All have been released. ... "When I heard Carl invited his provincial, I wanted to join into that," said Jesuit Fr. Bill Bichsel of Tacoma, Wash. "That whole sense of solidarity, I like that. Things become more alive when you're connected to the people that you're doing the action with. It makes it more vibrant and alive -- a spirit that moves."
Bichsel was one of two 85-year-olds arrested Saturday. When asked how many times he has been arrested at similar demonstrations, Bichsel laughed and said more than a hundred. "I think that gatherings such as this are much more powerful than a nuclear weapon," Bichsel said. "Relationships are so important in establishing our long-term struggle, our long term fight."
The Kansas City facility is one of two newly constructed nuclear weapons plants in the United States and, according to Bichsel, is a linchpin in nuclear production. "The plant here in Kansas City represents the United States' thrust and direction into endless war, keeping us in war, keeping us in a wartime economy," Bichsel said. "Of course we're making enemies -- we're threatening everyone with guns to their head."
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