“The fruit of justice is peace.”
On Tuesday, 84-year old nun Megan Rice was sentenced to thirty-five months in prison after breaking into a nuclear weapons complex known as the “Fort Knox of Uranium.”
She and two other activists, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, cut fences at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, strung crime scene tape in the halls, splashed the walls with human blood in baby bottles, and spray-painted the walls with peace signs.
After two hours in the facility, guards finally caught Rice and the two men, after which she began singing and offered to break bread with them.
“The reason for the baby bottles was to represent that the blood of children is spilled by these weapons,” 58-year old Boertje-Obed said.
The sentencing began on January 28, but was delayed by a snowstorm. Then in May, the three were convicted by a federal jury of damaging national defense premises under the sabotage act. Federal sentencing says that Rice should receive to more than seven years in prison, but defense attorneys argued that the three were “completely nonviolent” after their arrest. Finally, two days ago, the sentencing was carried out.
According to Yahoo News, in her closing statement to the judge, Rice asked him to sentence her to life in prison. “Please have no leniency with me,” she said. “To remain in prison for the rest of my life would be the greatest gift you could give me.”
Though Rice received nearly three years, the two men were sentenced to more than five years because of their longer criminal histories.
At the trial, Rice stated that she was surprised how far she and her group got in the secured zone without being caught and that operations were shut down after they were confronted.
“That stunned me,” she said. “I can’t believe they shut down the whole place.”
After the incident, the Department of Energy’s inspector general wrote a scathing report on the security failures that allowed the activists to reach the bunker, and the security contractor was later fired.
After becoming a Roman Catholic nun at the age of 18, Rice received biology degrees and eventually became an anti-nuclear activist.
“It’s the criminality of this 70-year industry,” she told the New York Times in 2012. “We spend more on nuclear arms than on the departments of education, health, transportation, disaster relief and a number of other government agencies that I can’t remember.”
Rice, Walli, and Boertje-Obed have received more than 2,000 cards of support from around the world. At the sentencing on Tuesday, 75 supporters were in attendance.
Image via YouTube