Usually Livermore is hot. Not this year on Hiroshima Day. The air had a clammy chill that surprised me. Carol and I came up from Santa Clara County because the event was an important thing to be part of. I remember the event in previous years (2003 and 2005), and I was looking forward to seeing what it was like without the big publicity that those events had.


The action had already started when we got there. I'd say there were maybe a couple of hundred people at the most, arranged in something like a circle with a microphone for the speaker on the curb at one end. There was also a large police presence, all of them dressed in riot gear with billy clubs and the like. Shown above are represantative samples of the people there. Mostly it was retired people and religious professionals. All of the weekend warriors that I'd seen before were doing their day jobs.


Some of the speakers explained their reasons for getting arrested this morning. One guy explained "My brother worked at the lab for years, and I felt like a hostage of his job then. Now that he's retired I feel a need to object." The woman shown above used her time at the mike to sing a spiritual hymn and share a poem she had written. Another guy sang a folk song. Somebody else said that most of the damage caused by nuclear weapons hits the communities around the places where they are built, in the form of cancer clusters. Over and over variations on the theme "I need to do something more than just say it's bad, so I'm getting arrested today" came up. The occasion had a somber dignity that went with the gray skies and chilly air very well.


Carol spoke about how the government is guilty of covering up 9/11's real causes and guilty parties because Bush wanted a war with Iraq, and he didn't want to get distracted by inconvenient facts. Click her picture for the IndyBay story about it. Her words inspired JamBoi to put out a press release. Click here to read that. After she spoke she lay down in the road like many of the others who were there to practice CD.

Through it all the cops just stood there silently. They barely moved a muscle, just giving the occasion a silent menacing quality with their presence.

After a while the people who were putting their names on record by getting arrested gathered into this line and stood shoulder-to-shoulder. A cop with more chevrons on his shoulder than all the rest read an order to disperse and they ignored it. More riot police came out and surrounded the group.


The cops waited for something like ten minutes, maybe giving people one last chance to avoid arrest. Then one by one, Those who hadn't backed off were walked off to the waiting paddy wagon.


After the brave had been lead off to jail the rest of us had to wait. I had a moment of panic while I contemplated being 70 miles from home with no ride. Even the nearest BART station was at least five miles away. Somebody explained to me that if we just wait the arrestees would be brought back and dumped off on the corner. I spent the rest of the waiting time chatting with people around me.

Daniel Ellsberg was one of the first to return. He had no complaints about the treatment the cops had given him. I think all of the arrestees were charged with the same crime, "obstructing movement on a Public Place." They weren't given a court date or anything. I gather they will hear further details by mail if the government ever gets around to it.

Carol took a bit longer to show up. She gave me grief about not getting busted, pointing out that I would have been able to brag for the rest of my life about "getting busted with Daniel Ellsberg fighting against nuclear war." I wish now I'd said something like "I took pictures so you can prove you were busted with the guy". Unfortunately, all I could think about was how little I had enjoyed getting arrested during my misspent youth. There was also the 'who am I going to call to get myself bailed out?' factor. I hadn't known it was going to be the theatrical experience she seemed to have gone through. I just told her "I don't like being arrested."

P.S. While we were in Livermore I put about $12 worth of Citgo gas in Carols car. My 2nd gas purchase of the year.

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