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Location: Takoma Park, Maryland, United States

I'm now a 52-year-old American male raised as an Episcopalian, veteran of submarines, Peace Corps, and State Department. I like teaching people about what they can do with computers and have gotten by as an independent Microsoft trainer teaching networking, but I really hope to someday find a way to make a living traveling on my motorcycle, camping, and writing about places and people I meet along the way.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

More Friends

One of the good things that has come out of living in Susan's basement has been all the wonderful people who I've met who are concerned with her situation. Tonight, I connected with somebody who had been reading about her on-line. Jack Cohen-Joppa is in town for an alternative energy conference. We met for dinner, and I got to hear about his involvement in the protests on the tracks at Colorado's Rocky Flats nuclear materials processing site.

I've been on the other side of the nuclear energy issue, but certainly share his interest in finding other sources of energy that are environmentally friendly. I also admire those who continue American traditions of activism and anyone who engages their mind and participates in public dialogs. Here's his signature line:

the Nuclear Resister
"a chronicle of hope"
P.O. Box 43383
Tucson AZ 85733
Now 25 years In Print!
- information about and support for imprisoned anti-nuclear and anti-war activists -
Jack & Felice Cohen-Joppa, editors
phone/fax (520)323-8697
email: nukeresister@igc.org US$15/year/US$20 Canada/US$25 overseas
- selections from recent issues
- updated prisoner addresses
- & archived issues can be read at:
(please supply a postal address for samples)

Now, Jack and Felice have some experience with situations like Susan's. Here's a bit from his e-mail to me:
"We will publish our next issue sometime in July after I return from DC. We generally ask readers to write letters of support to the folks in prison because of their anti-war activity. If appropriate and if it is the wishes of the prisoner, we also ask readers to write letters of protest or support to officials. (& it is not uncommon to prefer that those first be sent to an attorney, to be submitted formally and so the defense knows what is being said!)

"It seems Susan would believe that she is in prison related to her anti-war activity, however delusional. Her letters clearly indicate such a peace-seeking motivation. So it seems consistent with our objective as a comprehensive chronicle to report on that fact now. I wish I had known in September that she was involuntarily committed! I have visited a friend at Carswell twice - not in the FMC hospital but the women's admin-max. on the same site, and only with a monitor in the same room.

"We've also on occasion reported on people arrested and sent to jail who were mentally ill, but for one moment of moral clarity and unambiguous action ended up in custody. We try to be sensitive but straightforward. Seriously contemplating nuclear war is enough to drive most people crazy, so most people are happy not to think about it. Likewise imprisonment. The fact that the US imprisons at a greater per capita rate than any other nation is rarely contemplated.

"We also have some experience supporting people of conscience accused of espionage - see http://www.nonviolence.org/vanunu/20050702felice.html and that site's home page."
Walking home after our meeting at Mark's Kitchen, one of Takoma Park's favorite restaurants, I was pleased to get a call from another person who has helped bring publicity to Susan's plight, Janet Phelan, who is now in Sandpoint, Idaho. I envy her so much for being able to be so close to those mountains.


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