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How Do You Tell the Kids that Grandma is in Jail for Resisting Nuclear Weapons?


How Do You Tell the Kids that Grandma is in Jail for Resisting Nuclear Weapons?

Frida Berrigan

“Our grandma is in jail,” Madeline tells a woman wrestling a shopping cart at Target.

“She went over a war fence and tried to make peace,” Seamus adds helpfully. “They arrested her, and she is in jail now.”

“Where?” the woman asks, looking from them to me in disbelief and maybe pity.

“We don’t remember,” the kids say, suddenly done with their story and ready to make passionate pleas for the colorful items in the dollar section over the woman’s shoulder.


You tell them with pride.


This is the United States of America??? My eyes are filled with tears. That this grandmother should be spending ANY time in jail for speaking truth, is beyond comprehension. Yes, I applaud her. I commend her spirit and courage.

Where is justice? Where is mercy? Where is the media coverage? These sacrifices become meaningful to the masses, when the masses know about them!

Sacrificial lambs? Have we gotten to 144,000 yet?




Dr. King said this 50 years ago and sadly nothing has changed and nothing will change until millions of people, like 78 year old Liz McAlister, and her six friends, realize that what MLK said 50 years ago is even worse today and needs to be stopped.

Thank you to the 6 real patriots!


Tell your kids the Truth.

Trump is coming for your Grandma and you too.

Tell them that repressive government does this, and Trump is doing everything he can to insure that We cannot speak up against his vision of authoritarianism.

Tell them the Truth.


And worse, she is in jail as she is totally ignored - her society and media totally ignore the activists and what they did. This action was totally absent from the US media save for a brief story on the local Jacksonville, Florida TV station. However, as usual, it did get a writeup across the Atlantic, in the Independent of London, where there is always lots of news about the USA that the USA media ignores.

Here’s the Jacksonville story - enjoy the comments afterward. There is not a single one supportive of the action:


How many years have these people spent without medication? The amount of unrelated connections in this article is astounding.

“nuclear weapons, white supremacy and deeply embedded racism.”
How on earth are nuclear weapons related to white supremacy and racism? They were literally developed in the middle of WW2 to stop Nazi Germany! WTF are you talking about?

“by disarming the world’s deadliest nuclear weapon, the Trident submarine. We repent of the sin of white supremacy that oppresses and takes the lives of people of color here in the United States and throughout the world.”
How on earth are these two events related? One is a domestic police calamity and one is an operation by the US Navy. Please provide JUST ONE example of nuclear submarines committing racial prejudice in violence. WTF are you talking about?

“We resist militarism that has employed deadly violence to enforce global domination.” Why on earth are you attacking a US Ballistic Missile Naval Base? This class of submarines were first developed as a response to the USSR in the Cold War, whom as I recall actually dominated a much larger portion of the globe than strictly speaking the USA from 1947-1991.

  • Furthermore the SOLE PURPOSE of these submarines are for NUCLEAR DETTERENCE, as opposed attack submarines or cruise missile submarines. This means the ONLY scenario in which these subs are used is if another nation with WMDs is present in an operation. Last time I checked the USA is not enforcing global domination on China, India, North Korea, Russia or Pakistan, as that would most likely result in immediate nuclear war.

“hey walked onto King’s Bay Naval Station just hours after Saheed Vassell was shot and killed in a barrage of bullets by New York City police officers, just hours after hundreds of demonstrators filled the streets of Sacramento for another day, shouting “Stephon Clark, Stephon Clark, Stephon Clark” and demanding accountability after the young father of two was killed by police officers on March 18.”
How on earth are is this related to nuclear deterrence, nuclear submarines or the US Navy?

“Each submarine, my mom and her friends assert, carries the capacity to cause devastation equivalent to 600 of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima, Japan.”
Well I’m sorry little Johnny, but your mom has no idea what she is talking about. A trident II ICBM has a weapon yield of 475kT, and the “Little Boy” nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima has a weapon yield of 15 kT. Now the Trident II is far more destructive, but in terms of “capacity” its only 31.6 times as much.

“Nuclear weapons kill every day through our mining, production, testing, storage and dumping, primarily on indigenous native land.”
Testing every day? Even though it has been illegal in the USA to test nuclear weapons since 1996 through a multilateral international treaty among all major nuclear superpowers? If this was really happening, do you honestly think China and Russia would be so calm about the USA violating not only the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, but also the Model Additional Protocol of 1997?

  • Additionally it is illegal to dump nuclear waste on native land since the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act.
  • What recent events are you talking about? Yes there were damages caused from 1940s-1970s, but since that time there is an extraordinary amount of NPT regulation that if violated would give other superpowers the motivation to increase nuclear stockpiles. WTF are you talking about “every day”?


So you like nuclear weapons?


I used to be against nuclear weapons until I watched a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory seminar on Strategic Response. Yes this is a laboratory that works in collaboration with the National Nuclear Security Administration, so there is some bias but the speaker was Brad Roberts who served in the Obama Administration as the Senior Policy Advisor for Nuclear Posture Review and Ballistic Missile Defense Review. I don’t like nuclear weapons because they negatively effect world peace, economic trade and nuclear energy progress; however there were several points made I could not find a response to.

One of the points that stood out to me is was the question of alternative cost if not nuclear deterrence. Since this article is about ballistic nuclear submarines lets look at a real world operation and consider the benefits and cost of the operation if nuclear deterrence was non-existent. Some of the submarines were sent to South China Sea in 2016 as Chinese destroyers were blocking supply access to Philippian claimed portion of the Spratly islands. By the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas nations can claim up to 200 nautical miles of their mainland, which is why this portion of islands under siege were Philippian property by international law. However China disputes this ruling and claims upwards of 95% of all islands in the South China including the territory of 7 South East Asian nations. The US submarines were sent to push China away as any action against the USA would be a declaration of war and allow these submarines to launch ICBMs on the Chinese mainland- a cost that China cannot afford.

But what if ICBMs didn’t exist? If nuclear weapons didn’t exist the USA couldn’t offer any legitiment support for these nations even though China is in violation with international law and the most likely result would be Chinese control of the South China Sea. This has three potential negative conditions:

  1. The 7 South East Asian nations could contest their territorial claims in international court, in which the Chinese would most certainly violate any ruling that was made. We can make this conclusion because China is currently violating the decision of the international case Phillipeans v. China. As a result we would likely see more international sanctions on china, to which they would likely respond by putting sanctions on other nations thus decreasing global economic activity.
  2. The 7 South East Asian nations could take action against china resulting in an 8 nation international war or the largest global conflict since the Persian Gulf War.
  3. The 7 South East Nations could do nothing and China would control all trade access in the South China Sea which is currently estimated to be worth about $5 trillion. The Chinese would likely exert higher trade tariffs on ships that go through this area leading to reductions in globalized trade value.

So you have to ask yourself is current nuclear deterrence worth the loss in global economic value or potential South East Asian war? In my opinion the cost of the latter events outweighs the current cost of our operations.

General Overview of South China Sea Confrontation

Lawrence Livermore Brad Roberts Seminar


I don’t like nuclear weapons, but I see them as a necessary evil to prevent other superpower nations of Russia and China from exerting dominance over neighboring countries and disrupting the global economy. Without nuclear weapons what is really stopping Russia from invading the Baltic States? International war? How is that any better than our current situation?


The Berrigan Family has been at the forefront of the religious left’s fight for social justice for nearly sixty years. I applaud their multi-generational courage and commitment.


The comment you responded to was not made as an argument for nuclear weapons. Rather it was made to point out how unrelated the arguments being made were in relation to the Nuclear Submarine Base. It was obvious that the protestors had clearly not done their homework regarding nuclear policy for weapons or nuclear waste either.


Well I didn’t care for the article either but there is splitting a few hairs. Who really cares if they got the dates wrong, nuclear waste is toxic for thousands of years. And, even though it might not be dumped in your neighborhood or on your land, it doesn’t have to be to harm you.

It is a very expensive deterrent because the use of these weapons would blow your cost analysis off the charts. I didn’t like the article because both sides of it are pretty useless.


I agree that the protestors made a lot if tenuous if not non-existent connections between the weapons and racism and the like. It is a common fault of my fellow radical leftists that they believe in “grand unified theory” of violence and injustice.

But regarding the rest of your comments - did the ghost of the vile Edward Teller invade your brain or what?

And isn’t a bit rich worrying about China or Russia when it is the USA that exerts coercive, and often terroristic, influence on the nations of the world through its globe-girdling array of bases and a military budget that is larger than China, Russia and the next five nations combined? Does Russia or China have bases around the world? Who is threatening who?

The only threat China is presenting is that they are threatening to beat the US in its own game of global capitalism.

Of course none of this has to do with the profoundly undemocratic governance of China and Russia - but that is a separate issue that we (on the organized left, not the US government) can only address through education and solidarity with the resistance in these nations - while we resist the lack of democracy here too.


As much as I admired Dan and Phil (who I’ve met at th DC Catholic Worker house when they were still alive) and Liz, I’m not a big fan of Frieda’s articles. They seem too self-centered in their perspective. I guess that happens when someone has kids…


You might be right then. I was asking what is wrong with this picture and to me it seems to be out of present time, the argument not so much the people. Kids might be able to help with that.


Your question can be answered with another question: “where are the rest of us?”


A thank you to 6 people. And shame on the rest of us for tolerating their jailing and allowing the crimes against humanity members of our government “of the people, by the people and for the people” have been committing in our names.


Yes, well said! All who are silent, are culpable of condoning what these government criminals are doing to these brave,patriotic 6 people!