Editor’s Note: The following is the statement that Susan Delaney read at a mitigation hearing on November 7, 2017 at Kitsap District Court. Susan and others had entered the roadway carrying banners during a protest vigil at the Bangor Trident nuclear submarine base in August. All were cited for being in the roadway illegally and released. Some of the resisters, including DeLaney, appeared in Kitsap District Court to mitigate their charges.
Why Did I Stand In The Road?
I was born in Seattle 70 years ago and in all those years I have been a follower of rules and a law-abiding citizen. I have never received a citation from the police, not even a traffic ticket. This is the first time. So why did I decide to get up early one morning and deliberately break the law? Why did I go stand in the road?
Let me explain. Most people in the Seattle area don’t know about the existence of the Bangor Submarine base located right in our front yard. When the base was being built decades ago, there were big protests against it being constructed here but now that is mostly forgotten. I believe it is time to remind people that the base is dangerous and very close to home. And so as a way to call attention to the issue, I decided to stand in the road to see if anyone would want to know why I did that.
What are the dangers of having more than half of our nuclear-armed submarines serviced in one location? The situation reminds me of Pearl Harbor where the Pacific fleet was concentrated in one
place making it possible for Japan to destroy all the ships in one attack.
In addition to all the nuclear missiles deployed on multiple submarines, Bangor is a storage site for other nuclear weapons. All of this makes our region a first strike target and an accident waiting to happen.
I have a list here of 75 different military nuclear accidents and those are just the ones that are on the public record. That says to me that the probability of a significant accident is just a matter of time. The consequences of an accidental detonation or a release of nuclear materials is terrifying. These realities must be recognized. That is why I stood in the road.
There is a great precedent for changing things. Up until 1991, our country had nuclear bombers on alert in the sky 24 hours a day. There were numerous accidents and close calls. A conservative Republican president, George Bush Sr. made the wise decision to end that era. In 1991 he stood down the bombers. I still remember hearing about it on the evening news.
It is time to take another big step to make our world a safer place. Attention must be directed to the problem before people will start figuring out how to change things. I know that my protest was small and that it was not enough but I am not discouraged. Mother Teresa taught us that doing the right thing may not be enough, but that we should do the right thing anyway. I believe that there is a special responsibility for what happens in our own front yard. And so that is why I stood in the road.
November 7, 2017