On Tuesday morning, a retired Catholic priest and two veterans put on clown suits, busted into a nuclear missile launch facility, and began beating the silo cover with hammers, in an attempt to take the Minuteman III missile off-line. Seriously.
The trio — members of the Luck, Wisconsin group Nukewatch — said the break-in was part of “a call for national repentance” for the Hiroshima and Nagaski A-bombings in 1945.
The activists used bolt-cutters to get into the E-9 Minuteman III facility, located just northwest of the White Shield, North Dakota. “Using a sledgehammer and household hammers, they disabled the lock on the personnel entry hatch that provides access to the warhead and they hammered on the silo lid that covers the 300 kiloton nuclear warhead,” the group said in a statement. “The activists painted ‘It’s a sin to build a nuclear weapon’ on the face of the 110-ton hardened silo cover and the peace activists poured their blood on the missile lid.“
This was all done while wearing face paint, dunce caps, misfitting overalls, and bright yellow wigs.
We dress as clowns to show that humor and laughter are key elements in the struggle to transform the structures of destruction and death. Saint Paul said that we are fools for God’s sake, and we say that we are fools for God and humanity. Clowns as court jesters were sometimes the only ones able to survive after speaking truth to authorities in power.
Guards responded within minutes. And when they arrived, the protesters “ate a lot of gravel,” I’m told.
“The individuals were taken from the area and brought to the McLean County Jail,” the AP notes. “The three are being charged with criminal trespass and criminal mischief, both Class A misdemeanors, and bond was set at $500 each.… The FBI is involved in the case and federal charges are pending.”