I read with gratitude the Villanovan article (Jan. 24) about service performed by more than 500 Villanova students on Martin Luther King Day. The article described how, by forming new relationships that can change our hearts, such service can become the first step toward creating the long-lasting change necessary to remedy the underlying inequities of our society. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,:
A time comes when silence is betrayal… When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered…True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. (April 4, 1967)
With these words of King in mind, I was arrested on Jan. 21 at the King of Prussia facility of Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest war profiteer and nuclear weapons manufacturer. How better to honor his legacy than to act in accord with his own life and teachings? I and other members of the Brandywine Peace Community were civilly disobedient in peacefully attempting to deliver King’s message that we must cease building weapons that could destroy mankind.
There is no intention to put people out of jobs. A great deal of work needs to be done in this country—on repairing and maintaining our deteriorating bridges and roads and public facilities, on making a good education available for all, on growing healthy food, on saving our environment, on developing a modern and inexpensive public transportation system, on doing medical research to save human lives, etc. Lack of jobs is a false concern. There is no lack of things needing to be done, and we can convert jobs that kill to jobs that give the gift of living a fulfilling life. Lockheed Martin could be a major resource for achieving these goals, thereby helping to fulfill the work of King.
In the words of President Dwight D. Eisenhower:
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children (April 16, 1953).
I suggest that next Martin Luther King Day, the student committee that oversees arrangements for activities include attendance at the annual Brandywine Peace Community event that day honoring the life and message of King.
Why did I receive a citation for Disorderly Conduct when at the time of arrest I was on my knees in a suppliant position? Perhaps someone recognized the irony if they had charged me with Disturbing the Peace. This is a position of submission to the spirit, not a position of submission to the authorities.