Carl Kabat in court for nuclear weapons protest, gets “time served”

By Jane Stoever

Father Carl Kabat, OMI (Oblates of Mary Immaculate), of St. Louis, in a Municipal Court trial Oct. 12 in Kansas City, Mo., got “time served” on two charges—trespassing this July 4 at the site for the new KC Plant, and breaking probation from his July 4, 2011, trespass. The city earlier dropped a property charge against Kabat, now 79, who had used a bolt-cutter to open the chain-link fence and enter the 180-acre site late July 3. The time served came during his overnight in jail this July 4-5.

Judge Elena Franco and Kabat agreed she would accept his plea of “technically not guilty,” she would find him guilty and sentence him, and he would forgo appeal. This process let him speak to the court, with about 30 supporters there, for 10 minutes.

Recalling that German judges (in 1987) blocked the entry to the U.S. Air Force Base in Mutlangen, West Germany, because nuclear weapons were deployed there on Pershing II missiles, Kabat told Franco, “I invite you to go out to the new plant” and block the entry. Franco listened.

Kabat gave examples in which juries refused to find law-breakers guilty. Dred and Harriet Scott were found by a jury to be people, but judges found them to be things—slaves—said Kabat. And during Prohibition, “juries found people not guilty even though their hand was found in the cookie jar,” he added. With 65 percent or 75 percent of the people saying we should get rid of nuclear weapons, Kabat asked, “Why don’t we do that?”

Mentioning Henry David Thoreau’s outcry against the silence of collusion, Kabat said of the KC Plant, “Those bombs we will make and are making, we’re responsible for.” He observed, “It’s not enough to hold an opinion. We must act!” Urging that we all go out to the plant, he said, “It’s ours! We should be able to walk in the front gate and walk around the 170-180 acres.”

It makes a person wonder when and if he’ll go walking there again.