~ from the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center, by Dennis Apel

[Dennis also wrote a Diary From Prison which was published online by the Santa Barbara Independent. You can read his entries here.]

August 29, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

Today is Monday and as they say here, I’ve got “three days and a wake-up.” On Friday morning, September 2nd sometime around eleven o’clock in the morning I will walk out the front door of the prison that has been my home for the past four months. Oh what a journey this has been! I am grateful beyond words to be approaching the finish line.

I am aware that this will be my final correspondence with you from prison, and I’m not sure what to write. But it’s important for you to know how grateful I am for your love, prayers and support for both me and Tensie, Rozella and Thomas. The letters, cards and expressions of love have been so overwhelming and have both nourished our souls and held up our spirits. What a blessing we have in you and we thank God for you in our lives.

As a family we spent many hours in discernment before making the decision to follow our consciences and accept whatever consequences came. The scourge of nuclear weapons and the role that Vandenberg plays in that immoral and corrupt program cries out to be exposed and confronted. We knew that speaking out could have consequences and we all agreed to suffer what came because the stakes are so high for the human community. But to say that we will accept the consequences and to actually live them out are two different things. It has been hard. There have been times in the past four months when we have wished that this cup would pass. It was during those times when your faithful solidarity held us tight and brought God’s tender mercies to water our parched souls. You have been an essential part of this journey and because of that we are reassured of the rightness of our commitment.

I have been cautioned to focus on the reason I am here, the desire to rid the world of nuclear weapons, and to not get overly distracted by the issues around prison reform. But the fact is that our prison system is corrupt and highly discriminating and I have lived first-hand that reality. In the end, it is the same powers that would research, develop and deploy hideous weapons of indiscriminate mass murder, that also employ a harsh, dehumanizing and racially biased system of incarceration. The two are intricately woven together of the same fabric. And the very fibers of that fabric are the cynical surety of the powers that we will forever be too frightened or too busy or too attached to our lifestyles to confront them.

I have spent a considerable amount of time here in prayer. And I know that many of you have joined your prayers with mine. Although I am leaving the prison the struggle continues and my hope is that our prayers were less for me than for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Let’s continue to join our prayers and our actions and stoke the fires of love that the darkness cannot overcome. All we have is God and each other, and that is more than enough.

Thank you for being there…

Much love,