Calpine Yoga 6/21/17

All Residents: Yoga Class Opportunity Coming to Calpine !!
Yoga Alliance from the Avahana School of Yoga is coming to Calpine. Sarah is requesting information for residents interested in attending this class.

Description: Encouragement of a deeper mind-body connection through sustained postures with attention to basic alignment, mediation, breath work and yogic philosophy. Classes will be designed around building to peak poses, specific body part therapeutics, gentle flow and mediation with the goal to stretch and strengthen the mind-body connection. Variations will be given to encourage students to practice at their own level.
Investment: $10/class

If you are interested in taking this class there are 2 options she is considering. Depending on the most interest is the class she will set up.
First option is Wed Evenings from 6-7:30pm.
Second option is Thurs Morning from 9 – 10:30 am.

Class will be held in the Calpine Community Building Gym.

Please email Sarah Johnstone @ and let her know what class best fits you and again depending on demand is the class that she will give.

Wednesday June 21, 2017



The first Board of Supervisors meeting in July will be held on Wednesday, July 5, 2017 due to the Fourth of July holiday.

So on Saturday July 1st Downieville VFD will have the Firemen’s Muster on Main Street at High Noon, Dinner will start being served at 4 p.m. the Street Dance from 9 p.m till midnight. Tuesday, July 4th will feature the Parade beginning with the Noon Siren and ending with the World Famous Downieville Fireless Fireworks featuring everyone there…

So this week we have lots of local news, Board of Supervisors  Carol’s movie, Gabby’s loves moose. Columns by Robert Koehler, Kathy Kelly, Mel Gurtov an article about what is happening between the White House and the United States press, it is scary and not a good thing… I’m old … I know… little steps and suddenly we’re all the Jews or the Muslims, pay attention do not be lulled into a dictatorship or worse. America Was Great, what is happening by ONE man who says HE will make it great is not a time to rest easy and think everything will just be quiet.

Read about  Gabby’s Meese for  a breath of fresh air and stay alert. Stay cool, drink water, pay attention to your friends, neighbors and pets, it is easy to not be alright very quickly in the heat.

The photo this week was taken by Lee Adams a couple of weeks ago… just think cold at Gold Lake.

Information You Need 6/21/17


Ordinance Section One: An Urgency Ordinance, Part 11, Chapter 6, Sections 090 – 120 of the Sierra County Code is hereby added to read as follows:


Section: 11.06.090 Emergency Road Restrictions and/or Closure

The Director of Transportation or Road Commissioner, as a result of a bona fide emergency condition or as part of a construction or maintenance project, is authorized to temporarily restrict the use of or close any County highway upon making a finding that such action is necessary for the protection of the public health, welfare, or safety and/or is for the protection of such County highway from further damages.

The temporary closure or restriction of any County highway shall remain in effect for a period not to exceed sixty (60) days and should the Director of Transportation or Road Commissioner desire to have the County highway restriction or closure extend for a period of time greater than sixty (60) days, the closure may be extended for any period of time as may be authorized by the Board of Supervisors.

Ordinance Section Two: This ordinance shall be an urgency ordinance, effective upon adoption, and is necessary for the immediate public protection from road conditions resulting from the declared emergency events of January and February 2017.

Introduced, passed and adopted at a regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Sierra, State of California on the 20th day of June, 2017, by the following roll call vote, to-wit:

Time for Unity 6/21/17

Dear Friend,

Earlier this week, Congress witnessed a shocking attack on one of our own. My colleague, Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise, was shot during an early morning baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.
Also injured in the attack were congressional staffer Zach Barth and former congressional staffer Matt Mika, who were helping coach the team. Fortunately, the truly heroic acts of Special Agent David Bailey and Officer Crystal Griner, without a doubt, saved dozens of lives. Despite suffering injuries of their own, we have them to thank for preventing an already horrible attack from turning into something much worse.
When tragic events like this unfold in America, it usually, hopefully, makes us stronger. Shortly after news of the shooting broke, at their own morning practice, my Democratic colleagues joined together in prayer. On game day, both teams again joined together in prayer on second base, where Steve Scalise would have played. Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi both spoke on the House floor to call for unity. At the Congressional Baseball game, attendance numbers were shattered – with over 25,000 people showing up to show their support, not just for the Republican or Democratic team, but also for America and for each other. This year, the game raised nearly twice as much money for charities – such as DC Boys and Girls Club and the Capitol Hill Police Fund – as it did the previous year, bringing in over $1 million in total.

Members of both the Republican and Democrat baseball teams gather together for a bipartisan prayer for Rep. Steve Scalise prior to the Congressional Baseball game.
While we will often have our differences and disagreements on how policy is formed, we should remain united as one nation. As Speaker Ryan put it: “An attack against one of us is an attack against all of us.” Now is a time for a unity of purpose as one nation. I’m praying for a quick recovery for my good friend Steve Scalise and for comfort and peace of mind for his family, and for all who were injured in this horrific attack. Most of all, I am grateful for the Capitol Police officers who put their lives on the line, who ran towards the gunfire, to save the lives of others– and all those who keep us safe each day.

Sincerely, Doug LaMalfa

Chosen the Wrong Horse 6/21/17

Disengaging with Cuba – by Mel Gurtov

Mel Gurtov

President Obama’s engagement with Cuba was one of his administration’s success stories. The policy shift was based on the entirely realistic as well as humanitarian assessment that permanent estrangement deepens enmity, isolates two peoples and separates families, reduces opportunities for improvement in the quality of life in Cuba, inhibits the two-way flow of information, and prevents cooperation on common problems. But the Trump administration, pressed by Senators Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez, is still fighting the Cold War, as evidenced by Trump’s disengagement order this week.

Let’s recall how Obama, in defiance of right-wing critics, reinforced his policy direction and personal visit to Cuba by issuing a legally binding order—Presidential Policy Directive 43—on October 14, 2016, just months before leaving office. PPD-43 makes the case for normalization of relations with Cuba, recites the extensive diplomatic exchanges that have occurred, outlines cooperation in areas of mutual interest, and expresses the hope of improvement in Cuba’s human rights, economy, and regional integration—all while reassuring Cuba that regime change is not US policy. Department by department, the document recites the numerous collaborative ventures ongoing and possible, such as on public health, food security, private investment, environment and ecology protection, immigration, travel, counter-narcotics, and joint scientific projects. One specific step taken by the administration at this time was to remove the ceiling on imports of Cuban rum and cigars. But the one thing Obama could not do was end the embargo, where right-wing members of Congress have always had their best chance to limit engagement.

Obama left Donald Trump with a substantial list of new interactions with Cuba, some of them—such as money transfers to Cuba, and a major increase in tourism—designed to support small businesses and civil society. Obama also left Trump with some unresolved issues with Cuba, such as a sharp increase in Cuban immigration to the United States (in part thanks to the upward pressure on prices due to US tourism), regulatory blockages, and the slow pace of Cuban economic reform. Such problems normally would be resolved over time. Under Trump, however, progress made with Cuba was bound to be set back, just as it was with Iran.

Fidel Castro’s death prior to Trump’s inauguration ordinarily might have been a time for a sympathetic note to Havana and an opportunity to deepen the accords already reached. Instead, Trump tweeted: “If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate deal.” The implication was that the US would demand changes in Cuba’s human rights and political system in return for continued engagement and a softening of the embargo.

Trump’s partial reversal of Obama’s engagement with Cuba in June 2017—partial because diplomatic relations and most types of tourism remain in place—is more likely to undermine than promote the slow improvements in Cuban civil society that engagement has produced. Independent journalism and private entrepreneurship are reemerging there. Trump’s limits on general US tourism greatly reduce interactions between ordinary citizens of the two countries, and restrictions on how US dollars may be spent undercuts small Cuban businesses. (Surely coincidental is that new American hotels that might compete with future Trump hotels are prohibited from opening in Cuba.) Maintaining the US embargo is also highly unlikely to ease Cuban restrictions on human rights, and making the latter a condition for easing the former is sure to arouse official Cuban anger. As one expert in US-Cuba relations (William LeoGrande) observed, negotiating economic and travel arrangements is one thing, sovereignty is another. Cuba’s memory of US interference is long, and Cuba will not countenance another such era.

The Trump administration’s abandonment of full-fledged engagement with Cuba leaves untouched reassessments of policy toward other, and far more destructive, authoritarian regimes, including the Saudi monarchy, Putin and the Russian oligarchy, al-Sisi’s military regime in Egypt, and Duterte and his henchmen in the Philippines. Once again, a US leader has chosen to ride the wrong horses.

Mel Gurtov, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Portland State University.

NOT Good News 6/21/17

Trump tweetstorms wash away White House press briefings

JULIE BYKOWICZ,Associated Press 15 hours ago

Mountain Messenger (words) 6/21/17

So much to say, so much to do  and yet it is so dang hot… who wants to do anything, of corse doing nothing isn’t an option and doing more is untenable, I wonder what untenable means, it is used often, but I wonder why… well this is interesting.. even my goto online dictionary has ambiguous thoughts about untenable … this most likely leaves Milly as totally untenable when it comes to Jill. I’m now thinking about ambiguous.. my favorite thing during Library period back in primary school days was looking up words in the dictionary, that was back in the days of door to door dictionary salesmen, yep they really did that, and those who were able to own their own dictionary were highly envied. What happened to that quest for learning amongst us Americans, now we have tablets and IPhones where games rule.. that reminds me, I need to take a break and play Solitaire… or maybe a crossword… yeh that’s it… later, gator…

6/21/17/This is not Don, no one knows where he is…. we think it is about his Mommy turning 100 yrs old… so based on genetics we will be putting up with The Don for a long time…. dang… I mean .. isn’t that great!… the person above does all the work but it could be Milly, Penelope or Jill… don’t know for sure…

Get your subscription NOW… today…email Jill at or Don at or call 530 289-3262 with card in hand, change your life, find out what’s happening in our world.

FireHouse News 6/21/17


ALLEGHANY: June 12th Firefighter training.
CALPINE: June 16 & `17 Preparations for the “Tour De Manure” fundraiser bicycle run. June 17th Fundraiser “Tour De Manure” Bicycle run.
CAMPTONVILLE: June 13th Firefighter training. *Responded for a medical emergency, w/ patient air lifted to the hospital. June 14th Responded for a medical emergency – cancelled.
DOWNIEVILLE: June 12th EMT Continuing education. June 15th Firefighter training. June 16th Mutual aid response to Sierra City , for an ill male, who was air lifted to the hospital. * Responded for an ill male – no transport. June 17th Mutual aid response to Sierra City for
an ill female, who was air lifted to the hospital.
LOYALTON: June 12th Wild land fire training, & RT-130 field exercizes. June 13th Responded for an ambulance assist, an ill person was air lifted to the hospital. June 14th Responded for an ambulance assisr, for a person choking on food. * Responded for an ambulance assist. June 16th Responded for an ambulance assist, for a possible head
injury. June 17th Responded for an ambulance assist & an ill person was air lifted to the hospital.
PIKE CITY: June 13th Mutual aid response to Camptonville, to set-up an LZ for the helicopter. June 14th Mutual aid response to Camptonville for an LZ set-up –
cancelled. June 15th Board of Directors meeting.
SATTLEY: June 15 & 16 Preparation for the “Tour DeManure: fundraiser bicycle run. June 17th “Tour DeManure” Fundraiser bicycle run.
SIERRA CITY: June 16th Responded for an ill male, who was air lifted to the hospital. * Responded for a public assist, giving aid to a male, who fell. June 17th Responded
for an ill female, who was air lifted to the hospital.
SIERRAVILLE: June 15 & 16 Preparations for the “Tour DeManure” fundraiser bicycle run. June 17th “Tour DeManure” Fundraiser Bicycle run.

NSJ Community PicNic 6/21/17

We are working on our 2nd Annual Community PicNic on July 16th.

Free PicNic with food, music, and a raffle that is incomparable.
11:00am Church Service (if you’re into it) then, Music, Raffle
and PicNic’ing ’til 3:00pm. Movies, popcorn and water inside to help
you cool of you need it. Who’s bringin’ the deviled eggs?
C’mon, you know you want to!

Bean July for Food Bank 6/21/17


The Downieville Food Bank is looking for local heroes to help fill our pantry. Even though the generosity of financial donations comprise the bulk of the Food Bank’s resources, there are other ways to provide for those who need a helping hand.

Some individuals or organizations prefer to donate money to the Food Bank, others would like to donate food.

You can be a Grocery Good-Guy-Gal! If you are going to your favorite local or out of town food store , it would a brave act of charitable heroism to bring in cans of baked beans to boost the coffers of our Food Bank. Due to the hot weather, there is no drop-off place for your donation. Please call Paul Douville 289-1018 or Frank Lang 289-3466 to arrange for pick-up or drop-off.

Even though bean is the theme, you can choose to bring in other items. There is a list of non-perishable items for the food bags that go out over the holidays and some grocery packages that are given to those who need food throughout the year. Some items to consider are: small boxes or bags of rice, potato flakes, flour, medium sized cans/containers of fruit, tuna, peanut butter, or jelly. But remember, in July the bean reigns supreme.
Each month, a short article will appear with a different item for the shelf. The Downieville Food Bank thanks, in advance, all who participate in this heroic effort.
Thank you for your kindness and generosity!

More Campgrounds Open 6/21/17*

Almanor South Campground to Open June 16th and Almanor North Campground to Open June 24th.

CHESTER, Calif., June 15, 2017 – The Lassen National Forest, Almanor Ranger District is pleased to announce the scheduled opening dates for the Almanor North and Almanor South Campgrounds.

The schedule for opening the campgrounds is as follows:

The Almanor South Campground will reopen beginning Friday, June 16th.
The Almanor North Campground is scheduled to reopen Saturday, June 24th.

In April the Almanor Ranger District closed the popular campgrounds so that the 300 + hazard trees within those sites could be fell and removed.

As a reminder, the threat of hazard trees is not limited to campgrounds. There are thousands of hazard trees in the forest and in remote recreation areas. Visitors are advised to exercise judgment when it comes to personal safety. Be aware of your surroundings whether you see posted signs or not, do not camp anywhere near or under trees that appear to be dead or dying.

For more information about local Forest Service camping facilities, current forest road and recreation area conditions please contact the following offices.

• Eagle Lake Ranger District – (530) 257-4188
• Almanor Ranger District – (530) 258-2141
• Hat Creek Ranger District – (530) 336-552

Pit River Campground Opens 6/21/17

BLM Pit River Campground Opens for Summer Season

FALL RIVER MILLS, Calif. – Campsites, river access and picnic areas have opened for the summer season at the Bureau of Land Management Pit River Campground in northeast California.

Opening was delayed this year while crews repaired damage caused by high river flows during the winter and early spring. The campground provides economic tourism benefits for nearby communities, and offers an economical way for families to connect with the natural resources of the public lands.

The campground features seven individual campsites, a group campsite, and a day-use area ideal for fishing and picnicking. Campsites have fire rings, tables and barbecues. Barbecues and picnic tables are available at the day use site.

Those with walking difficulties can fish from an accessible fishing pier, while kayakers can take advantage of a specially designed launch site.

There are no fees for the day use site. Campsite fees are $8 per night; the group site is $12 nightly. Camping is on a first-come, first served basis, with a limit of 14 days. Reservations are not accepted. A camp host is on site.

The campground is five miles west of Fall River Mills along State Highway 299.

Four Black Bears 6/21/17

Four Black Bears Transferred to Oakland Zoo  Under Unique Circumstances
A female black bear and her three cubs were transferred to Oakland Zoo from the care of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Wildlife Investigations Lab on Tuesday.

Though it is CDFW policy not to place large adult mammals into captivity, a sequence of unique circumstances provided these bears an opportunity for a life as educational ambassadors at Oakland Zoo’s upcoming California Trail exhibit, rather than euthanasia for the sow and attempted rehabilitation of the cubs.

In the early hours of Monday, May 15, the sow and cubs broke into a home in Pine Mountain Club in Kern County. The elderly resident of the home attempted to haze the bears by banging pots and pans to no avail. The sow charged and swiped at the resident, causing injury to her left arm. She was treated at a local hospital and is recovering.

Per the CDFW public safety policy, a black bear that is known to have attacked or injured a human is deemed a public safety bear and must be euthanized.

During the investigation, CDFW learned of eight other incidents in the same vicinity over the three weeks leading up to the incident involving a sow with three cubs, believed to be the same four bears. These incidents were not reported to CDFW. None of these incidents resulted in human injury, however the bears did significant property damage to vehicles, garages and homes.

On the night of May 15, CDFW set a culvert trap in Pine Mountain Club and by the early morning of May 16, the sow and her cubs were safely captured. CDFW transported them to a holding facility at the Wildlife Investigations Laboratory near Sacramento. The cubs were approximately 12-15 lbs. and not yet weaned from the sow.

CDFW decided to hold and monitor all four bears until the cubs were weaned, with the hope that the cubs could be rehabilitated and eventually returned to their natural habitat. As a known public safety animal, the sow was to be euthanized per CDFW policy.

However as monitoring continued, CDFW staff determined that the bears were habituated to humans and not suitable candidates for release. CDFW began to search for a captive facility for the cubs.

Oakland Zoo requested to take the three cubs, as well as the sow, for their 56-acre California Trail expansion, its focus to highlight California’s natural habitat as part of an initiative to emphasize native species and educate the public about human-wildlife issues. In the interest of the cubs’ well-being and outreach opportunity, CDFW supported this unique strategy of placing the sow into captivity.

The exhibit, scheduled to open in summer of 2018, is intended to mimic California habitat, educate visitors about wildlife in California and inspire people to take action for the future of the state’s wildlife resources and habitats.

“Oakland Zoo is very grateful to be in a position to provide a home for these bears,” said Dr. Joel Parrott, President and CEO of Oakland Zoo. “They are an important example of the human-wildlife conflict and highlight how we need to care for wildlife throughout California.”

“We are so happy to be able to help these four bears,” said Colleen Kinzley, Director of Animal Care, Conservation and Research at Oakland Zoo. “As too often is the case when wild animals come into conflict with humans, it’s the animals that lose. Oakland Zoo’s purpose is to help people understand the challenges and the responsibilities of living with wildlife. Our first responsibility will be to provide these bears a rich life in a complex natural habitat that will be part of our new California Trail exhibit opening in 2018. We will share their story and help people to understand the role we all have in preventing these types of situations.”

Tuesday’s transfer of a sow, predestined for euthanasia, with her three cubs was highly unusual. No opportunity for transfer of a known public safety animal has previously existed. This situation is unique and does not set precedent for future outcomes for other habituated bears, public safety animals or nuisance wildlife. Additionally, captivity is far from an ideal outcome for a wild bear.

The best outcome for these black bears would have been to exhibit natural, healthy behaviors in their native habitat, free of human-related attractants, wildlife feeding issues and eventual habituation. During CDFW’s investigation, Pine Mountain Club residents reported that the sow had been well known in the area for a couple of years and they believed this was her first litter of cubs. The sow was known to scavenge for human-related food sources, cause property damage, and was teaching her cubs how to enter vehicles and homes in search of food. As a result of habituation, these bears did not recognize how to search for or rely on natural food sources.

“We are thankful for the unique opportunity Oakland Zoo has provided for these bears, and for the partnership that developed because of it,” said CDFW Wildlife Veterinarian Brandon Munk. “These four bears will have a new facility to call home and a group of people to help care for them. While it is always best to keep wildlife in the wild, sometimes that is not a good option. Wildlife that habituates to humans or becomes a public safety concern are not good candidates to be released back into the wild. There will never be enough space in zoos to place habituated or public safety animals, so we all must do our part to keep wildlife wild, by not feeding wildlife.”

Despite extensive public education and outreach in Pine Mountain Club about how to live in bear country, many residents are known to feed bears. Not only is feeding wild animals illegal, giving them access to human food and garbage causes them to lose their natural foraging habits and can make them aggressive.

CDFW regularly educates communities about how to keep both humans and wild animals safe. CDFW will continue to reach out to Pine Mountain Club and surrounding communities to create bear-aware communities and prevent future circumstances like this. Learn more at

Drink of Water 6/21/17

“Would you like a drink of water?” Please ask a Yemeni Child.
by Kathy Kelly

Kathy Kelly

This week, in New York City, representatives from more than 100 countries will begin collaborating on an international treaty, first proposed in 2016, to ban nuclear weapons forever. It makes sense for every country in the world to seek a legally binding ban on nuclear weapons. It would make even more sense to immediately deactivate all nuclear weapons.

But, by boycotting and disparaging the process now underway, the U.S. and other nuclear armed nations have sent a chilling signal. They have no intention of giving up the power to explode, burn and annihilate planetary life. “The United States is spending $1 trillion USD over the next thirty years to modernize its nuclear weapon arsenals and triple the killing power of these weapons,” says Ray Acheson, programme director at Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Acheson also notes that the excessive spending for nuclear weapons contrasts with U.S. cuts to vital anti-poverty programs. On June 19th, more than a dozen people blocked the U.S. Mission to the UN entrance to protest Washington’s boycott of the negotiations. They were arrested for disorderly conduct, but I believe it’s incomparably more disorderly to plan for nuclear war.

During the past weekend, to support the negotiations for a treaty banning nuclear weapons, WILPF called for “Women’s March to Ban the Bomb” actions in cities across the U.S. and around the world. Jane Addams, who helped found the League in 1919, was a Chicago woman who understood the crucial need to put an end to war, all war, and instead care for the neediest people. She dedicated herself to assuring that many new immigrants in her city were treated with respect, given assistance to meet basic needs and encouraged to live and work together, peaceably. Addams worked passionately to prevent nations from sleepwalking into the horrors of World War I, and she vigorously campaigned to stop the United States’ entry into it.

Upon return from visiting soldiers who had been maimed while fighting in the trenches of World War I, she spoke of how the young men couldn’t have carried on the war without mind-altering substances -sometimes absinthe, sometimes extra rations of rum. Families were sending laudanum and even heroin to the front lines in hampers. The soldiers couldn’t kill, she concluded, if left in their right minds.

The WILPF gatherings help us ask hard questions about our capacity to prepare for massive obliteration of entire cities, through nuclear weapon buildup, while failing to meet the needs of children, like those in Yemen, whose survival is jeopardized by war and indifference. Can we persist in perfecting our nuclear arsenals, indifferent to millions of children at risk of starving to death or dying because they lack clean water — and because U.S.-supported Saudi airstrikes decimate the infrastructure that might have supplied food and water, –can we do so and claim to be in our right minds?

WILPF gathered us in Chicago where we took time to remember a remarkably brave former Chicagoan, Jean Gump, a mother of 12 whose altruism led her to help dismantle an intercontinental ballistic missile. On March 28, 1986, Jean and her companions in the Plowshares movement enacted the biblical call to turn swords into plowshares. Picture it in the words of Lila Sarick’s article, “The Crime of Ms. Jean Gump:”

The early morning sun was beginning to glow red over the horizon as a trio ran through the dew-soaked Missouri field.

Silently, a young, bearded man cut the chain-link fence topped with barbed wire, while his two companions, another man and a woman, hung banners beside the scarlet sign that warned them not to enter.

Beside the warning sign, the pair hung a photo collage of the woman’s 12 children and 2 grandchildren. Alongside it, they hung a pennant that bore the group’s logo: “Swords into plowshares — an act of healing.”

The trio then clambered through the hole in the fence and entered M-10, a Minuteman II missile site at Whiteman Air Force Base, Knob Noster, Missouri.

The missile site resembled an abandoned railway yard. Rust-colored tracks ended abruptly in the middle of the site. Tall signal arms and white concrete bunkers dotted the landscape.

Wordlessly, the three set to work. Ken Rippetoe, 23, swung a sledgehammer at the railway tracks, designed to launch a nuclear missile with the punch of one million tons of TNT.

Larry Morlan, 26, snipped the wires on the signal arms, which pointed blindly toward the sky.

And Jean Gump uncapped a baby bottle filled with the trio’s blood and poured it in the shape of a cross on the gleaming hatch from which a missile could emerge. Underneath, she painted the words “Disarm and live.”

For this action, Jean Gump was sentenced to 4½ years in prison. The following year, her husband, Joe Gump, performed a similar action, believing Jean was right about assuming personal responsibility to deactivate nuclear weapons. The couple galvanized a group of Midwesterners to form a 1988 campaign, the “Missouri Peace Planting,” which involved dozens of people climbing over barbed wire fences onto the grounds of nuclear weapon silos in Missouri, and planting corn on top of the missile silos. I remember entering a nuclear weapon site in Missouri’s Whiteman Air Force Base, planting corn, and shortly thereafter finding myself kneeling in the grass, handcuffed, as a soldier stood behind me with his weapon pointed toward me. I lasted about two minutes in silence, and then started talking about why we did what we did and how we hoped the action would benefit children that he loved as well. And then I asked him, “Do you think the corn will grow?”

“I don’t know,” he responded, “but I sure hope so.” And then he asked me, “Ma’am, would you like a drink of water?” I nodded eagerly. “Ma’am,” said the soldier, “would you please tip your head back.” I did so, and he poured water down my throat. Recalling his kind offer to give me water jolts me into awareness about the relationship between the nuclear weapon below us, that day, and massive numbers of people, then and now, who acutely need clean water.

Imagine if his question, “Would you like a drink of water?” were asked, today, to people living in Yemen. Now, as the U.S. insists on having an exceptional right to dominate the planet, insists on being armed with enough explosive fire power to obliterate entire cities, suppose we were to ask people in Yemen, millions of whom now face cholera and starvation, if they would like a drink of clean, pure water?

Or, let’s bring the question closer to home and ask people in Flint, MI, whose water is contaminated, “Would you like clean, pure water?”

And as we grope for solutions to the signs of climate change, including severe droughts and the rush to privatize dwindling resources of potable water, imagine asking the children of future generations, “Would you like a drink of water?”

President Eisenhower was right to equate possession of nuclear weapons with commission of crime.

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 are 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.

It’s a big “ask”: get rid of nuclear weapons. Along with planning and joining protests, another way to remain awake and focused on preventing nuclear annihilation involves recognizing how interconnected we are with others, so much so that the suffering and death of another person diminishes our own lives.

This wakefulness entails abiding care for others. Jean Gump and Jane Addams practiced such care throughout most of their lives. We, likewise, can work toward justice for those who live in communities like Flint, MI; we can seek sane approaches to the climate crisis; and we can insist that those who are targets of war, like the cholera-ridden, desperately hungry children of Yemen, be spared from aerial terrorism and given full access to clean, life-saving waters.

Kathy Kelly, syndicated by PeaceVoice, co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

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