The Final Verdict | Sojourners

The Final Verdict

On November 12,1984, Carl Rabat, Paul Rabat, Larry Cloud Morgan, and Helen Woodson entered the N-5 missile silo site near Kansas City, Missouri, in order to disarm a Minuteman II missile. After damaging the silo's concrete lid, they held a worship service. The four activists were arrested about an hour after their action. Calling themselves the Silo Pruning Hooks, they acted in solidarity with previous Plowshares disarmament actions.

After being found guilty in March 1985, Carl was sentenced to 18 years, Paul to 10 years, Larry to eight years, and Helen to 18 years--later reduced to 12 years--in prison. Also, each was given three to five years probation and ordered to pay $2,932.80 in restitution.

On February 18, 1985, the day before the Silo Pruning Hooks trial was to begin, Art Laffin, Pat Mulvehill, Mim Olsen, Roberta Plant, and Larry Rosebaugh entered the same missile site to pray for peace and were arrested. While in Ray County Jail, in Richmond, Missouri, awaiting his own trial, Art Laffin wrote the following reflections to Carl, Paul, Larry, and Helen after learning that they had been found guilty. We offer it on the first anniversary of their sentencing as a reminder of the many risks being taken for peace. --The Editors

Amidst a minefield of 20 Minuteman missiles, each with the destructive power 100 times that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, we vigiled on your behalf. Imprisoned for praying the Lord's Prayer at the very site you partially disarmed, we felt as though we were on trial with you.

In anticipation of the verdict, we dreamed of miracles--miracles of conversion and breakthroughs of conscience--for the judge, prosecutor, jury, and all who would hear of your life-giving witness. We prayed and fasted, hoping against hope. Trusting that God would watch over you regardless of what happened.

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