Monday, August 16, 2010

Older and Unthinking: The Grandmas at Yankee

The video above is not from the most recent arrests of elderly women at Vermont Yankee. It's about a year old, from the Rutland Herald covering the September 2009 arrests of the same elderly women at Vermont Yankee.

They were arrested again at Vermont Yankee just a few days ago. The Rutland Herald article describing the more recent arrests notes that charges are never filed. Some of these women have been arrested nine times at Yankee, without any charges as follow-up. The self-named "Raging Grannies" are okay with that. The Rutland Herald reported:

Nestel said she didn't at all feel frustrated by the lack of prosecution, and she said the act of civil disobedience was a profound experience for the protesters.

(Hattie Nestel is featured in the video above.)

By trespassing on the plant grounds, the older women play chicken with the guards, disrupt the plant, and make sure Vermont Yankee gets negative publicity. If a guard actually shot them, Vermont Yankee would get even worse publicity. It's a good thing the guards are well trained to safeguard the plant while avoiding the use of force. I know some people who work at the plant who might well say: "Oh, don't tempt me!"

However, the protesters do have a profound experience when they protest. That's got to be worth something.

Older But Not Wiser

If the plant and the prosecutor feel like pressing charges, I think they should press charges. If they decide that pressing charges will just clutter up the court system, they shouldn't press charges.

However, as a grandma myself, I believe very strongly that this decision should be made without respect to the age of the law-breakers. I don't believe people should get a free pass to disobey the laws because they are older. If I broke a law, I would expect Bad Things might happen to me. If I broke laws repeatedly, I expect that Bad Things (like jail time) would certainly happen to me.

I learned cause and effect about law-breaking back in civics class, in sixth grade. They didn't have these new-fangled horseless carriages back then, but us kids really learned.

Oh. Okay, I'm not that old. I'm basically a Boomer.

My opinion. Trespassing and tempting people to shoot you is not funny. I think that someone should bring charges. Let's not have a tenth set of arrests and get-out-of-jail-free cards.


Charles Bell said...

They know they are violating the law as the video shows. There is the knowledge and intent, and action, plus witnesses. Why are they not simple charged.

Jason Ribeiro said...

According to the NRC, a person guilty of trespassing can receive a $5000 fine and up to a year in jail. It's usually a misdemeanor but might be enhanced if the person acted willfully and defiantly. Each state can make their own enhancements, for example, New Jersey made it a $15,000 fine and could include 1-5 years in prison.

Maybe the district attorney doesn't want to bother with the cases, has an easy going policy toward protesters, or has sympathy for their cause. I believe if they were convicted and fined they would probably think real hard about doing it again. Since they know there will be no penalty, they keep doing it. Since this seems to be in the context of a protest, they seem to get a pass, but things might not work out so well if they did this out of the blue in the middle of the night.

Kit P said...

I know the well trained security professionals at nuke plants can tell the difference between old loons having a picnic on the front lawn and terrorists carrying assault rifles. I can not share how I know this.

If you live in a community with nuclear facilities you most likely enjoy a level of public safety an order of magnitude higher than average. The first time police are not available for for a shooting at a convince because they are dealing with repeat trivial civil disobedience, is the last time that it is tolerated.

Somehow I suspect that local police around VY look forward to the 'excitement'. Is that a goat?