A young sailor walks through his nuclear submarine, headed for the engine room. As he winds through the tight, crowded corridors he suddenly finds himself standing next to a nuclear missile launch hatch.
He reaches out an outstretched hand. Tentatively, he places it on one of the warheads.
Click. Something changes. The destructive power of a thermonuclear detonation is no longer an abstraction. It’s real. His hand is touching it.
Over the next few days, the sailor heads to his chaplain. He asks the same questions, over and over: What are we doing? How can we justify this?
Fast-forward thirty years. That ex-sailor, Mark Kenney, reports today to Duluth Federal Prison Camp for a six-month stint for an act of civil disobedience at Offutt Air Force Base. He walked about ten steps onto the property of the complex with three others after a vigil there Aug. 6.
The prison stint is the third Kenney’s served for protests at the base, which is the home of U.S. Strategic Command and responsible for the planning and targeting of the nation’s nuclear weapons.