Evidently if you're protesting random drone killings of brown people you're a criminal. If, on the other hand, you're protesting brown people coming to seek refuge from crime and murder in their own country, you're a hero.
Today's story is about an ordinary citizen who objects to drones wiping out swaths of civilians on their way to deliver judgment on terrorists, whether right or wrong. Mary Anne Grady Flores has been protesting drones at the Hancock Field Air National Guard base in upstate New York for long enough to have been arrested, acquitted and then served with an order of protection to "stay away" from protests near the base.
So she decided to take photographs of other people protesting while standing on a street that she thought was off the base property itself. The folks she photographed were arrested and acquitted, but Mary Anne, grandmother and decent human being, was slapped with a one-year jail sentence and a $1,000 fine. What finer justice, eh?
Last year, Grady Flores says she attended another peace action, but did not participate, instead photographing it from the roadway, beyond what she believed was the base's boundary. She was later told the base's property extended into the road. On Thursday, Judge David Gideon of the DeWitt Town Court sentenced her to the maximum sentence of a year in prison for violating the protection order and fined her $1,000. In a courtroom packed with about 150 supporters, Grady Flores spoke about what she called the four perversions of justice in her case.
Mary Anne Grady Flores: "The fourth perversion is the reversal of who is the real victim here: the commander of a military base involved in killing innocent people halfway around the world or those innocent people themselves, who are the real ones in need of orders of protection? So I, as a nonviolent grandmother and a caregiver to my own mother, as I prepare for jail, itself a perversion, I stand before you remorseful. I'm remorseful about my own country and its continued perpetuating of violence and injustice."
Mary Anne Grady Flores was taken into custody following the sentencing. She is appealing the verdict. Earlier in the day, her supporters marched six miles from the drone base to the courtroom carrying a coffin bearing the words, "First Amendment."
Protective orders are intended for domestic violence issues, not citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. The only domestic violence involved here is the violence meted out every time our country uses drones to kill people.
How is it that protesting drone strikes is a crime but protesting kids in need of shelter and asylum is somehow noble?
Our priorities are seriously screwed up. Perhaps Ms. Grady Flores should press her case to the United States Supreme Court and argue that her sincere beliefs are just as valid and more factually sound than Hobby Lobby's are.
You can read more about Mary Anne Grady Flores and her case at Upstate Drone Action.