Megan Rice, an 84-year-old Catholic nun and anti-nuclear activist, once spent 40 years teaching in the poorest parts of Africa. She is now living with 111 other women in the Metropolitan Detention Center; a federal prison in Brooklyn, New York.
Megan Rice is currently facing a 35-month sentence in federal prison for breaking into Y-12, one of the largest nuclear facilities in the United States just outside of Knoxville, Tennessee.
According to the NY Daily News, Rice and two other activists were dropped off in the middle of the night just outside the facility. With just spray paint, bolt cutters and a few other supplies, they were able to sneak inside the facility through the holes they cut and avoid electronic motion sensors, video cameras and security or personnel.
They spray-painted quotes from the Bible on the walls and banged on the building with hammers waiting to be arrested.
Why? Megan Rice set out to prove a point. Rice wanted to show this nation the “dangers of unimpeded nuclear proliferation.” Rice and the other two activists showed the nation how easy it is to get into these facilities and the insufficient levels of national security present at these locations. If a then 82-year-old nun is able to do it without facing any issues, there is nothing stopping terrorists from doing the same.
“The question — how can we overcome the secrecy and blatant distortion of the truth of the horrific risks to planet Earth’s survival as we know it as long as we fail to transform the nuclear weapons and energy industries into possible, life-enhancing alternatives, and begin with dismantlement now?" Rice said. "We are all equally responsible to stop known crimes, according to our unique gifts and abilities."
Rice will be released in November, at which point she will be 85 years old. At her initial hearing, Rice told the judge, “Please have no leniency with me. To remain in prison for the rest of my life would be the greatest gift you could give me.”
The three trespassers are responsible for paying $52,000 in damages along with their time, though she believes the damages should have been no more than a few hundred dollars.
Marc Shapiro, Rice's lawyer, told the NY Daily News: “With headlines these days, we, as a society, are on high alert and take very seriously claims that individuals desire to undermine the national defense. Regardless, when the three senior citizens entered the facility to spread their message of global peace, (they) engaged in no behavior that injured or could have injured our national defense.”
Until her release, the 84-year-old nun will stay at a federal prison.