An 83 year-old nun and two other protesters on trial on charges of breaking into and defacing a nuclear weapons facility in Tennessee told a federal court that they have no remorse for their actions, according to the Associated Press.
Sister Megan Rice, testifying on her own behalf, explained to the court that she wasn't upset over her actions but instead that she was irritated that she waited so long to do them.
"My regret was that I waited 70 years," Rice said. "It is manufacturing that which can only cause death."
The three protestors, Rice along with Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, were able to gain entrance into the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, the most secure part of the facility. While within the facility the three hung banners, strung up crime-scene tape, hammered off a chunk of the wall and sprayed human blood onto the walls out of baby bottles.
"The reason for the baby bottles was to represent that the blood of children is spilled by these weapons," Boertje-Obed said.
All three testified that they felt as if they were guided by a higher power while infiltrating the facility. The group likes to refer to themselves as "Transform Now Plowshares," a reference to a biblical quote: "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks."
The Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee has had a hand in the assembly of every weapon in the country's nuclear arsenal. Federal officials have said that while the protesters were able to expose some security flaws at the facility they were never in any danger of being able to obtain or detonate any nuclear materials, a fact that the defense attorneys of the trio has brought up, according to the AP.
Defense attorneys also believe that federal prosecutors overstepped their bounds by charging the trio with sabotage after the protesters refused to plead guilty to trespassing. Sabotage carries a maximum jail sentence of 20 years compared to the one year maximum the trespassing charge carries.
The facility was forced to shut down for two weeks after the incident in order to beef up the lax security. A Department of Energy report says the facility had faulty detection equipment, security officers who responded poorly and a lack of oversight of the private contractors in charge of the facility, according to the AP.
While on the stand Rice was asked by prosecutors if she should have asked for her Bishop's approval to protest as a courtesy.
"I've been guilty of many discourtesies in my life," the 83 year-old nun told the court.