I traveled to Washington, D.C., on April 4th and I spent a week there. On April 5th, I went with a group of people from the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House to the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, where some of my friends were on trial. The charge against them was “violating the lawful order of a cop” or something to that effect. Anyway, what they did was to do a die in on the sidewalk near the Pentagon. They were a visual demonstration of the death that the Pentagon visits on Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries on a regular basis, Lately, the Pentagon visits death on other countries by remote control (drones). Many of the drone victims are civilians of all ages, from kids to old people.
Well, anyway, my friends were convicted of the charge and were fined $200 plus court costs. So much for free speech. It was more like fee speech. Kind of pricey to express your disapproval of the government’s out of control behavior… but…
The courtroom experience was interesting, however. Defendants were called up to see the judge, one at a time, until my friends’ case came up. They were tried as a group, on their request. The other defendants, for the most part, were in federal court for traffic violations at the Pentagon. They had all agreed to plea deals. The drunk driving defendants were sentenced to fines, driving restrictions, and probation. The stop sign runners were sentenced to fines. The prosecutor was quite pleasant and easy going and, after each case was disposed of, he said thank you to the defense attorney and defendant.
So the legal business was over, and we all left Alexandria, Virginia.
After lunch at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker house, I went for a walk. My goal was to visit the Rock Creek Church cemetery. It is an old and beautiful cemetery, across the street from the Old Soldiers and Sailors Home (which has its own cemetery, that I’ve visited in the past). There are big monuments, small tombstones, and trees. The people buried in this cemetery were both old and young. They came from a variety of religious traditions. Despite the sadness of death, this cemetery is a peaceful place.
Here are some pictures of the cemetery: