“In Jail for the Right Reason”

Shawn Francis Peters

in The Catonsville Nine

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199827855
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950140 | DOI:
“In Jail for the Right Reason”

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As they thought about targeting a draft board, the Baltimore activists worried over the potentially broader implications of what they were planning. The men were well aware of the risks they would be taking in wrecking Selective Service files: they could be harmed in the course of the protest by security guards or police, and they were likely to be arrested and imprisoned afterward. They were willing to pay that kind of price themselves if it meant impeding the war effort and calling attention to how American foreign policy had gone haywire. But what if they inspired other protesters to take similar risks, or even greater ones? Could they shoulder moral responsibility if, even indirectly, their actions led to violence perpetrated by others? And what if Selective Service employees or bystanders were harmed during their protest? Bouncing ideas off each other in discussions that sometimes stretched late into the night, the Interfaith Peace Mission activists wrestled with all of these matters. To sharpen their thinking, they also shared their developing plans with other members of the local peace community.

Keywords: activists; protests; draft board; Selective Service; Interfaith Peace Mission

Chapter.  5110 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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