On entering the Dane County Jail, the first holding cell that Brian Terrell and I were placed in had only one other person. We previously saw this man outside the cell during our initial booking. He was a man with dark black skin and a full beard. I thought I heard one of the officers say he was from
This experience was contrasted by the next encounter I had with another officer who made digital copies of my fingerprints and pictures. As this middle-aged man placed my hand on the machine, I made a remark that I was surprised that he did not already have my information handy. (This was the third time I was fingerprinted and pictured for this same charge.) He said, “Oh yeah? You arrested a lot? What are you in for?” I told him that I was arrested with a group who engaged in civil disobedience at
Before I could get all of this out of my mouth, the officer piped in abruptly and surprisingly, “I understand folks like you. I was in
A few more words were exchanged between us about the families being torn apart in the U.S., Iraq and Afghanistan. The disgruntled Vietnam Veteran, now turned law-enforcement officer, concluded taking my fingerprints. He then told me his name and again repeated something to the tune of “I can respect people like you.” After the unexpected bond of our short conversation, the feeling was mutual. Ironically, this same man sent me along the way to serve my jail sentence for speaking out against the crimes being committed by our government and soldiers in
Until we build a culture that widely accepts that it is okay and necessary to resist war and injustice, I suppose that’s the way it will go. I don’t know when or if the day will come, but I look forward to the day of the “coming revolt of the guards” that our late brother Howard Zinn predicted; a day when veterans, soldiers, policemen and judges can stand together with civilians, workers and activists alike to put and end to any further senseless tragedies and atrocities.
Joshua Brollier is a Co-Coordinator with Voices for Creative Non-Violence in Chicago. He and Brian Terrell were released earlier this week from Dane Co. Jail in