Priest arrested after spray-painting sign at Kansas City weapons plant

Fr. Carl Kabat splashed red paint on the entrance sign to the Kansas City, Mo., National Security Campus.
Fr. Carl Kabat splashed red paint on the entrance sign to the Kansas City, Mo., National Security Campus.

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Fr. Carl Kabat, 80, of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate was arrested Friday after he splashed red paint on a sign at the new National Security Campus in Kansas City, Mo., a five-building facility where 85 percent of the non-nuclear parts for U.S. nuclear weapons will be made or procured. Jane Stoever* of PeaceWorks Kansas City, a friend of Kabat's, submitted the following account of his most recent nonviolent protest.


This is Carl's fourth consecutive "interdependence action" in July at the so-called campus, the new home for the Kansas City Plant (in Kansas City, Mo.), where the National Nuclear Security Administration this year will begin making and procuring non-nuclear parts for nuclear weapons. In a phone call to friends at 10:03 a.m., Carl said, "This damned plant has got to be closed somehow, some way." Kabat filled baby bottles with paint in order to paint the sign. He chose red paint to signify blood, he said, and after painting was sitting alone by the huge sign, awaiting arrest.

The new $687 million facility replaces the KC Plant at Bannister Federal Complex, also in Kansas City, Mo., where the federal government has documented about 900 toxins -- the legacy from radioactive and other substances used at the old plant. The KC Plant makes parts such as wiring, fuses, guidance systems, security devices, and the trigger for nuclear weapons.

Kabat spent 24 hours in the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department's holding cell, and will come before a judge in court in September.

About noon on July 4, lawyer Henry Stoever took pictures of Kabat's handiwork, but by 6 p.m., when Jane Stoever went for more pictures, the sign was under cover. Both Stoevers were warned to leave or be charged with trespass.

In a statement Kabat prepared before an earlier July 4 resistance action, he said, "One of our Minuteman III's could kill approximately three million of our sisters and brothers. ... We have perfected the 'art' of killing and burning. ... Four Minuteman III's could kill 12 million of our sisters and brothers. ... The opinion of the International Court in 1995 states that nuclear weapons are a Crime Against Humanity!"

In 1980, Kabat became one of the first Plowshares, following Isaiah's mandate to "beat swords into plowshares." He has spent about 17 years in prison for resisting nuclear weapons. In his short phone call this July 4, Carl signed off, "God bless! Peace on you!"

*An earlier version of this blog post misspelled Stoever's last name.

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