Episode 57: Jailbreak Jamboree!

Shea teaches us about the finer points of prison breaks, then Aaron teaches Patrons the exact opposite lesson…

Welcome to Interesting If True, the podcast that breaks you out of your routine and maybe prison…

I’m your host this week, Shea, and with me is: Aaron

I’m Aaron, and this week I learned that prisons in Australia are really just budget Inception.

Jailbreak Jamboree

My past few stories have been pretty heavy lately so this week I wanted to break the pattern, break out of the heavy stories into something fun and a bit more ridiculous. Break out of prison maybe, yeah! Today I’m going to tell you about some of the most daring and crazy prison escapes I could find.

In Japan, the Meiji Era, which spanned from 1868 to 1912, was considered one of the harsher periods for prisoners, so escaping prison was actually more common. In 1881, a record number of convicts, 1821, were able to make successful getaways from incarceration to escape their harsh terrible sentences.

No other man in history has shown such disdain for incarceration than Yoshie Shiratori, known as the most famous escapee in Japan of all times, who was tagged as “the man that no prison could hold.” Yoshie successfully escaped the Japanese prison system 4 times!

Yoshie’s first work was in a tofu shop, he later worked as a fisherman crew that catches crabs for Russia. After changing failed businesses several times, he became known for addictive gambling and stealing.

Yoshie was initially accused of murder and robbery and was sentenced to Aomori prison. Three years later, he picked the lock of his handcuffs with a short wire he found from a wooden bathing bucket.

Police recaptured him after three days and he was sentenced to life in prison for escaping and for supposedly stealing supplies from a hospital. He was eventually transferred to Akita prison in 1942.

At Akita prison, Yoshie managed to escape by somehow climbing the impossible smooth walls of his cell to reach the air vent. He would climb up and down every night and eventually unhinged the vent to extricate himself.

Perhaps he was exhausted from all the running and hiding, he decided to go to the home of a police officer, the only person who had shown any benevolence towards him from his previous prison in Aomori. However, this officer eventually handed Yoshie over to the authorities, and he vowed to never place his trust in another police officer ever again.

Yoshie was transferred for the second time to Abashiri Prison, which was located in a remote locale in Northern Hokkaido. Abashiri was no regular penal colony. It was reserved for the worst kinds of criminals in Japan. He was transferred here because he had already escaped two times, and the police wanted him to stay put.

The man had an endless pool of ingenuity, so this time, each morning he would spit miso soup on the doorframe of his cell. The salts and moisture eventually corroded and weakened the door frame.

When the wartime blackout of August 26, 1944, occurred Yoshie dislocated his shoulders and squeezed himself out of the small space on the metal frame where the guards would slide in his food. Once again, Yoshie’s escape was publicized, and made the headlines of several newspapers.

Yoshie was caught once again and this time sentenced to death. Additionally, he was assigned six armed guards, and he was under surveillance, 24 hours per day.

At the Sapporo prison, he was incarcerated in a specially made cell that was designed to prevent him from escaping through the air vent in the ceiling. This would be the largest defect in the setup because too much attention to the ceiling meant the floor of the cell was more or less ignored.

The prison guards at Sapporo had so much faith in the newly renovated cell that they no longer bothered to handcuff their prisoner. This would be mistake number two.

While Yoshie had aged and was tired from being a prisoner and from constantly escaping, there was one thing that still fueled his drive: desperation. While awaiting execution in 1947, Yoshie made his final bid for freedom by unlocking the bolts that held together with the cell’s wooden floorboards. He used a bowl used for food to dig his way out of prison.

After a year of liberty, it was said that Yoshie was offered a cigarette by a police officer (Cigarettes were expensive after the war). Moved by the kindness of the police officer, Yoshie admitted that he was an escaped convict and offered to be turned in by the officer. He was tried once again by the High Court of Sapporo. They noted that in all his four escapes, he did not perform bodily harm to any of the guards, despite the fact that abuse by guards was rampant in all the prisons.

The High Court of Sapporo decided to revoke the previous decision of the death penalty. Instead, he was given a final sentence of 20 years in prison. Yoshie requested that he be imprisoned in Tokyo, which the court granted. He spent his days in Fuchu Prison until 1961 when he was given parole. He traveled to the Aomori Prefecture more than a decade later to reunite with his daughter so that he could tell her his life story. Yoshie lived for another decade after that, doing odd jobs to survive. He eventually succumbed to a heart attack in 1979.

Notorious gangster John Dillinger was Jesse James incarnate. His legend reached dizzying heights during a series of crime sprees between 1933 and 1934. Dillinger was a dashing bandit that smiled at the ladies while he robbed the town bank. Those that knew his story considered him a modern-day Robin Hood. In telling his tale, they fused fact and fiction to create a folk hero.

On January 25, 1934, authorities arrested Dillinger and other members of his crew in Tucson, Arizona. They extradited him via plane to Indiana for robbing the First National Bank and murdering patrolman William O’Malley in East Chicago, Indiana ten days earlier. He faced robbery and murder charges and a potential date with the electric chair. Ever the danger, authorities shackled Dillinger to his seat for the entire trip.

Fun Fact: He was one of the first extradited prisoners in United States history to be transported by air.

Dillinger arrived at the airport in Indiana on January 30, 1934, and was mobbed by cameramen the moment his feet hit the cement ground. He was taken from the airport to Lake County Jail in Crown Point, Indiana. Thirty-six Chicago police officers and thirty-six Indiana police officers in a thirteen-car convoy escorted Dillinger to jail.

The arrogance of local authorities was on display from the moment of Dillinger’s arrival. Press in tow, Prosecutor Robert Estill, Lake County Sheriff Lillian Holley and other local authorities posed for photographs with the gangster. The local prosecutor and sheriff lauded the facility, noting that the gangster would not be able to break out. Ever the showman, Dillinger told anyone who would listen that he believed otherwise.

At 8:30 am, on Saturday, March 3, while awaiting trial for murder and bank robbery as an inmate in the strongest jail in Indiana, Dillinger escaped.

He used two razor blades and carved an old piece of washboard into the shape of a handgun, though a few stories claim it was a soap bar he carved. Once finished, the gangster used black boot polish to color the fake pistol. When the opportunity presented itself, Dillinger stuck his toy gun into the ribs of an unsuspecting guard.

Dillinger stole two Thompson machine guns that were leaning against the wall in the warden’s office. Ironically, those weapons were loaned to the Crown Point facility as added firepower to aid them in holding the gangster. He gave one of the guns to prisoner Herbert Youngblood, who helped round up the jail employees.

The two criminals locked everyone in the jail in the primary bullpen, Dillinger, a captive guard, and his accomplice walked out of prison unscathed. They went to the garage in search of the fastest car available. When asked, a garage employee pointed to the sheriff’s Ford. Dillinger, the prisoner, the guard, and the employee got into the car and drove toward Illinois. The two hostages were dropped off unharmed in a small town located just inside the Illinois border.

A nearby postal worker saw the escape and telephoned authorities, who called him crazy. He was forced to repeat his claim three times before they believed him.

Within days, both the sheriff and the county prosecutor were vilified publicly. Taking photographs with the outlaw that broke out of prison was not a good look, and the public immediately called for their dismissal. For her part, Sheriff Holley was irate, promising to shoot Dillinger herself if she was ever given the chance.

Unfortunately for the gangster, while he reformed his gang and resumed his criminal ways, his days were numbered. On July 22, 1934, John Dillinger was shot and killed by federal agents outside of the Biograph Theater in Chicago, Illinois.

Four hours south of us there’s a supermax prison in Florence, Colo., just two hours outside Denver. It’s the highest-security penitentiary in the United States. Since opening in 1994, no prisoner has escaped from the Administrative Maximum Facility — known as “the ADX” — one reason former members of federal law enforcement expect the Sinaloa cartel drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán will spend the rest of his life there.

In July 2015, El Chapo escaped Mexico’s top-security prison, Altiplano Prison, through a mile-long tunnel complete with ventilation and conveniently parked motorbike

First, Guzmán is believed to have climbed down through a two-by-two foot hole underneath the shower in his cell in the prison’s most secure wing. The shower opening led to an elaborate tunnel almost a mile long. The tunnel was equipped with lighting, ventilation, and a motorcycle on rails that was probably used to transport digging material and cart the dirt out.

The tunnel led to a construction site with a bare-bones compound in the nearby neighborhood of Santa Juanita, near the Mexican city of Toluca.

Through a hole in the ground, a ladder led to the middle of the construction site. Construction on the compound was started sometime after February 2015, satellite images show.

Mexican authorities began a sweeping manhunt, shutting down an airport and holding 30 prison employees, including the head of the prison, for questioning.

Guzman’s second jail bust was seen as one of the most embarrassing moments for the Mexican government, after recapturing the drug lord who up to that point had evaded authorities for over a decade.

El Chapo escaped from the same prison in 2001, through a laundry cart that maintenance worker Javier Camberos rolled through several doors and eventually out the front door.

At the age of four, Carl Synnerdahl stole the milkman’s draught horse and tried to hide it in his bedroom. It was the mischievous little tyke’s first brush with the law. Over the next 40 years, he would be in and out of jail — mainly for bank robberies. At one point, he was on Interpol’s 10 most-wanted lists.

Over the years miscarriages of justice have inspired movies, books, and media attention. But Synnerdahl was not an innocent person betrayed by the criminal justice system.

Carl faced a long sentence for armed robbery. With his record, he was facing a sentence of the order of 10 to 14 years. He was looking at serving more than half of this term before he would even be eligible for parole. In any case, with his record, he was far from a strong candidate for parole being granted.

Synnerdahl had hit upon an audacious scheme to have his sentence drastically reduced: he feigned blindness.

“I was trying to figure out a way to get out of prison, something that no one else had ever done,” Carl says.

“If I went over the wall I’d be on the run again and I really wanted to get out of crime at that stage. I was sitting there thinking and I thought ‘no one’s ever gone blind in jail before’. (This was before Cosby of course)

“From that day on I started rubbing my eyes, making them red, blinking, and bumping into things.”

Police and prison authorities were highly skeptical of this claim and set out to debunk it. Officers would sneak up behind Synnerdahl in the court cells and ignite a cigarette lighter millimeters from his eyes. He never flinched. Others would create an obstacle course for him to maneuver. Failure to do so would result in falling face first. What happened? Synnerdahl fell face first. Exhaustive tests were carried out by a battery of ophthalmologists. Intense pinpricks of light were shone in his eyes and, under magnification, the doctors looked for any reaction in the pupil or iris. There was none, whatever the intensity of the light.

“By this time I’d learned how to read Braille, I had a Braille watch and I had a cane,”

Carl recalls with a grin.

“But the judge still sentenced a man to six years’ jail who was blind. What sort of human being does that?”

The now legally blind Carl is transferred to the low-security Cessnock jail, in NSW’s Hunter region, where he takes full advantage of his newly-acquired disability, heading out on day leave to various functions and events — and even, he claims, juggling affairs with married women.

After two years and unable to maintain the sham any longer, Carl decided to do a runner while on day leave. He wore dark glasses and used a white cane, and walked out the front gate in the guise of attending church counseling. Making his way into town, Synnerdahl hitchhiked to Sydney.

The escape from the jail of a blind man attracted wide media attention. It occupied the whole front page of the afternoon Daily Mirror of Wednesday, June 22, 1977. The headline read:


Blind man on the run talks to the mirror

‘I conned cops’

Trance fools eye doctors.”

While on the run, Synnerdahl granted the exclusive front-page interview to journalist Steve Pivetta. The pair met at Redfern railway station, an inner-city Sydney suburb. Synnerdahl was well-dressed and wearing sunglasses. He told of an Asian doctor who had taught him how to temporarily induce blindness by going into a trance. He claimed this enabled him to deceive even specialist eye surgeons. This deception could only be maintained for short periods, but the feigned affliction had enabled him to achieve his wish of detention in the minimum security part of Cessnock jail, where he found it easy to escape.

Synnerdahl was only on the run for a short period before being rearrested.

In 1981, Synnerdahl published his book on the elaborate ruse entitled Hoodwinked which was quickly picked up by Australian filmmakers and made into a movie that same year.

Burglar and safecracker Alfred (Alfie) George Hinds were one of Britain’s most notorious prison escapees. Hinds managed to escape from prison a remarkable three times, all in the name of proving his innocence to the British legal system (I wonder why that didn’t work?). Hines was born in 1917 and grew up in an orphanage.

According to Prison History, he began his career as a thief very young, and the home punished him severely. He ran away at the age of 7 and continued his life of crime. After spending some time in a home for delinquent boys, and a few years in the army, Hinds was arrested for jewel theft in 1953, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Two years into his sentence, he got past a locked door and climbed the 20-foot-high prison fence to make his way to freedom. He was then given the nickname “Houdini” Hines, and it stuck with him for the rest of his life.

He was apprehended after being out for about eight months and sent back to prison. He filed a complaint against the officers who arrested him, however, and during a court hearing about the complaint, Hines managed to get hold of a padlock and locked his prison escorts in the restroom. He slipped out of the courthouse but was found a few hours later at the airport.

A year into his imprisonment at Chelmsford prison, which was a high-security facility, he escaped again. He was a free man for the next two years, during which time he repeatedly pleaded for clemency from the authorities, playing up his life story to the public as a way of gathering support. He failed and ultimately finished his sentence, but his attempt to achieve celebrity status was a success and he had many sympathizers.

In 1966, Hinds published a personal account of his escapes and his clashes with the English legal system, titled Contempt of Court. His notorious jailbreaks from three high-security prisons and his successful libel case earned Hinds celebrity status. He soon became a sought-after speaker criticizing the English legal system. When invited to take part in a debate before The Polytechnic Students’ Union in 1967, he was confronted by another attempt to deprive him of his liberty. During a drink in a nearby pub after the debate, he was kidnapped by six students for a rag-week stunt and frogmarched along a couple of streets to a basement room in the college. Hinds yet again foiled his captors after securing a bunch of keys and turning the lock on them.

Hinds later became a member of Mensa, becoming secretary of the Channel Islands’ Mensa Society.

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In The Out, And Other Prison Fun

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No… not that.

Since Shea was so kind as to tell us riveting stories of risque escapes, I thought I’d tell you about people breaking things the other way around…

Shea’s stories, while delightful, all made way too much sense. And on a fun show, that, I simply can not abide. Much like the state of California couldn’t abide the operation of the Valencia Club… on account of it belong closed. Still, that didn’t stop opportunistic entrepreneur Travis Lloyd Kevie, 29, from re-opening the bar. The business was slow the first weekend, only 30 patrons or so a day, but once the bar’s reopening was featured in Placer County’s local paper, guests poured in… all police. No, the local Sheriff’s Office wasn’t looking for a new cop-bar. They turned up because…

And this is where we find out the story is part quiz!

So, Shea, why did the Valencia Club fill up with police?

  1. Because Travis’ milk-stout brought all the boys to the yard, or,
  2. It was a basement club… below the new Public Service Outreach office, or,
  3. Travis’ hadn’t bothered with any of the “license” stuff and got busted when the inspector he was paying off with drinks got fired for being drunk at work, or,
  4. Travis was a homeless guy who broke into an abandoned building, realized it was a somehow still-stocked bar, and claimed it under the unbreakable tenants of finders-keepers.

Yep, that’s a big old “D”

Placer County Sheriff’s Office said. “As Detective Jim Hudson read the morning newspaper he recognized an individual pictured on the front page as a local transient who has had numerous contact with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.” Kevie was arrested and charged with burglery, selling alcohol without a license, and, I imagine, being homeless. Finally, according to CNN, quote “A large amount of alcohol and cash was also confiscated from the bar” because… Not sure and no source I could find had anything more to say so “civil forfeiture” I guess? I mean, the bar did belong to someone.

So, that’s the game. I’ll tell you a story and you give me the “why” of it all…

Shea, sprechen sie Douch?

‘Cause this guy sure does…

That’s right, our first story is from Germany! Also, that’s not at all a typo.

In October of 2019 an 18-year-old man from Vechta, Germany fundamentally misunderstood what “prison break” means. Guards at Vechta’s women’s prison noticed what they thought might be a man climbing a light pole next to the facility’s 13-foot brick wall. Guards reached the man as he lept from the pole, over the wall’s razor wire, to the side of the prison building, on is German, but described as some kind of fire escape landing.

The angle is a bit dumpy, but you can see the wall and I think 4th and 5th floors in this image:

Having successfully, but not stealthily, broken into prison the unnamed youth was surrounded by guards. Unable to go up and refusing to drop down, the man hung on the side of the building until firefighters arrived with an extension ladder to help the cold, stupid, naked, man down.

Shea, why did a naked German try to break into prison?

  1. It was his first legal Ocktoberfest, which he celebrated by adding MDMA to his beer and the rest is, as they say, is history, or,
  2. His ex-girlfriend was incarcerated in Vechta and he was trying to win her back Say Anything… style, but first stripped down so as not to risk his sweet threads, or,
  3. He had been sentenced to a nearby men’s prison and shed his bright orange uniform attempting to execute an elaborate plan to sneak into and serve his time in what he believed to be the “safer” women’s wing, or,
  4. He was a freshman at Vechta University attempting to streak a prison guard event to earn his way into a German, Greek-order that I dare not attempt to pronounce,

Yeah… it’s… it’s “B”… he’s… not a smart man.

Regional broadcaster NDR reported that the half-naked man was attempting to win back his ex, who had recently broken up with him by phone because… well… prison. His plan was to climb up to her cell window and… somehow, that would help matters. But, noting the razorwire, he first stipped down to avoid his clothing getting caught on the razorwire. For his efforts, he was, of course, arrested. No source I could find could confirm if his ex ever even knew he was there that night, never mind if they managed to patch things up. But I like to think they became prison pen-pals and fell in love all over again and served life, happily-ever-after.

See what I did there? Have I mentioned I’m funny?

Prison Break: God Awful Movies Edition

Because FOX had Wentworth Miller (best Captain Cold btw), but our story has Lynton Frazer and wouldn’t be any dumber if it had been made by David A. R. White.

It’s over to Jolly Old England for our next story. Edinburgh to be precise. There you’ll find Oxgangs Police Station—it’s right across from Axgangs fire department—which in January of 2015, was the site of a prison break. Well, ok, it’s a cop-shop, so not a proper prison… I guess “jailbreak” is the technical term eh?

Officers began investigating an alarm in the wee hours of the morning at the then-empty building. Soon police had the then 38-year-old Frazer in custody… because this was the second time he’d broken into the police station, having been previously arrested on the same charges in 2013. I guess unlawful entry or whatever—even of a secure government building—in the UK isn’t that big a deal because he only got three months before being released on bail according to the Independent… umm… dot co dot UK.

This time around things may be steeper. Sheriff Croew, being familiar with Frazer, said “All options have been considered in the Social Work report, including deferring sentence in the hope something would work. I am not satisfied this is an option for the court.”

Shea, why did a Brit repeatedly try to break into prison?

  1. His brother was wrongfully accused of murdering the Duchess of Dunshire and his only hope was Frazer busting him out before it was too late, or,
  2. Frazer was a constable in Edinburgh that had been let go for participating in Britain’s alt-right Q-anon rallies but he “refused to be detained” or whatever and kept showing up to work, which was now technically breaking and entering, or,
  3. He broke into the precinct to use the restaurant-quality kitchen to prepare a fine breakfast of ravioli and Weetabix (which is, apparently, an off-brand British version of sugar-free Wheaties), or,
  4. He was a PETA extremist who broke into the station—again—in an attempt to get to the animal control officers offices, which he believed to be where the animals he wanted to liberate were being kept ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Yep, smash that “B” button because it’s Weetabix time baby!

The first time Frazer broke into the Edinburgh Police Station was to steal milk. Because supermarkets are sooooo pase, amiright? This time around Frazer broke into the station to cook breakfast… and to get arrested, a measure he saw as short-term prevention for his real trouble—being addicted to the thrill of doing ever-more illegal crap.

“Through exasperation he often says ‘I am going to jail’,” Mr. Good, Freezers lawyer, continuing “he sees this as some sort of short term treatment.” He added that while Frazer did this to intentionally get arrested, “it is clear he does not want to go to prison” on what one assumes to be a more significant charge.

Rocky Mountain High…Bar To Cross…

Hitting a little closer to home than one might want is the unusual case of Monique Armstrong. In 2014, then 22-year-old Monique, called the jail in Mesa County, Colorado, to let them know she’d be breaking in later that day, presumably between brunch and rush hour, because no one wants to break out of a traffic jam to break into jail on an empty stomach… Or something.

Local authorities dismissed the call as a prank because, honestly, who announces their arrival at jail? Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate an “I’m on the way” text as much as the next person, but… you know… I’m a person, not a jail. There is, it would seem, a limit to common courtesy.

Once officers noticed an abandoned car parked unusually… and illegally… too close to the fence they sounded the alarm. A quick sweep of the prison found Monique tangled in the razor wire fencing that runs along another side of the security zone. She had been unable to get clear of the wire but was close enough to the wall the try to smash in a window she, presumably, thought she could make it through. Not sure how an open window helps with razor wire digging into your meat, but maybe… The window, however, was wire-reinforced safety glass so… that did not work at all.

Once officers cut her out of the wire she was arrested on charges of criminal trespass, criminal mischief, and violating bail-bond conditions, according to the Daily Sentinel.

Shea, why did a Geenie try to break into prison?

  1. Her brother had recently been arrested and she believed that he was being held at the Mesa County jail, so of course, she was going to spring him before he went to jail… More, or,
  2. She had previously been incarcerated in Mesa County but was released earlier that week. Finding the outside world to be too much, she had hoped to move back into her old apartment, or,
  3. She had recently been dumped by a security guard at Mesa and was attempted to sneak into the guards’ offices to plant evidence in his locker, hoping to cost him his job at the very least, or,
  4. The prison had recently been featured in the Denver Post has having been upgraded to near impenetrability, a claim she wasn’t going to let those fake-news jerks make untested

And that’s an “A” for effort… kinda…

Her 18-year-old brother had been arrested for DWI-D, or driving while stoned out of his gourd… as evidenced by his driving the wrong way down a one-way street at the time of his arrest. He was booked into Mesa County jail and bail etc was set, which, thanks to unnamed friends he met and, while Monique was getting stuck in razor wire to spring him, was being processed for release. “If she maybe had given it a few hours, she probably could have met him at the front door,” a Mesa County sheriff’s spokesman told the Daily Sentinel.

Ending On With A Big Bang!

For our last question today we have an entirely unlikely story that is, honestly, better suited for a geriatric 007 remake than our show, but hey, we’re not picky.

On July 28th of 2012, then 84-year-old Sister Megan Rice, and her accomplices Greg Boertje-Obed, then 58, and Michael Walli, then 64, but through three layers of fencing to break onto the grounds of the United States nuclear storage facility at Oak Ridge in Tennessee. The nearly $550 million dollar bunker was designed to have state-of-the-art security… which only helps if someone is keeping an eye on it. Cutting the wires immediately sounded alarms all over the facility and at remote security monitoring locations but the security contractors were… I dunno, having a ticket fight or something because it took them nearly two hours to get even so much as a security guard to the site. Seriously, this was considered one of the most secure facilities in the world at the time because of all of the… you know… weapons-grade uranium and also weapons-grade nuclear weapons that it houses.

Once through the fencing the trio easily made their way into the building to fiddle about as they pleased. After a few hours guards finally caught up to the unscapeees who immediately offered to share their lunch with him, because you’re caught, so why not I guess?

Shea, why did a Catholic nun break into a nuclear facility?

  1. She was sure that the facility was actually where Obama and other officials were keeping the pizza-gate kids and she was going to rescue them if it was the last thing she did, or,
  2. Believing the end to neigh she and her fellows wanted to find a well-armed, well secured, bunker to live in until either the radiation dissipated or they were raptured, or,
  3. Being a pacifist she and her colleagues broke into the facility to spray paint protest messages on nuclear warheads, hang banners, and generally donk the place up so that it couldn’t be used for war, or,
  4. Having heard the word of God she convinced two members of her congregation to help her carry out her holy mission of launching the bombs, bringing out the end times and generally doing blood-cult stuff.

Yep, that’s a “C” of … cesium I guess.

Megan was a long-time Catholic Nun at the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, a pacifist sect of Catholics… yep… who believed in nonviolence. They had broken into the nuclear storage facility to put up police tape, because it was a crime scene don’tcha know, spray paint messages on the walls, and hang a banner that read “The fruit of justice is peace” which… ok. They also chipped away at the bunkers’ foundation for souvenir stones before emptying their bottles of baby blood all over everything.

Megan RiceNope, not a typo. Apparently spray bottles of baby-blood are standard Catholic-passivist equipment, which if we’re being honest, tracks a whole hell of a lot more than the “positivist” part. Naturally, they were arrested and sentenced to around six years each. Though the guys got about a year more than Sister Radioactive McRadiationFace got. The Society of the Holy Child Jesus put together a crack legal team of maybe lawyers who collected some 14,000 signatures in support of leniency in the case. Because when you’re arrested for tampering with WMDs the judge super duper cares about what your congregation thinks.

Jeffery Theodore, the assistant US attorney general for the eastern district of Tennessee, told the court that the three “pretty much celebrated their acts”. Which is true. When the guards busted them they offered to break bread with the guard, sit and tell stories with them, or even do bible readings. None of which the guards found to be interesting.

A friend of Megan’s, Mary Evelyn Tucker, director of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale compared the nun’s protest to the “lineage of transformation” employed by Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King. Which is lark as all of those folks would have been shot on sight instead of gently arrested and given a fifth of the possible jail time.

She said:

“To allow Megan to continue the work of her life, the work to alleviate suffering, outside the walls of a prison would be an invaluable gift to the world. To keep her inside, the world would be diminished for lack of her work.”

Which is nuts. The courtroom was packed with the anti-nuclear faith community who preyed for shorter sentences but because nothing fails like prayer, they’re all still in jail.


I’m Shea, and this week I learned that horses get farted on more than any other animal. Before we go I’d like to thank all our listeners, supporters, and my co-host Aaron.

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