by Jane Sumner
have always been part of Americana. The Trailblazer and the super Chief, the
Burlington Zephyr and the Wabash Cannonball--magical names that shine a headlight
on the past and send a long blue whistle into the night. Jet-age Americans take
to the air, but they still wave to cabooses at crossings. And most want their
kids, sometime in their lives, to ride on a railroad.
So it's hard to understand how a train painted all white and armored heavily could crisscross the country for nearly 20 years without drawing attention. Finally, one man's curiosity got the best of him.
Idanha Films' The Arms Race Within takes an hour-long look at peace leader Jim Douglass and the people who sit on the tracks protesting the train that takes nuclear weapons from the Pantex assembly plant in Amarillo to the nuclear submarine base in Bangor, Wash.
Jim Douglass discovered its contents. Douglass, director of Washington-based Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, saw the fortified train from his catbird seat on what he calls "the edge of destruction": He lives with his wife Shelley and their son alongside the fence of the Trident nuclear submarine base in Bangor. Their home overlooks the railroad tracks that lead into the base.
...the number of people holding trackside (sic.) vigils has grown from nine in 1982 to several thousand in 1985. Three hundred turned out as the train passed through Topeka, Kan., at 3 a.m. last February. The protesters know they can't stop it. They can slow its progress--as they did last February, by two days. As a result, the Department of Energy now re-routes (sic.) the train each trip on the tracks of least resistance.
Dallas Peace Times, vol. 1, no.2
The Undersheriff of Kitsap County (Washington) meets representatives from Ground Zero and Puget Sound Agape during filming of the (film) Arms Race Within.
|...Douglass...vowed, "We'll be on the tracks until the trains stop coming." The Canadian- born teacher- theologian is a reluctant leader. But his philosophy, his passion galvanize Ground Zero's nine hard- core members and the hundreds of agape folks strung out along the tracks. And it is his presence and intensity that dominate this film.|
...The Pacific Northwest's brooding scenery is the evergreen stage for this real-life morality play....It sets a mood of tranquility that works against the horror of the train.