My Statement to the City Council Decision on Extending the Lease for the VTANG

My name is Troy Headrick and I’m a pacifist.

I knew I was a pacifist as early as the 4th grade when my best friend punched me in the face and broke my tooth. I knew then that I didn’t like the feelings associated with how violent such a good friend had become.

When you commit to pacifism so early, and you’re surrounded by people who don’t necessarily understand or subscribe to that commitment, you become forced to find your mentors and your heroes from a broader sphere. I found and chose the non-violent messages of John Lennon and the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. I’ll quote the latter here:

“Somewhere somebody must have some sense. Men must see that force begets force, hate begets hate, toughness begets toughness. And it is all a descending spiral, ultimately ending in destruction for all and everybody. Somebody must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and the chain of evil in the universe.”

We have since been reminded by so many that Peace is not a destination. It’s not something you find. Peace is the journey itself. Peace is a choice. When we commit to peace, our world and our journeys become peaceful.

Making the decision to house war machines is also a choice and it will never lead to peace. I will already be 81 years old when the current lease expires. I’ll likely be dead when the extended lease expires. My daughters will be 78 and 80 when the extended lease would expire in 2073. How dare we act with such hubris right now that would lock this community into a lease until 2073. How dare we.

I’ve heard the sound of the F35s described as the sound of freedom. This is ridiculous gaslighting propaganda. The disruptive sound we hear so frequently is, quite literally, the sound of war. I’ve heard the mantra repeatedly that freedom is not free. This makes for a cute bumper sticker but it’s also absolutely wrong. Freedom and peace are most certainly free. It costs me absolutely nothing to commit to peace.

It’s war that is both costly and profitable.

We have been told and we’ll be told again about the importance of the federal dollars that accompany this lease extension.

I don’t care.

We all have plenty of convictions that are not for sale at any price. My commitment to peace is not for sale at any price. My hope is that we can come together as a community and make the brave decision that our collective commitment to a peaceful existence is not for sale at any price. These disruptive machines of war do not belong this close to our communities. We certainly should not be the ones who make the decision to keep them here until 2073.