At the recent trial of the Disarm Now Plowshares activists a retired U.S. Navy Captain who had commanded nuclear submarines during the Cold War testified on behalf of the Plowshares activists. Tom Rogers long journey had brought him to an understanding of the need to abolish these horrible weapons of mass destruction, that the government was not paying attention to people's "legal" means of free speech, and that the Plowshares activists' methods were justified.
In 1958 another retired U.S. Navy Captain embarked on his own journey of conscience and civil resistance when he and his peacemaking crew sailed the 30-foot ketch the Golden Rule toward the U.S. government's atmospheric test site in the Marshall Islands in an attempt to stop nuclear weapons testing despite government prohibitions and a court injunction. They were arrested, tried, convicted and put on probation, and undaunted, set sail a second time. This time the government decided to put Albert Bigelow behind bars.
Bigelow was not acting on a whim. The atomic bombing of Hiroshima horrified him, and in the postwar years he took a number of steps on his peacemaking journey. Among them, according to historian Lawrence Wittner, "working with the American Friends Service Committee, Bigelow sought to deliver a petition against nuclear testing to the White House, but was rebuffed by U.S. government officials." Bigelow made every effort to get the government to listen, but his words fell on deaf ears.