[Pursuit of Happiness: Molly Rush, John Schuchardt, George Petsock 7]

An interview with activists Molly Rush and John Schuchardt about their civil disobedience and with prison warden George Petsock for the documentary The Pursuit of Happiness, directed by Julie Gustafson and John Reilly.

00:02Copy video clip URL Camera setup.

00:43Copy video clip URL Warden George Petsock arrives. 

01:08Copy video clip URL Petsock’s thoughts on civil disobedience and on Rush and Schuchardt’s situation. He says that he is an administrator of the laws, and that personal views about those laws never factor into his decisions. 

02:05Copy video clip URL Petsock’s knowledge of Ruch and Schuchardt’s case comes almost entirely from reading the newspaper. 

02:52Copy video clip URL When asked his opinion of their actions, Petsock again asserts that his understanding of the case is that they were found guilty of breaking the law. 

04:28Copy video clip URL Petsock doesn’t think that breaking the law is necessary to bring attention to oneself or one’s cause. He finds the extremity of breaking the law to be too much, even if other methods have already proven ineffective. 

06:35Copy video clip URL He thinks that Rush and Schuchardt’s fears of nuclear armament are legitimate but that “some people feel things a lot more deeply than others, others are more hard-skinned and it sort of rolls off your shoulders.”

07:10Copy video clip URL He is a strong believer that people should obey the laws and work within the framework of the government. Civil disobedience hurts other people. 

08:05Copy video clip URL Petsock believes that they are very sincere in their actions and cannot criticize them for that. He likens their actions to prison abolitionists: “You can’t change the prison system by standing outside waving placards and saying ‘Down with prisons’ and ‘Ban prisons’ and everything else when you really don’t know what’s going on to a great degree. I think you have to get involved, you have to work within the prisons, you have to work within the judicial system, you have to work within politics to make change.”

09:53Copy video clip URL Petsock knows that there are incarcerated people who are in prison for their beliefs but that the prison’s philosophy is to treat everyone equal, regardless of why they are in prison. He discusses Father Barrigan, another of the Ploughshares 8, and Schuchardt both being nice people. 

11:35Copy video clip URL Rush addresses Petsock, discussing the point at which one sees the law as “protecting crimes against humanity,” as it did in Nazi Germany. Petsock says that he can’t answer, that he’s a “black and white” person: either you break the law or you don’t. 

13:46Copy video clip URL Rush poses a hypothetical to Petsock about civil disobedience. He says that he doesn’t know how to answer. Director Julie Gustafson asks if there is a similarity between the lawful mass executions of Nazi Germany and the nuclear buildup, and if civil disobedience is therefore justified. Again he says he can’t answer. 

16:59Copy video clip URL Petsock does agree that if there’s a “life-death situation, occurring in the now,” then breaking the law is justified. 

17:50Copy video clip URL Rush says that they may live in a democracy but that there is no situation in which sh would be able to directly influence the decisions made regarding nuclear policy. Petsock points out the dangers of conventional weapons, which Rush agrees with while pointing out the unique dangers of nuclear weapons. 




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