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Byline: Alex Fryer
SEATTLE _ From heavily-guarded piers on Hood Canal, nine of the largest submarines in the Navy are dispatched throughout the Pacific, each boat carrying enough atomic firepower within its missile tubes to unleash thousands of Hiroshimas.
For a small band of people, it is very important for you to know this. So important, they are willing to travel miles, make homemade signs and give up their freedom, at least temporarily, to get you to pay attention. Trouble is, few people do. The actions of those tilting against the region's nuclear weapons have become so practiced and refined that even the cops who arrest them seem half asleep.
Anti-nuclear protesters have traveled to the naval base at Bangor for more than three decades, since before it even opened in 1977. Without much fanfare or attention, they continue to gather outside the gates, passing out leaflets once a month and, three times a year, blocking traffic and getting arrested. At one time, thousands of people showed up to these events. These days, average attendance for a Bangor demonstration is between 70 and 80, or about 0.0018 percent of the population of western Washington.
That could seem a disheartening number. A skeptic might even say it roughly equals the likelihood that Pentagon brass will remove the weapons and transform the 7,600-acre base into a national park, as protesters hope.
But odds-making has little place in the peace community that has coalesced against the undersea-missile system called Trident. It is faith that sustains the movement; for many, a religious faith that says it would be immoral not to act.
And for the most dedicated, that means going to jail.
They sit in a circle of steel chairs at the Sons of Norway hall in Poulsbo, the core membership of the anti-Trident group Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and a few newcomers, as a winter Sunday morning threatens rain but hasn't yet delivered. In attendance is a Dominican nun, a Jesuit priest, a Lutheran pastor and several people from a Quaker congregation in Olympia.
Later this day, some will be arrested at Bangor, and, for most, it won't be the first time.
Introductions are made, but most faces are familiar. They've been doing this for a very long time.
If the circle has a focal point, it is the Rev. Anne Hall, 60, dressed in white tennis shoes, jeans and blue fleece, dime-sized peace earrings framing her face. Officially, she is listed as Ground Zero's treasurer, and her husband, David, its former chairman, but, until a few years ago, titles were pretty loose.
A former educator and first-grade …