By Shaya Rogers, Features Reporter | Photo Illustration by Jonathan Gamboa
Employee celebrates 30 years protesting at Sandia Weapons Lab
Former CNM instructor and current Disability Resource Center note taker Chuck Hosking is celebrating 30 years of peaceful protest outside of Sandia Weapons Lab.
He has held more than 16,000 protests just outside the entrances to the weapons lab and hopes that his peace vigil will inspire the Sandia employees to consider what effect their career has on others, he said.
“Basically, what I’d like to do is to get these employees to think about something other than weapons of mass destruction; to think about the ethical implications of their work,” he said.
Hosking holds banners outside of the gates of the Sandia Weapons Lab which pose questions that require thought and cannot be answered easily, he said.
“One of the things that’s important to me about the banners is that they all be questions; a question drives people crazy because you have to think about it,” he said.
The banners promote the practice of peace and understanding over violence and aggression, he said.
“That’s basically the message of all the different banners, to try to promote peace through global sharing and not through nuclear weapons,” he said.
Hosking said he believes that the only way to achieve peace is through peaceful action.
“I consider designing weapons of mass destruction to be a crime against humanity,” he said.
It is important for citizens to identify ways to better attain peace on a global level, he said.
“What does it mean to love your enemies? I know that when other countries build bombs and point them at me, I don’t feel very loved by them,” he said.
Many people in the United States have a self-centered world view, he said.h American culture is full of an arrogance of exceptionalism, which perpetuates the idea that America is better than every other country, he said.
“We just need to acknowledge that other people feel as good about their country as we do about ours,” he said.
Hosking is a traditional Quaker who values the simplicity of life and the sharing of wealth and resources, he said.
“Rather than take all of my income and use it on myself, for the last five years, I’ve basically averaged living on 7 percent of my income and giving away the other 93 percent” he said.
When he started the peace vigils 30 years ago, Hosking did car counts at the gates to find out which of the areas had the most traffic and would benefit most from his vigil, he said. He found that the gate that exits onto Wyoming Boulevard often had the highest traffic, he said.
“This gate has roughly five thousand people coming out in that hour and a half and five hundred coming in,” he said.
He has been the only person in constant attendance at the vigil the last 30 years, but has had many people from different walks of life put in their time and energy, he said.
“There’s probably been a hundred different people who have been involved over the years,” he said.
His wife started the tradition with him 30 years ago, but died five and a half years ago and Hosking said this is a way for him to live for them both and to continue on the values they once held in their home.
“I’ve been basically trying to live my life in such a way that it is a tribute to her,” he said.
Hosking holds peace vigils every Friday at 3:30 p.m. at Kirkland Air Force Base gate that exits on Wyoming Boulevard, he said.