What would you do if you were told you had six months to live? When doctors told my Godfather, Bix (Father Bill Bichsel), that his time was limited, he chose to use the time he had left to eliminate nuclear weapons.
A realistic goal? Perhaps not. But “being realistic” never suited Bix much.
To him, if people are hungry, plant a garden to feed them. If they are homeless, just take these two neighborhood houses, build a covered bridge between them and turn the whole thing into a giant transitional housing unit, with free meals and public showers. How to pay for it? Take that U.S. military training school in Ft. Benning, Georgia, the one that trains counter insurgents who are a force of destabilization in Latin America and shut it down.
And in a world where it is legal to press a button and end hundreds of thousands of civilian lives, Bix held the U.S. in contempt of International Law and demanded disarmament. As you can imagine, Bix spent a good chunk of time behind bars with dozens of arrests, nights in jail and three prison sentences (the last two terms while he was an octogenarian).
You may note that people are still hungry, still live on the streets, and that counterinsurgency training facility (the Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas) is still open. Not a single warhead has been disarmed. In fact, it looks as if Iran may soon join the nuclear weapon club.
Bix’s legacy wasn’t putting an end to injustice, in any of its iterations. Bix’s legacy was saying yes.
Instead of heeding the medical reality of six to eighteen months to live, Bix stayed with us for another eight years. I believe he was kept alive by his wholehearted dedication to nuclear disarmament. The fire continued to burn, so that even when walking seemed impossible, he walked. Even when those around him grew disheartened or exhausted, he continued moving forward (both figuratively and literally).