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Activist/protester Brian Willson stops in WC to discuss new memoir

By Paul Thissen with contributions from Lou Fancher
Contra Costa Times

July 9th, 2011

WALNUT CREEK —In 1987, peace activist Brian Willson came to the Concord Naval Weapons Station to try to stop a munitions train—by lying on the tracks.

He thought the train would stop. It didn't, and Willson lost his legs.
But he got people's attention. For the next 28 months, no trains got through. There were so many people on the tracks that trains were blocked the entire time, Willson said.

He will return Wednesday to speak about his new book, Blood on the Tracks, at the Peace and Justice Center in Walnut Creek.

The stop is part of his West Coast book tour, which he is making on a hand-powered tricycle at a pace of 40 miles per day, ending at the Veterans For Peace convention in Portland in August.

His activism is inspired by his time as an Air Force officer in the Vietnam War, where he witnessed the aftermath of bombing runs.

"I discovered we were bombing small villages," Willson said. "I couldn't believe what I saw. I couldn't walk any further; there were too many bodies immediately at my feet.—
He hopes to inspire more people to protest and disrupt business as usual."

"I believe in disobedience and uprisings," he said. "When will 500,000 people in this country feel it's necessary to go out in the streets to protest?"

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