June 8, 2023

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Missourian: “Peace Activist Cited for Disturbing the Peace”

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In his quest for peace, Steve Jacobs decided to serenade those gathered for a Memorial Day event with anti-war songs played through loud speakers.

Although not known for its sense of humor, the Columbia Missourian wins the Sentinel’s best Memorial Day headline award for this gem of ironic concision, “Peace Activist Cited for Disturbing the Peace.”

The tale that reporter Monique Woo tells is, unfortunately, not as cute as the headline. It involves a certain Steve Jacobs, a “peace activist” and co-founder of the St. Francis House in Columbia, an organization whose mission is a worthy one, feeding and housing the homeless. If Jacobs’s judgment is suspect, there is no doubting his dedication to the cause, whatever exactly that cause is.

Jacobs began his career as “peace activist” some forty years ago. Upon discharge from the U.S. Navy–he worked in a Naval hospital–Jacobs netted his first arrest for protesting nuclear weapons at the Pentagon. Other arrests would follow.

His career arguably peaked in the late 1990s when he was arrested in successive years for trespassing at the School of the Americas at Fort Benning in Georgia. The second time around, Jacobs was sentenced to a year at the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth in its minimum-security camp.

Jacobs made the news again in 2008 when his then wife Lana Jacobs was accused of misspending $40,000 from the kitty of the St. Francis House and abandoning ship. Although Jacobs has shown up at any number of protests since, the seriousness of his mission seems to be in decline. The events leading to this citation would seem to suggest as much.

The St. Francis House faces R. Marvin Owens field in Columbia, the sight of a Memorial Day Salute to the Nation. As the crowd gathered for the ceremony, Jacobs decided to serenade them with anti-war songs played through loud speakers at the St. Francis House. He and his allies also posted anti-war signs were outside St. Francis House.

On their third visit to the house, the Columbia police cited the still stubborn Jacobs with disturbing the peace. Jacobs claimed he was going to turn the speakers off before the actual ceremony to let those memorializing the dead “have their moment.”

Jacobs is looking at a June court date. It is a tribute to the civility of those in attendance at the Memorial Day event that he will be heathy enough to attend.

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