Audio of Police Interview

1601 Pennsylvania Avenue
POB 27217
Washington DC 20038

Anti-nuclear squirrel activists lay siege to "President's Park." They have enlisted the assistance of human activists to help them with their dilemma.

Squirrels once roamed the Great Forest that spread from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico. Now they are confined to smaller sections of forest or patches of woods where clear-cutting and other intrusions of human civilization don't threaten their very existence.

This fact, coupled with a fierce sense of survival prompted the squirrels to act. A small group of focused squirrels have teamed with the anti-nuclear activists currently occupying an 18-year round-the-clock vigil in Peace (Lafayette) Park, to advise them how to best get their message to the powers responsible for destroying their habitat. This proved to be the really tricky part.


Squirrels are not really considered capable of articulating well with humans, seeing how they are "just" lower life forms. Despite this supposed disadvantage they were determined to be heard.

One day long ago (relatively speaking), a new anti-nuclear vigiler was reading scripture while sitting in the park, and read a passage about a messenger named Timothy who would be arriving soon. As he read on, a large gray squirrel walked up onto his lap and a beautiful relationship was born. Over the next few months Timothy brought other squirrels, Jack, Hannibal, Dancer and Ninja, to meet the human activist and relay their concerns about their problems, and discover what could be done.

Beginning to understand the culture of the squirrels was quite an eye-opener for their human counterparts as more of their individual personalities became apparent. Some squirrels were more trusting than others, climbing on your lap and allowing themselves to be petted as they ate. Others maintained their wild nature by keeping their distance or getting aggressive if the human would get out of line.

As gathers, the squirrels' lifestyle is pretty basic; find food, build a nest, make more squirrels, don't get eaten by the hawk. All other activities seem to focus around these basic concepts, which leaves a lot of time to play.

As ambassadors of furry and cute, the squirrels are the real number one attraction in the park, and they know it… often posing for photos by the many tourists from around the world, or climbing over the humans that they feel are worthy of their attention…always putting on a show as well as keeping themselves ready and alert in their hostile environment.

While the overall situation for humans and others deteriorates, the bond between squirrels and activist strengthened. It was time to take things to a new level.


Enter Juan Quixote. His philosophy: Acorns are okay, but peanuts are junk food, even to city squirrels. Things started to change. "Squirreling," would never be the same!!

A normal peanut usually looks like an overweight solid figure eight. Starting with a short string, perfect for tying a around the peanut's center, "squirreling" was born. Squirreling not only provided a method for training the squirrels in anti-nuclear activism, but after some research and development also provided a unique message delivery system.

The first encounter turned into a tug-of-war with a squirrel who wasn't about to let go of its reluctant peanut. The three foot string provided a good tug. Sometimes a squirrel would grab the nut and take off only to lose it as soon as the string reached its end. They would sit there momentarily, wondering where the nut went. But the squirrels quickly figured out efficient ways to remove the peanut. The most effective, clamping on or locking down with their back legs while biting the peanut in the center and pulling the ends, split the peanut in half. Scooping up both halves, the squirrel would scurry off to enjoy its spoil.

Upgrading to a longer string provided much more versatility and expanded the training. Coupled with the tug-of-war, an aerial aspect was added to the training. This was done in two ways, suspension and freestyle. Suspension required running the string across the sidewalk, over a rope fence, and leaving the peanut just off the ground. When a squirrel grabbed the peanut, a little tug set the grab and Dangling Squirrel would happen. Some were more efficient than others, but each one got its peanut. Freestyle was more diverse, ranging from the basic dangling, through things like Tarzan-like swings from human to human, or growling fur-ball in the open hand.

As with all movements, not all squirrels cared to participate in training, as some were more inclined to get fat at the buffet, and ham for the tourists. But as the humans need to learn, other critters' presence on this planet directly relates to humans blowing themselves up. It seems to many that disarming might be a good idea and overcoming differences to communicate about these situations is essential.

It was now message time. First attempt was with an anti-nuclear button on a string with a peanut tied to the other end. Just like the Wright Brothers, it didn't go far but it did open the door to the next critical step. It also drew a comment from one Park policeman, made during an aerial session with the squirrels, asking the vigilers how they would like it if he was to tie a baloney sandwich on a string, a non sequitur, possibly referring to McKenna's Wagon, a daily soup and sandwich service for the street people.

This was the first volley from the Other Side. It also brought an end to the day's training sessions. But some police officers had different opinions, and armed with ambiguity, "The game was afoot."


After some serious brainstorming came the final creative step. Going to the magic shop, the humans got some really long balloons, the kind magicians twist to make animals. While the squirrels helped themselves to an acorn buffet, several humans tried to blow up the balloons. This proved to be quite a task, but shortly the balloons were ready to assemble. A short string was tied to the balloon on one end, on the other a peanut. Markers were then used to add the messages of "NUTS NOT NUKES" and "Squirrels for PEACE."

The first day went kind of slow. Being a nice fall day a lot of people were in the park; that meant a minimum of players. The squirrels who had decided not to play didn't think much of the idea and rejected the peanut once they sniffed the string, but as luck would have it, some took to the task at hand.

Most of the squirrels either frantically scampered into the park, where they would either lose the balloon or it would pop, or they would head directly up the closest tree. A huge Elm tree, next to the vigil signs, became adorned with the colorful balloons, some in the high branches, others adorning the branchless 35-foot trunk; the message started to spread. Everybody really seemed to have a good time, people laughed, pictures were taken and memories were born. More importantly the word about the need to disarm and learn to get along was spread throughout the world, without any negative feed-back from the park police!! And the squirrel got its peanut.

The next day there were fewer volunteers but the effects were fairly similar, except for one park policeman, who assumed we were just goofing off. On two separate occasions that day, the policeman took the activists' balloons and broke them. He never read them, he just asked the activists if they didn't have anything better to do. The activists asked if there wasn't something better for the officer to be doing. Undeterred, the officer then said not to give any more peanuts to the squirrels, but didn't say anything about the balloons already assembled.

The activist left the balloons in the acorn buffet, hoping one would get across the street. We are talking about eliminating the threat of destroying life in our own biosphere, a subject a lot of people feel is very relevant. He complied with the officer's order not to give the squirrels more peanuts; however, another activist, learning of the dilemma, took a couple of balloons to the western side of the park.

Squirrel Activism

There the squirrels took the game up a notch. Taking a balloon at the far side of the park, one brave squirrel ran around the area to the west, over to our eastern side of the park, made a couple of evasive maneuvers, then ran straight for the White House yard, cleared the fence and stopped. He then continued through the yard and as he started up a big tree the string caught on the bark and the squirrel dropped the balloon. Soon a "yard ninja" appeared and retrieved the balloon. The same officer that warned about the peanuts then walked over to the other activist, broke his balloons and gave him a message to relay: No more balloons or suffer ticketing and/or arrest. The balloonists took the rest of the day off. Watching the first of many balloons to make the journey across the street capped a great day, and displayed the squirrels' willingness to act as messengers.

A week or so later, out of balloons, the training went back to string practice, considering the relevance of squirrel and vigiler activism. Walking by the Magic Shop on the way to the park, the activist bought more balloons. After all, it was Halloween weekend. The balloons were labeled "natural latex" and marked completely bio-degradable, unlike the nuclear waste produced by all of our weapons of mass destruction.

A beautiful weekend. The crowd kept the squirreling to a minimum; although several squirrels did grab balloons, most broke, but a few made it to nearby trees and across the street. One in particular: while talking to a visiting German family, the activist's conversation turned to the balloons sitting in the buffet, waiting for their squirrel. As the vigiler explained the process, a squirrel showed up; standing on his hind legs, he acted anxious to play. The little girl held out a balloon with the peanut on the string. Immediately the squirrel grabbed the peanut and with balloon in tow ran directly toward the White House. Just as the squirrel went through the fence the balloon popped. The little girl took a very happy memory of her Washington DC visit home....complete with pictures.

On Sunday the park was busy all day and squirrel activity was at a minimum. During the afternoon a film crew started a shoot in front of the White House, a lot of activity and noise. The movie was about the Cuban missile crisis and the staged scene was a protest march. The vigiler asked for one squirrel to volunteer to take a balloon through the shot. As luck would have it, the candidate didn't get there till after the cameras stopped rolling. Still it was a valiant effort, right through the middle of the "set," through the fence, and into the yard. Unfortunately, the balloon broke as the squirrel ran center stage toward the big fountain in the middle of the yard.

Squirrels and humans still need to work on their timing, but most people surveyed about the idea thought it was a very effective way to deliver the message.

Late in the afternoon, after returning from a recruiting mission to another part of the park, the vigiler was again pulled over by a member of the park police. This time the officer's excuse was a report of people tying objects to the squirrels. Observing the absurdity of the officer's explanation of the events and his alleged concern for the squirrels' safety (seeing how one squirrel was lying in the road, roadkill from police-car zoomings?), the vigilers simply complied with the officer's order not to give any more balloons to the squirrels that evening.

When taking on an opponent that completely controls all aspects of the event, the only chance one has is persistence. Survival of life that we have grown used to is being seriously threatened by the very forces we count on to provide for our safety. The proliferation of the war machine is way out of hand and the enforcement of petty laws to protect its voracious appetite are undermining the very fabric of all that has been accomplished till now. With that in mind the squirreling must go on.

Regulatory Crackdown

The next day dawned bright. By now several people were helping with the project, blowing up balloons, writing messages on them, and stringing the peanuts. Once these were ready all we needed were some volunteers. Then, the fateful journey, a squirrel grabbed a balloon and was off and running. Running towards Concepcion's signs, he stopped long enough to get her to notice and try to get the balloon, but as soon as she got close he took off again. He continued down the sidewalk then cut left and across the street right in front of the officer sitting on his motorcycle, up onto the sidewalk and through the White House fence. The balloon caught on the fence and the squirrel lost the peanut. This prompted the officer to get off the bike and start to retrieve the balloon; just as he crossed the sidewalk, the squirrel returned for the peanut and the balloon disappeared through the fence. In the yard another squirrel appeared and chased the messenger back outside the fence, who weaved down the fence-line still dragging the balloon; finally, re-entering the yard, the balloon broke.

Shortly the officer came over to the signs and informed the humans not to tie any more peanuts to balloons. A difference of opinion ensued as to the relevance of the participation of the squirrels in activism. The officer then stated that the actions of the squirrel could be a threat to national security, and stated a concern for the safety of the squirrels and littering. The humans complied with the officer's order not to tie anything else to the peanuts. He didn't say anything about the balloons already assembled. After a couple more balloons were grabbed by squirrels the officer returned and made the humans disarm the rest of the balloons. He also became quite demeaning about the vigilers' lifestyle, telling them they had no life and that they were losers. He also elaborated on his possessions and financial addictions as qualities to be desired.

The vigilers disagreed but complied with the officer's order. Soon another officer came by to say that the Sergeant would be by to show us the regulation covering the officer's order. A visitor from the west coast covering another demonstration then proceeded to tape an interview with the officer and later an interview with a spokes-being of Squirrels for PEACE. "That would be 36 CFR 2.2, the basic premise of which states no feeding, touching, handling or otherwise interfering with the wildlife" in national parks, the Sergeant advised.

Although Lafayette Park is owned by the U.S. Department of Interior, it's in downtown Washington DC, surrounded by traffic, buildings, and people. Peanuts are traditionally sold on the edge of the park by licensed vendors. Regulations ruling Yosemite and Yellowstone have been called upon twice now to stop creative protests outside the White House. Drummers were temporarily silenced in 1991 by a "60-decibel" rule which the U.S. Court of Appeals later decided didn't apply to downtown D.C. Now, the squirrels are under siege.

As of now squirreling has been suspended, but the squirrels and the activists look for new ways to draw attention to the unjust policies that threaten everybody's existence. As new methods of non-violent non-compliance are researched, we furballs will stay ever vigilant in the pursuit of freedom.


p.s.- as of press time rumors have it that squirreling activities in the park have resumed!! Stop by and find out for yourself....