Palo Alto Man Arrested on Felony Vandalism Charge for Protesting Lockheed Martin Weapon Sales

Bryce Druzin said he’s followed news of the U.S.-backed Saudi war in Yemen with increasing dismay over the years. But last weekend, he felt compelled to express his horror over the humanitarian crisis unfolding 9,000 miles away by risking arrest.

The 34-year-old South Bay native marched in broad daylight Saturday to Lockheed Martin’s Palo Alto offices and spray-painted the word “Yemen” in blood-red letters over the defense contractor’s signs to protest its weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.

At the base of some stairs leading to the main entrance, he scrawled “8-9-18,” the date when a Saudi-led coalition dropped a 500-pound, laser-guided Lockheed Martin-made MK 82 bomb on a school bus, killing 44 children.

Druzin then called Palo Alto police and waited outside the Hanover Street facility for them to take him into custody. Authorities booked him in jail on a charge of felony vandalism, releasing him the next morning on his own recognizance.

In an email to San Jose Inside and other news outlets Sunday, Druzin—a former Silicon Valley Business Journal reporter turned “9-to-5 cubicle guy” by day and standup comedian by night—described his civil disobedience as partly a response to President Trump’s veto of bipartisan legislation to end U.S. involvement in the Yemen war.

Bryce Druzin.

By targeting Lockheed Martin and amplifying his protest online, Druzin said he wanted to call attention to the weapon maker’s willingness to cozy up to the likes of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who visited the company’s Sunnyvale campus last spring.

Druzen cited Congressman Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) as an inspiration for his protest. Khanna expended tremendous political capital to lead a rare bipartisan coalition of progressive and conservative lawmakers to pass the War Powers Resolution through Congress, which aimed to claw back combat-approving authority from the president.

GOP pols who backed the anti-war resolution deserve credit, too, Druzin added, particularly Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who last fall delivered “the most profound,” anti-war speech “just oozing with humanity.”

Hopefully, Druzin said, his direct action inspires students at nearby Palo Alto High and Stanford University to walk out on a school day to protest Lockheed Martin for continuing to profit off of the brutal warfare in Yemen.

America bans arms sales to countries that use them to illegally kill civilians in conflicts, but the U.S. State Department has a weak record of enforcing those laws. Lockheed Martin—the world’s largest defense contractor, with 97,000 employees and business in 70 countries—came out as the biggest beneficiary of a $110 billion Saudi arms deal struck in 2017, according to Defense News.

A report issued by anti-war NGO Code Pink noted how Lockheed Martin executives like Ronald Perrilloux Jr., a former U.S. military attache to Saudi Arabia, have repeatedly tried to minimize the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Perrilloux has participated in public events to boost the war effort and defend Saudi Arabia and its allies, saying the U.S. should “help them finish the job” in Yemen.

Druzin told San Jose Inside that he believes a company with such wanton disregard for human life should have no place in his community.

“I grew up in Palo Alto, and it’s just embarrassing to have this company in my hometown,” he explained in an impassioned phone interview Monday. “We should all be embarrassed. I mean, if we have a neighbor who helped kill tens of thousands of people, I wouldn’t want them in our neighborhood.”

Authorities say Bryce Druzin caused at least $400 in property damage.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

16 Comments

  1. This guy has balls, good for him. One, for speaking truth to power, and two, for calling himself in. Hope that DA Rosen simply chooses to drop the case. Lord knows, Lockheed’s got plenty of blood money to pay the cleaning bill.

  2. Palo Alto Man Arrested for Protesting Lockheed Martin

    The 34-year-old South Bay native marched in broad daylight Saturday to Lockheed Martin’s Palo Alto offices and spray-painted the word “Yemen” in blood-red letters over the defense contractor’s signs to protest its weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.

    https://knowyourmeme.com/photos/1431201-surprised-pikachu

    @Jen, when can we post GIF’s?

      • Looking at your page source the CSS points towards a wordpress template. Looks like you guys moved off expressionengine.

        https://github.com/WordPress/WordPress/blob/master/wp-includes/class-wp-embed.php

        That’s the code responsible for turning a URL into a post. Fam is coming home in a few, we shall feast on some tasty mexican food so this post might get truncated really quick but..

        class WP_Embed {
        public $handlers = array();

        I think $handlers is a configuration array of allowable embedded media. Probably configured somewhere in the WP admin. Kids just walked through the door, time to eat. I’ll bug you later, tell you what to tell your site admin. Anyways, memes are a huge part of the internet now, I don’t see what the issue is since we can embed youtube links and wp-embed displays the video in the post.

  3. I agree with the man’s sentiment, I’m on the fence about whether his actions made sense, but I can see he’s earnest.

    What I *hate* is the hypocrisy of those that agree that we shouldn’t arm the Saudis, but supported Hillary’s completely voluntary bombing and destruction of Libya !

    “We came, we saw, he died”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgcd1ghag5Y

    500,000 Libyans died in the aftermath. And now there are open air slave markets in Libya.
    We helped NOTHING by destroying their country, except HRC’s chances of getting elected by appearing “strong”.

    Don’t believe me? She made extensive notes of how this was her doing so she would get credit. That is, of course, until it all went to hell; Americans found out about this through her emails (to JP) via wikileaks. Search for “libya tick tock”.

    • And so was that creepy old child molester that’s now on megans list. What’s your point? BTW, why are you whispering?

  4. The United States has already normalized war crimes. We have a very violent foreign policy. All that guy used was a can of paint.

  5. I totally support Bryce Druzin and his call out of Lockheed Martin. Does he have a hearing scheduled? I love to show up in support of what he did. Or should we write to DA Rosen in his defense?

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