On May 21, Lancaster County Judge Louis Farina told Norman Edgar Lowry, Jr. that unless he would forswear his nonviolent protest, the court would be obliged to impose the maximum sentence for Lowry’s third consecutive arrest at an Armed Forces Recruiting Station in Lancaster.
If only he would make such a promise, the judge implied, his sentence would be much lighter. Did he understand?, the court asked. Yes, Lowry answered. Will you make the pledge? No.
Asked if he had anything more to say before being sentenced, Lowry presented a written statement and was invited to read it.
Lowry told the court that he utterly rejected the “obvious tyranny of unconstitutional wars, fought on the public credit card,” and explained that to cease his “seemingly small ‘no’ to our society’s love of extreme violence, racism, bigotry and poverty-production … would be to dishonor our creator and all of mankind. I have not and will not change my mind!”
He went on to talk about the eight and one-half months he’d spent in the Lancaster County Prison since his arrest last August.
“Often, including by the court,” he explained, “I have been told that I could achieve so much more on the outside of prison. Yet I have nothing to prove! ‘To say no to evil is perfect revolution.’ (Gandhi) Investing my life in prison, with those who are enslaved there (among the many more we enslave worldwide), makes more sense to me than investing my life with the slave-making/owning society outside of prison.”
Norman Lowry, a grandfather who has worked as a chaplain in urban ministry to the homeless and destitute, was first arrested at the station one day in February, 2009, when he began calmly breaking windows on the recruiters’ vehicles. He refused bail and served seven months in jail, then returned to the office in January, 2010 to try and talk the soldiers out of their jobs collecting human fodder. When he refused to leave, he was arrested. Lowry again refused to post bail, was convicted of trespass and violating probation, and served nearly 18 months in jail. Last August 1, he visited the recruiter’s office again, blocked the door, and was arrested there for the third time.
Farina imposed a one-to-seven year sentence, with the condition of parole being Lowry’s promise not to block the entrance of any armed forces recruiting station.
Letters of support may be sent to Norman Edgar Lowry, Jr. 11-3659, Lancaster County Prison, Drawer-C, 625 East King St., Lancaster, PA 17602-3199. However, transfer to a state prison could come at any time. Letters to Lowry sent c/o the Nuclear Resister will be forwarded when his transfer is confirmed.
Norman Edgar Lowry, Jr,’s statement to Judge Louis Farina, Lancaster Co. PA court, May 21, 2012
DON’T CRY FOR ME . . .
by Norm Lowry
“The only thing certain in times of great uncertainty is that people will behave with great strength or weakness, and with very little in between.”—Amy Tan
Again today, it is my honor to invest a few moments with you, as you sentence me for my choice to trespass on property used by the United States military recruiters of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. As I sat, purposefully blocking their prime entryway, I was simply and pointedly saying my conscience-based and seemingly small “no” to our society’s love of extreme violence, racism, bigotry and poverty-production. It is my ever-increasing love for our creator and for my fellow man that fuels and drives my choices.
The court has asked me to consider that my choices to destroy military property or to trespass will not be further tolerated in my protests; that this time or next, I will receive the maximum allowable sentence, which is 3-7 years for my current offense. I have respectfully reminded the court that I cannot in good conscience agree to this request for consideration, as to do so would be to dishonor our creator and all of mankind. I have not and will not change my mind!
It seems quite absurd to me to think that I am being asked by a society that supposes itself to be free and peace-loving, to cease breaking laws that cover up and protect the obvious tyranny of unconstitutional wars, fought on the public credit card; unrestricted, worldwide usage of overwhelming force, overly excessive military spending; fiscal, military and political policies and sanctions that genocide mostly untold millions yearly; continued usage of nuclear weaponry and the nuclear threat; corrupt justice and prison systems, fueled by laws that demonize the blue collar offender (who commits 20% of U.S. crime, yet fills 80%+ of U.S. jail/prison beds) while purposefully ignoring the white collar offender (who commits 80%+ of U.S. crime, yet fills less than 20% of U.S. jail/prison beds); etc.
It has been my continuing honor to invest more than 80% of my time, since April 16, 2009, in the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, prison with those of whom I am most fond: the abused, marginalized, oppressed and unwanted. Prison is most assuredly a sewer and a privately constructed hell for those whom society would like to forget. For me, it has also been a place where I have received threats of beatings and death (from guards and their supervisors), for confronting unprovoked issues of violence, racism and bigotry against my fellow inmates. Interestingly enough, the warden, new assistant warden and representatives of both the Pennsylvania Prison Society and Justice and Mercy, Inc. (sent to me) have chosen not to question the 20-40 inmates witnesses to each event.
Often, including by the court, I have been told that I could achieve so much more on the outside of prison. Yet I have nothing to prove! “To say no to evil is perfect revolution.” (Gandhi) Investing my life in prison, with those who are enslaved there (among the many more we enslave worldwide), makes more sense to me than investing my life with the slave-making/owning society outside of prison.
Our creator—my redeemer and life’s great love, teaches that “the one desiring to be greatest will be the greatest servant; that the one desiring the most power will give all power away, as it is given!” I have purposefully chosen my lot in life; I am where I wish to be and with whom I most desire to be! I am an utterly fulfilled man, living out our creator’s destiny for me! Don’t cry for me . . .
As I cannot in good conscience follow the governing authority of the land into sin, by ceasing to include purposeful acts of civil disobedience against tyranny-protecting laws and practices, in my protestations, I will gladly accept and max-out today’s chosen sentence.
Our loving creator continues to plead with America for heart and life change! Barring this, his next attention-getters will be fiscal collapse, massive civil unrest and utter destruction. Our creator always desires the best, yet will allow our choices to bring their consequences.
May you and your precious ones be greatly blessed!
(Signed) Norman E. Lowry, Jr.