Six month prison sentence for line crossing at Offutt Air Force Base

Jerry Ebner released from base . .On July 25, Jerry Ebner was sentenced to 6 months in prison.  Ebner crossed the line at Offutt Air Force Base, home of STRATCOM, on December 28, 2012 during the 34th annual Feast of the Holy Innocents witness.

He will be allowed to self surrender at a federal prison to be assigned to him in a month or so.

Court Statement of Jerry Ebner at sentencing before Judge Thomas Thalken , U.S. Federal Court Omaha, NE  July 25, 2013

These are some scattered thoughts for today’s events and
certainly NOT a literary essay. I apologize ahead of time if I am not
brief enough. It is my hope that after these scattered thoughts we
could have a conversation back and forth about the points that I

My task this morning is to tell you some information about me,
that is NOT in the pre sentence report before you. I want to tell you
about the nonviolent, non criminal action of civil disobedience that I
participated in on Dec 28, 2012 at Stratcom at Offutt AFB.

I’d like to show this banner, if I could have some help from a
innocent, Stratcom would kill the world, Celebrate Christmas and close

I am an ordinary Catholic Christian who takes my faith in the
radical, nonviolent Jesus of Nazareth, pretty seriously. I have since
I was 21 years old. I am no saint. I struggle a lot with being

Dec 28th is the Catholic Feast day of the Holy Innocents. It is
an often forgotten and misunderstood and left out part of the
Christmas story and celebrations and feasts. It is the story  of the
massacre of all of the male children by order of Herod the emperor and
his brutal military, in support of the Roman Empire.  IT IS NOT a
“Happy or Merry Christmas  Story”. No carols or songs have been
written about this event. That is why it has been forgotten. So that
Is why I and my friends come to Offutt AFB, that is: to remember and
not forget  that part of the Christmas story .

(Jerry reads Matthew  2: 13-18)

This is NOT a fairy tale story, or something old to be dismissed,
rather it is a more historical and metaphorical story meaningful for
the world we live in today. Metaphors can teach us something, if we
take the time to pay close attention to them.  In the real world there
are many empires wanting to kill others: Children, women and men, to
support it’s own violence, militarism and domination around the world.

Rachel in the previous story is still crying out loud, around the
world today. She is crying out loud in Iraq, Vietnam, Hiroshima,
Nagasaki, Germany, Afghanistan, Palestine, and many other places of
violence and death.  DO WE HEAR HER CRYING?

I  have heard this cry. I have tried not to at times. It haunts
me. I prefer distractions. But her crying helps me to wake up and be
alert and aware of the  military violence of my own country, the US

The US is the largest military empire in the world. And it is the
one I am most concerned about because I am an American. I am a
taxpayer. I am responsible for this Empire’s growth. I have paid for
these wars, weapons and violence with my paycheck. I am complicit.
Rachel continues to cry. I continue to do penance for our War Crimes.

I do that by taking a risk, risking ridicule and dismissiveness in
court and sometimes going to jail, as penance for my sin. That is who
I am. And this is what I do.

Judge Thalken what do you do for your penance for your complicity
in US War Crimes because of the building and use of military weapons
at Stratcom, OFFUT AFB?

MY walking over an imaginary line and refusing to leave the base
is hardly a crime. Rachel is not crying because of my crimes here
today. She is crying because of the many War crimes that this court
has allowed and supported for many years . The crimes she cries for
are the only one that concern me.

My vocation as a follower of Jesus is to “ Comfort the afflicted
and to afflict the comfortable”.  So now I turn to you Judge Thalken
and afflict your comfort level to some degree.

This is 2013. The 30th Anniversary of the  US Catholic Bishops
Peace Pastoral Letter called  “ The Challenge of Peace” It has a lot
challenging ideas for the comfortable, regarding nuclear weapons and
communications systems of nuclear weapons that are in our back yard,
and that you and I are responsible for .

PERHAPS: as a fellow Catholic you do remember this Pastoral letter
in your Catholic Education at Mt. Michael Abbey School and Creighton

PERHAPS: You  do remember  the International Law that was a small
part of your curriculum at Creighton University?  IF NOT: I suggest
that you take an hour recess and Google the name Ramsey Clark and
International RE: Nuclear Weapons. Ramsey Clark is an Internationally
known expert and the former  US Attorney General.

PERHAPS: You might think that your only task is to narrowly uphold
the US Code of Law in this petty little case and to put your own
Christian Faith and Conscience aside. I hope that is a PERHAPS NOT.

On another note:  I am incorrigible. I am not sorry for what I have
done. I will do it again at some time. I can only be punished.  I
expect a prison sentence from you today. I have been in prison before,
Over 3 years. I am honored to go again. I cannot be deterred.

Regarding my conscience and sentencing options. I cannot accept a
fine, nor any kind of probation. I’d rather do time in prison. I do
have some health problems with heart arrhythmias and I carry a
pacemaker and difibulator given to me after a heart attack 2 years
ago. I have had to retire from the work of offering hospitality to
homeless men at the Omaha Catholic Worker in June 2012. I have a whole
list of meds that I am required to take. I presently live on Social
Security Disability and receive $750 a month.

Let me be clear. I am not asking for mercy because of my health. If
you are concerned about my health , ask the  BOP to send me to
Rochester Federal Medical Center. I have been there before . It is a
fine hospital, and I will do well. Otherwise I ask that you find me
not guilty and dismiss the case immediately

It is now that I would like the conversation to begin. I would like
to hear from you: what you think about the radical Jesus’ teachings
that we have been given. How we are to live out our Catholic Faith in
a violent world next to Stratcom at OFFUT AFB, and about the relevancy
of international law related to nuclear weapons.

Read “Offutt peace protester gets 6 months” by Jay Withrow, World-Herald
July 25, 2013 here.