Line-crossing at Offut AFB leads to 6-month sentence for long-time resister

   Jerry Ebner of Omaha joined others in an annual line-crossing onto Offut Air Force Base near Omaha Dec. 28, 2012, and—given his history of civil resistance—on July 25 was sentenced to 6 months in federal prison. TheOmaha World Herald, in a July 25 story (http://www.omaha.com/article/20130725/NEWS/130729274/1694), said the judge issued the sentence even though Ebner, 62, has “heart, kidney, depression and anxiety” issues and takes multiple medications. The story highlighted Ebner’s activism. During decades of civil resistance to U.S. military might, Ebner has spent about three years behind bars.
   Ebner had earlier pleaded guilty to trespass at Offut AFB, home to the Air Force’s 55th Wing, the largest wing in the Air Combat Command. The mission statement for the command says it is “the primary force provider of combat airpower to America’s warfighting commands.”
Ebner refused probation, and the judge refused to uphold Ebner’s stance against the air base. Referring to the annual line-crossing, Ebner told the judge Thursday, “I’m incorrigible. I’m not sorry. I’ll do it again.”
   Of course he will. Consider: a long-time Catholic Worker, he established a CW house in Omaha in 2006 to provide hospitality for six homeless men and to “strive to do the Works of Mercy” (feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless) and oppose “all violence and militarism.” Ebner’s statement in 2006 said Omaha is “home base for ‘Stratcom’ (the U.S. Strategic Command), the Midwest hub and communications system for all land, sea, air and space-based nuclear weapons, at Offutt AFB. We (at the Omaha CW) strive to be a nonviolent presence periodically at the base and respond with active nonviolent civil resistance to the evil present in the weapons systems.” The Dec. 28 resistance date is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, commemorating the young boys ordered killed by King Herod after Christ’s birth.
The CW house in Omaha has closed, partly because of Ebner’s failing health. After the prison system decides where to put him, his works of mercy and his striving against “all violence and militarism” will play out behind bars.
Special Guest Blogger, Jane Stoever, a PeaceWorks, Kansas City, member, volunteers at Holy Family Catholic Worker in KC, Mo.
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