Excerpts from my statement before being
sentenced to 6 months in prison followed by a 30 month suspended sentence
and 30 months probation.
"Today I am here to be sentenced for my refusal to register for the draft. I am proud to be here and to be standing up for what I believe in.
Essentially, I am here because I believe war is wrong and I am trying to act out that belief in my life. It would be easy for me in this situation to feel like the Judge and the prosecutor and other people who may decide to send me to jail, are in a position where they are supporting war, because I oppose war. But I don't really think that this is true.
I think the reality of our world is that many people in this country and throughout the world find themselves in situations where just by fulfilling what seems to be their lawful duty, their job, that, indeed they are acting in ways which appear to be supporting war and injustice. Sometimes this is subtle, like people who pay income tax to the government and over half of that money is used to build weapons and to support armies.
In other situations it is more clear, like those working in a factory building nuclear weapons, or being in a situation where they are forced to arrest people sitting in front of the Pentagon.
It is difficult for all of us to break out of these ordinary situations in our lives and go beyond what are normally considered proper boundaries. Yet, I think that it is only by breaking out of these boundaries that we can hope to create the changes necessary for a world of peace and justice.
Throughout the process here, [in] the courtroom and outside of it, I have said repeatedly that I am simply an individual person responding to the world around me in ways that seem responsible to me. That's meant that I have broken laws, and now I face punishment for that.
I have seen people respond to my actions in a variety of ways. People have come to the trial often overflowing the courtroom. Others have sent money and letters of support. Not everyone has been supportive. People have written angry letters to the papers, and a jury of twelve people found me guilty.
However, it has become very clear to me that I am not here alone; and one strong expression of this is the, "Trial Solidarity Statement", which was signed by over twenty-five hundred people, and I would like to read it, read the statement into evidence, and ask that anyone who is here who's signed the statement to please stand up while I read it.
`The case of the United States against Andy Mager is also the case of the United States against each of us and against many others who are not here today. We are Andy's friends, family, and neighbors. His indictment is also an indictment of our work, of our beliefs, and of our feelings against registration, the draft, militarism, and war.
We are here with Andy to answer your charges against us. For us to be here and to make this statement is for us to support, aid, and abet Andy, as unindicted co-defendants. We ask, if you convict Andy Mager, that you convict all of us, that you imprison all of us, or none of us.'
With that, I would introduce these twenty-six hundred signatures into evidence."
"In closing, I simply want to say that I don't feel that I have done anything wrong, or that I deserve to have been punished for my actions, for my beliefs.
Of the eight men who have previously been convicted of refusing to register, they have received sentences ranging from a year of probation to two and-a-half years in jail. None of the Judges in these cases felt moved to go beyond what are considered the normal boundaries and give no sentence at all, and I would ask both Judge Munson today, and also Ms. Ryan Conan, who is here for Mr. Pavone, as well as everyone else here today to think about what I have said about breaking out of these normal boundaries of your lives. There are ways that we can all begin to do it, and it's never too soon to start or too late to start."