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Friday, September 25, 2009

A Census Worker Reports From the Field

A commenter responds to my Inner Frenchman's post on Bill Sparkman's murder:
I work in the field for the Census Bureau in western North Carolina, deep in the mountains. There are certainly meth labs and grow ops in the areas where I've worked, but the greatest fear for my team and myself comes from the angry and the ignorant.

The overwhelming anger is directed straight at the President. No question. Fear and racism at the core that has manifested into anti-government radicalism. We're threatened and intimidated almost daily, just for trying to earn a days pay and uphold the Constitution. I've been called an "employee of president nigger" and team members have been bitten by dogs and threatened with shotguns.

The Glenn Becks and Michelle Bachmans give these nutjobs legitimacy and a voice. They're bringing this madness into the mainstream fold of our society and stoking the flames of misguided fears.

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  1. In all seriousness (rare on this blog), I admire your courage, your sense of professionalism and your patriotism.

    Thank you for what you do. Stay safe, blessings to you and your co-workers.

  2. If the red-state rednecks in the backwoods are seriously undercounted in the 2010 census, and consequently lose Congressional representation and federal funding, they'll have Bachmann, Beck, and their own stupidity to blame. I'll try not to lose sleep over it.

  3. Amen, jcricket and Buttermilk. Well said.

  4. To my colleague (I was an enumerator back in '80):

    I hope you can get local radio and TV stations, as well as the local newspapers to run stories why you're out there -- to do nothing but count the people, and that the info they gather is kept secret for *72 years*!

    If they want their police and fire department to get the federal funds they need, or to have safe local, state, and federal roads, their paranoia is to blame.

  5. I used to work as a FedEx driver in extreme northeast Tennessee/southwest Virginia - same cultural heritage as these Kentucky and North Carolina areas. I was warned on my first day of work that in the more rural areas, people will shoot at you because they don't understand that Federal Express is not the Federal government.

    Of course, this was in 1994. So what I'm saying is, these people have always been homicidal xenophobes.

  6. If a DEA agent found somebody's illegal crop or lab, wouldn't it be much safer for the grower if that agent just disappeared? If an agent just doesn't come back, it would be much more difficult to establish what, if any, crime even happened and IMHO the message to the agency would still be loud and clear.
    I think that leaving a body hanging for all the world to see is an act of terrorism, the cultural equivalent of distributing videos of heads being cut off in the Mid-East. Hanging in our culture and beheading in the Mid-East are traditional forms of execution that seem to imply moral authority for the murderers.

  7. bodicaiah t rentlord III:

    As someone pointed out on another post; one of the surest ways to generate a shitstorm of federalishness is to kill one of their employees.


We'll try dumping haloscan and see how it works.