A grisly crime from a bygone era…or so we thought

This tragedy is really shocking, both for its savagery and the way it seems to confirm every cliché about American politics and culture in the book.

Census Worker Hanged with "Fed" on Body – CBS News

A U.S. Census worker found hanged from a tree near a Kentucky cemetery had the word "fed" scrawled on his chest, a law enforcement official said Wednesday, and the FBI is investigating whether he was a victim of anti-government sentiment.

[…] He was found Sept. 12 in a remote patch of the Daniel Boone National Forest in rural southeast Kentucky.

In terms of psychological and popcultural resonance, this is akin to a missionary getting cooked in pot in Africa (though I think the last record case of such cannibalism was in Irian Jaya in the 1960s). And it's just as explosive politically.

First the Oklahoma City bombing (or the "Murrah Building bombing", as they call it here in OK) by a rightwing anti-government militia in 1995, and now this.  I have to say it: This is what you eventually get when you demonize government for a generation. No one in the government-is-evil cottage industry (a de facto corporate lobby, really) would obviously advocate such a crime, but they certainly make it a lot easier for such irrational hatred and conspiratorial lunacy to develop among those so inclined.

Poor man. The guy was just doing his damn job, not to mention providing a service that's ultimately to the benefit of these rural communities (which get undercounted in the census and denied the resources and political pull they deserve as a result).

I don't mean to make light of the crime, but this could be the worst thing for Southern PR since "Deliverance". Not that it'll probably make a huge practical difference these days, given how so much economic and political power has shifted southward over the last 2 generations.

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