by Whet Moser
An AP dispatch about a teacher and census worker who was found hanged with "FED" scrawled on his chest is starting to make the rounds on blogs and Twitter. Given all the heat about 9-12 protests/the census/ACORN people are starting to leap to vague conclusions. I'm going on vacation for a few days so I don't know exactly how it's going to play out, but I think this comment at Pandagon is very smart:
"I’d be wary before jumping to conclusions on this: the Daniel Boone National Forest is a hotbed for pot growers and meth labs and archaeological looters (Harper’s—subscribers only, alas) and there’s a distrust of anyone considered connected to the federal government, including Forest Rangers and local cops."
More: "A story about lawlessness in the park that appeared in Harper's magazine last year reported that attacks and threats against Forest Service employees there have increased more than fivefold in the past decade."
Clay County, Kentucky is a very poor place in a region with a historical distrust of the federal government that's also become a haven for meth cooks and pot growers - including, possibly, Mexican drug cartels (!). That story also notes:
"[David Keller, deputy director at the Appalachian High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force] remembers a time, as recent as the late 1990s, when it wasn’t safe to go into the Daniel Boone National Forest because growers placed traps or had armed workers watching their illegal crops."
In other words: the causes could be very sociopolitically complex, or much simpler than people are starting to suggest. Let the story play out before freaking out.