There is still no hard evidence about how or why a Census Bureau worker was bound with duct tape, killed and then tied to a tree with “FED” written on his chest. The assumption among some is that Bill Sparkman died because he was a federal employee at a time when people hate government. Especially rural people. Dee Davis, publisher of the Daily Yonder, has been quoted as saying rural Kentuckians are independent, but not anarchists. “It’s not like people round here have Rush Limbaugh neck tattoos. There has been a quick assumption people here hate their government,” Davis said. “If you look at the rates of military service, the number of people who have served and died in the Middle East, it shows that is not true.” Another story is that Sparkman happened on a drug making operation (booze, meth or pot).
In the McCreary County Record, Peter S Ferrara responded to a story in a European newspaper about the “land of meth and Moonshine”:
My guess is that Sparkman’s killer, like so many others, will get away with it. I was told long ago by a former Sheriff : “If you want to get away with a crime–kill somebody. If you want to get caught–rob a store.” I’d be surprised if this victim was murdered for being a federal employee. More likely, he stumbled upon a drug or moonshine operation.
What does it say about us that a newspaper in Scotland is running this sad tale under the “Meth and Moonshine” heading, referring to this neck of the deep woods? To me, it’s just one more black eye on a region that already suffers from a lot of negative stereotypes. I have lived in the Daniel Boone National Forest for a pretty long time. The people here may be a proud and isolated bunch, but they are decent and honest and we deserve better. Too many think of this area as a locale for “Deliverance” and home turf of “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
It ain’t so, world. We’re just like everybody else–trying to get through this terrible economic crisis and struggling to make ends meet. Strange as it may sound to some, I think the time has come to stop putting moonshiners in jail. That also goes for non-violent drug users. If for no other reason than it is driving us broke, we need to legalize pot and moonshine so we don’t keep filling our jails and prisons with wacky-weed users and white lightning guzzlers. We’ve already got 2,250,000 folks behind bars–1% of our population!
If moonshine and pot were placed under a federal licensing program and the tax money collected applied to drug education and treatment, we’d all be a lot better off. I wonder when or if we’ll ever see a politician with the guts to stand up and say “Enough!” to this part of the phony, ineffective, and costly “War On Drugs.”