A Census worker was found this week hanged from a tree in rural Eastern Kentucky, dead. Scrawled across Bill Sparkman’s chest was the word “fed”. Given the anti-government atmosphere and the inclination of many to assume this is a rural phenomenon, the crime has some wondering if there was some connection — if Sparkman was killed as an act of anti-government terrorism.
Sparkman wasn’t an outsider. He lived in the area and was active as a substitute teacher and Boy Scout leader. He’d also worked for the Census Bureau since 2003 in a five county region of Eastern Kentucky. The AP quotes Yonder friend Roy Silver, who teaches sociology at a community college in nearby Harlan County as saying he hadn’t noticed any eruption of anti-government feeling. “I don’t think distrust of government is any more or less here than anywhere else in the country,” said Silver.
We have no idea here what happened to Bill Sparkman. We can add, however, that Clay County is known for its vibrant trade in marijuana and general corruption. Last spring, eight Clay County residents were charged with racketeering in a vote buying scandal. In August, law enforcement officials indicted over 50 people for a variety of drug charges. Arrests turned up loads of cash, meth, prescription drugs and marijuana.