Census Worker Death: Time for Calm

My pals at Talkingpointsmemo.com are doing an ace job tracking the death of that Census worker in Kentucky, the one with the word "Fed" written on his chest. The first gruesome details of the case played perfectly into concerns that an antigovernment atmosphere had led to a murder. But Zach Roth notes that the FBI has not determined if it was a homicide and also notes that the marijuana-and-meth trade in that part of the state raises the possibility he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. So everyone should take a deep breath.

If it emerges that it was a murder by someone with a crazed antigovernment agenda, what should we think? I thought it was wrong to blame the Oklahoma City bombing on anybody other than the perpetrators. The idea of collective guilt is a complicated and morally dubious one. Still, every movement should be judged by how it polices its crazies. William F. Buckley shunned the John Birchers, famously. If this was a kind of hate crime--and technically, I guess, it's not a hate crime because feds aren't a protected class--then what follows will be interesting to watch. In the meantime, breathe deep.

Presented by

Matthew Cooper is a managing editor (White House) for National Journal.

The Blacksmith: A Short Film About Art Forged From Metal

"I'm exploiting the maximum of what you can ask a piece of metal to do."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Video

The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

How a Brooklyn tattoo artist popularized the "cattoo"

More in Politics

Just In