A census worker responds:
I work in the field for the Census Bureau in western North Carolina, deep in the mountains. There are certainly meth labs and grow ops in the areas where I've worked, but the greatest fear for my team and myself comes from the angry and the ignorant.
The overwhelming anger is directed straight at the President. No question. Fear and racism at the core that has manifested into anti-government radicalism. We're threatened and intimidated almost daily, just for trying to earn a days pay and uphold the Constitution. I've been called an "employee of president nigger" and team members have been bitten by dogs and threatened with shotguns.
The Glenn Becks and Michelle Bachmans give these nutjobs legitimacy and a voice. They're bringing this madness into the mainstream fold of our society and stoking the flames of misguided fears.
And a former FedEx driver who worked in "extreme northeast Tennessee/southwest Virginia - same cultural heritage as these Kentucky and North Carolina areas" — was warned on his first day on the job that he might get shot at because the locals didn't know the difference between FedEx and the Federal government. And that was back in 1994.
I agree with this commenter: "If the red-state rednecks in the backwoods are seriously undercounted in the 2010 census, and consequently lose Congressional representation and federal funding, they'll have Bachmann, Beck, and their own stupidity to blame. I'll try not to lose sleep over it."
But I don't want to see them kill or hurt any more innocent people. :-/
ms_daisy_cutter later comments:
if local law enforcement cannot secure the safety of census workers, then census workers should withdraw and count an area as ZERO, with all the consequences that entails. They used to do that in inner city areas torn by crime and gang strife, they should do it again here.
If your views are in such a minority in this country that the only way you think you can get what you want is through terrorism (and what happened to Sparkman was terrorism, plain and simple), then maybe what you really need is to put down the weapons and check yourself into the psych ward.