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Posts Tagged ‘Hate Crimes’

ROGER ALFORD and JEFFREY McMURRAY | 09/25/09 11:26 PM | AP

BIG CREEK, Ky. — A part-time census worker found hanging in a rural Kentucky cemetery was naked, gagged and had his hands and feet bound with duct tape, said an Ohio man who discovered the body two weeks ago.

The word “fed” was written in felt-tip pen on 51-year-old Bill Sparkman’s chest, but authorities have released very few other details in the case, such as whether they think it was an accident, suicide or homicide.

Jerry Weaver of Fairfield, Ohio, told The Associated Press on Friday that he was certain from the gruesome scene that someone killed Sparkman.

“He was murdered,” Weaver said. “There’s no doubt.”

Weaver said he was in the rural Kentucky county for a family reunion and was visiting some family graves at the cemetery on Sept. 12 along with his wife and daughter when they saw the body.

“The only thing he had on was a pair of socks,” Weaver said. “And they had duct-taped his hands, his wrists. He had duct tape over his eyes, and they gagged him with a red rag or something.”

Two people briefed on the investigation said various details of Weaver’s account matched the details of the crime scene, though both people said they were not informed who found the body. The two spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case.

“And they even had duct tape around his neck,” Weaver said. “And they had like his identification tag on his neck. They had it duct-taped to the side of his neck, on the right side, almost on his right shoulder.”

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Flashback: Bachmann Spread Fears Of Scary Stalking Census Workers

Think Progress- By Faiz Shakir on Sep 25th, 2009 at 11:27 pm

Bill Sparkman, the 51-year old Census worker who was hanged to death in Kentucky, was found “naked, gagged and had his hands and feet bound with duct tape.” A witness reports Sparkman also “had duct tape over his eyes, and they gagged him with a red rag or something.” The word “fed” was scrawled on his chest in a felt-tip pen, and his “Census ID was found taped to his head and shoulder area.”

The gruesome lynching of this Census worker seems to bear a disturbing similarity to some of the worst hate crimes committed across this country. Regardless of what the motive for the killing may have been, why would a murderer(s) take such pains to so blatantly convey anger, fear, and vitriol towards a Census employee? Perhaps because some on the right have created an impression that Census employees are terrifying.

Earlier this summer, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) waged a high-profile, wildly-dishonest campaign against the Census. The Minnesota congresswoman said she was so worried about the threat of the government asking “very intricate questions” and collecting information that she would illegally refuse to fill out the form. “They will be in charge of going door to door and collecting data from the American public,” she said. “This is very concerning.” She repeatedly used inflammatory and fear-mongering rhetoric against the Census:

– “I think there is a point when you say enough is enough to government intrusion.” [6/25/09]

– “If we look at American history, between 1942 and 1947, the data that was collected by the census bureau was handed over to the FBI and other organizations, at the request of President Roosevelt, and that’s how the Japanese were rounded up and put into the internment camps.” [6/25/09]

“You will receive approximately six contacts from them [Census workers], either through phone calls or they will knock on your door. If you still do not give them the information, they said they’ll contact your neighbor to the left of you, to the right of you to get information.” [6/25/09]

Bachmann’s irrational diatribes about scary stalking Census workers quickly spawned a right-wing movement. During an interview with Bachmann, Fox News’ Glenn Beck said, “Ok, so let me talk about the Census because there’s a lot of people that are concerned with it because they don’t want to fill it out, they’re not comfortable with ACORN members coming to find out all this information, they don’t want to give the government all this kind of information.”

Conservative radio host Neal Boortz told a caller, “Most of the rest of the [Census] information is designed to help the government steal from you in order to pass off your property to the moochers. They’re looters.” Boortz urged his listeners to resist the Census workers. “If somebody comes to my — if a burglar came to your house, are you going to show him where the silverware is?” he asked. “Maybe you will if he pulls out a gun.”

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During the same historic week in which marriage equality was passed in Maine, the Republicans — the self-proclaimed party of emancipation and “the liberty tree” — attempted to derail hate crimes legislation with some political trickery that succeeded in allowing Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh to accuse the Democrats of protecting pedophiles. Stay with me on this.

Rep. Steve King (R-Batshittia) introduced an amendment to the hate crimes bill calling for the term “sexual orientation” to exclude “pedophiles” even though the bill specifically defines sexual orientation as “consensual homosexuality or heterosexuality.” Pedophelia, as everyone knows, is nonconsensual no matter who engages in it.

Not only was King insinuating the derogatory stereotype that homosexuals are pedophiles, but his amendment would’ve further validated this stereotype by writing it into the legal record. By the way, Joe the Plumber — another very serious leader of the Republican Party — advanced the same stereotype this week when he said that he’d never let his “gay friends” anywhere near his kids. Classy. Nevertheless, King making this kind of distinction is sort of like amending civil rights legislation with: “the term ‘African Americans’ shall not include anyone who rapes white women.” It elevates a stereotype while denying one exists. Pretty slick — in a creepy, sinister kind of way.

Obviously, the point of King’s amendment was neither to help to separate the LGBT community from nonconsensual sexual deviants, nor was it designed to make sure pedophiles weren’t covered under the hate crimes law. King’s intention was absolutely to trick Democrats into voting against the amendment — and they did — thus allowing the Republicans to say that Democrats are with the pedophiles.

So the Republicans are seeking a way out of their current mess by defining the Democrats as the party of pedophilia, even though the GOP’s previous attempts to paint the Democrats as the pro-terrorist, anti-American party failed miserably to prevent landslide Democratic victories in the last two general elections.

But of course King’s stupid amendment trick allowed Sean Hannity to repeat throughout his Tuesday night show things like, “Is it safe to say that Democrats were willing to protect pedophiles?” Limbaugh, meanwhile, remarked that the Democrats are “carving out protection for perverts.” This from a guy who successfully wiggled out of a legal situation involving the possession of prescription E.D. meds (not in his name) during a stag trip to a destination apparently known for sexual tourism.

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