Police: Suicide not ruled out in death of Census worker found hanged

His body was allegedly found with the word “fed” scrawled across the chest, which was all the evidence the nutroots needed to conclude that the right’s long, long-awaited murderous rampage had finally begun. Minor details after the fact: (a) Cops haven’t ruled out suicide, (b) they won’t confirm the “fed” bit, and (c) there were unspecified “errors” in the original AP story.

2) His death has been ruled “asphyxia,” Trosper said in an interview. “There was a rope around his neck. It was attached to a tree,” Trosper continued, adding this intriguing detail: “He was in contact with the ground.”

That raises the possibilty that the cause of death was not hanging. Asked if this were possible, Trosper said: “Nothing is being ruled out.”

3) Trosper said the initial AP story on the death contains “flaws and errors.” That means it’s possible that the AP’s claim, based on an anonymous source, that he had the word “fed” scrawled on his chest could be false. Asked if that were the case, Trosper declined to comment.

Lefty Michael Roston urges caution, noting correctly that this might indeed be a case of militiamen gone wild but there’s good reason to think that it isn’t. Turns out the area’s filthy with pot growers, drug dealers, and meth-heads known to get antsy when someone from the government knocks on their door.

Discourse in our nation may be getting scary in some situations – I certainly don’t like hearing about ‘watering the tree of liberty’ with our fairly elected president’s blood. But our drug war has had a lot of collateral damage for people at points all over the socioeconomic ladder, and regardless of their political orientations. A lot of folks on the left are eager to find a case to hold up against the overblown depiction of the Belleville bus fight last week. I fear that the interpretation of Mr. Sparkman’s likely murder may be shaded by those events, instead of seeing this for the drug war consequence that it is.

Consider for instance that Rachel Maddow in her broadcast last night failed to even discuss the drug possibility. And over at Talking Points Memo, Zachary Roth argued today that, “it may be hard to separate those two motivations,” of drugs versus anti-government sentiment. But anti-government sentiment by illegal drug producers is not the same thing as anti-Census and anti-Obama sentiment. Failing to hold up this possibility is a failing on the part of media that cover this story.

A further interesting detail buried in WaPo’s story on this tonight: The Census Bureau says it has no information that Sparkman was targeted because he worked for the agency, which is hard to reconcile with the “fed” detail. Either it’s true and the cops are keeping it under wraps for now or there never was any “fed” writing and the Bureau knows it.

What’s uniquely disgusting about stories like this is the eagerness, to borrow Ace’s perfectly apt description, to find an ideological motive with which to bludgeon one’s opponents. The human life involved is reduced to the crudest sort of political prop. It reminds of when that nut walked into Hillary’s campaign headquarters in New Hampshire during the Democratic primary and took everyone hostage, and for hours no one knew anything about the motive. I remember the palpable sense of anticipation in the blogosphere as people waited to find out if it was a crazed right-wing Clinton-hater whodunnit or a crazed left-wing Obama supporter. (The punchline: He ended up having no political motive.) If you think “eager” is the wrong adjective here, feast your eyes on the graphic being featured at Brad Blog, churned out with such amazing speed that it seems to have come from some sort of template. Skim the post while you’re there, too. Turns out that even if this isn’t the fault of conservative America in toto, it kind of is.