This is the scary season for the nation's census takers.Hmmm, wonder where these folks gathered this curious "Census = Too Much Gubb'ment" idea from?
Since they began making follow-up house calls in early May, census takers have encountered vitriol, menace and flashes of violence. They have been shot at with pellet guns and hit by baseball bats. They have been confronted with pickaxes, crossbows and hammers. They've had lawn mowers pushed menacingly toward them and patio tables thrown their way. They have been nibbled by ducks, bitten by pit bulls and chased by packs of snarling dogs.
Some days, being cursed at seems part of the job description.
So far, the Census Bureau has tallied 379 incidents involving assaults or threats on the nation's 635,000 census workers, more than double the 181 recorded during the 2000 census. Weapons were used or threatened in a third of the cases. While most homeowners have received census takers graciously, some say they have been surprised at the degree of anger exhibited by Americans who consider them the embodiment of intrusive government.
"I came across loads of hostility," said Douglas McDonald, who summoned police in Deltona, Fla., after a tug-of-war with an irate homeowner over a census form. The homeowner threw his ripped half in the toilet.
Sherri Chesney, 46, said she was cursed and spat at during follow-up visits in Houston. One day, she encountered a woman working in her garden. Chesney showed her census badge, she said, prompting the woman to launch into a tirade: "I don't need the blankety-blank government snooping in my business." Then she threw a metal patio table at Chesney, who escaped injury by ducking.
Workers were beset by mean-tempered animals. Wendy Soto, who was knocking on doors in California, still can't move two fingers after being attacked by a pit bull that pushed open a security door. The dog bit Soto in the stomach, leg and hand. The census is paying for her doctor's bills, medication and replacement clothing. She doesn't know when she will be physically able to return to her regular job as a special-education teacher's aide.
In a rural part of California's Nevada County northeast of Sacramento, two census workers told authorities that a man ordered them off his land. He mentioned his submachine gun, then followed them down the drive with a crossbow in hand. No charges were brought against the resident, the sheriff's department said.
A homeowner in Marion, Ohio, called police, saying he had just used his baseball bat against a stranger on his property. The perceived interloper was a census taker who told police the resident flew off the handle as soon as he mentioned the word census. The census taker was struck in the forearm, warding off blows from the aluminum bat. The resident was charged with felonious assault.
Among the more troubling were incidents that arose from residents' seething resentment that anyone from the government would seek their personal information.
Some people pointedly mentioned President Obama.
I'm never quite understood where all this anti-government sentiment comes from, but I do I know I certainly didn't hear as much of it prior to January 2009. Do these folks not realize that 1 in 10 Americans works for the government in some capacity? My Mom was a public service lifer who usually took far less than she could have earned in the private sector because she wanted to make a difference, and memorably did some work during the 1990 Census. According to these loons, she's a government interloper hellbent on taking away their Constitutional rights.
Ehhh, doesn't matter. Of course every government job, Census or otherwise, benefits liberals who don't otherwise have the ability to fend for themselves. Of course these folks, with their miserly $30k/yr jobs are the reason we're deeply in debt as a country, not, oh, the fact that we've got two unfinanced wars and pointless tax breaks for the wealthy contributing to the problem.
I've said it before, I'll say it again: just by virtue of awakening wingnut America, the election of Obama was the worst thing to happen to this country in decades.
Question: Does this constant drumbeat of anti-gubb'ment angst concern you? Am I merely seeing this whole thing through my liberal tinted glasses, or were people just as concerned about government intrusion before January 2009?!?
An unexpected result for some census takers: the wrath of irate Americans [WashPost]