Sept. 25, 2009
News reports are informing us of the probable homicide of a federal Census worker in Kentucky.
And early reports are mentioning in conjunction with this likely murder the word feds hanging from a placard around the victims neck. AP coverage includes other anti-government violence—including the worst case of domestic terrorism prior to 9/11—the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Office Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. That bombing, for which Tim McVeigh was tried, convicted, and executed, claimed 189 lives, including the lives of several children in the day care center and one unborn child.
I was sent by Family Research Council president Gary Bauer to Oklahoma City to present a specially commissioned painting titled American Pieta. It is part of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. We wanted to express our concern and compassion for the good people of Oklahoma City who were victims of this senseless violence.
If you read between the lines of the story on the presumably murdered Census worker in Kentucky, however, you begin to see a story line emerging: Criticize federal government policies and this is what you get—murder.
Americans have a two-hundred year history of criticizing government policies. My mothers family came from Kentucky. Theres considerable suspicion of federal officers—including revenuers—in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. Folk singer Joan Baez popularized a ballad sung by the moonshiners of those mountains back in 1962. Her song Copper Kettle hearkened back almost two centuries.
My daddy, he made whiskey,
And my grandaddy, he did too.
We aint paid no whiskey tax
Since Seventeen Ninety-two
President George Washington led an army into Western Pennsylvania in 1794 to put down the Whiskey Rebellion. It was the first dangerous test of the authority of the new federal government. Alexander Hamilton, who as Secretary of the Treasury levied the whiskey tax, and who was at Washingtons side as Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania militia marched against the Whiskey Rebels, said whenever the federal government appeared in force, it must appear as a Hercules, using overwhelming force to speedily suppress rebellion.
We must all remember the liberal medias 1995 attempts to tar conservatives with the violence of Tim McVeigh. They never succeeded in finding even the remotest ties between McVeigh, his loner, loser cohorts, and any recognizable conservative group or movement. It was not for lack of trying.
At the time of his crime, and in 2001 when he went to his death, there was not a murmur of sympathy for Tim McVeigh among conservatives. How could there be? By commissioning that beautiful painting to remember the victims of Tim McVeigh, we demonstrated where our hearts were.
If we had sympathy for anyone else, it was for McVeighs hard-working, honest parents. They were the truly tragic figures and never deserved the sorrow they endured.
Today, we must be just as firm in rejecting any anti-government violence. The administration is advancing some of the most alarming policies we have seen in two hundred years. We have a right, we have a duty, to protest these policies as dangers to life and liberty. And in that pursuit, we will call for the speedy apprehension and trial of the perpetrator of this crime in Kentucky. We will urge stern justice for anyone convicted in this despicable crime. The answer to such situations rests—as it always has—not with bullets but with ballots.