Facing South

CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' scrawled on his chest

bill_sparkman.pngThe FBI and state police are investigating the death of a U.S. Census worker whose body was found hanging from a tree near a cemetery in a remote part of Kentucky with the word "fed" scrawled on his chest.

The Associated Press reports that the body of Bill Sparkman, a 51-year-old part-time Census field worker and substitute teacher, was found Sept. 12 in the Daniel Boone National Forest in rural southeast Kentucky's Clay County. Sparkman has worked for the Census since 2003.

Co-workers became worried about Sparkman when he failed to show up for a Sept. 10 work assignment at Johnson Elementary School in Laurel County, Ky., WKYT reports. Sparkman recently earned his teaching degree while working two jobs and fighting cancer.

Lucindia Scurry-Johnson, assistant director of the Census Bureau's southern office in Charlotte, N.C., told the AP that law enforcement authorities have said the death is "an apparent homicide." The bureau has suspended door-to-door operations in Clay County until the investigation is complete.

Investigators are reportedly trying to determine whether anti-government sentiment played a role in the killing.

In recent years the Daniel Boone National Forest has become a center for illegal drug production, with numerous marijuana plots and meth labs. A story about lawlessness in the park that appeared in Harper's magazine last year reported that attacks and threats against Forest Service employees there have increased more than fivefold in the past decade.

(Photo of Bill Sparkman from WKYT)

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re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Obama is polarizing this country is what you get when you assume Presidency without proving you're even legally American. Something's gotta give. Dems going to destroy much before sanity resumes.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Everything is wrong with the first comment.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

I choose to ignore troll comments off the subject here and send my sincere condolences to this man's family.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Really? Seriously? The census isn't even controversial and it doesn't have anything to do with who's president. That comment just doesn't even make any sense. It's so disappointing to read. And there's no way to respond - because it's not about what's true, it's just about you not knowing where to place your frustration.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Fox News, and other right wing propagandists are polarizing this country, while posing as news sources.
They propagate lies about President Obama, his policies, and our nation in general.
People who do not like President Obama, because his skin pigmentation is different from their own, use other excuses to vent their racism. They complain about socialism, without knowing the meaning of the word, or the awareness that a lot of things are socialized for the good of WE THE PEOPLE, like police, fire protection, and roads.
This has been the plan of the enemy within the country, who, 20 some years, stated that the government can do no good. Why would people elect someone into government who says this, unless they truly want to see an end to our country.
We need better education, so that people can make better decisions, and be able to tell the difference between propaganda and news. Until that time, more ignorant hate will continue, because many people are believing what one propagandist states, simply because he or she says so, or says that he or she works for "Christ." It's strange to see so much hate from people who say that they follow the most non-violent person to walk the planet.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

President Obama is not responsible for the immoral and vicious acts of someone else.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

So sad -- the poor guy. As for the comment above, that is just plain alarming. I don't think the reason this man was murdered was because of Obama. That's like blaming every homicide in the past 8 years on George Bush and Dick Cheney.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Wow, Jacob, you say Obama is polarizing this country, but your whole statement was an attack against Democrats in general. Your very statement was polarizing. Nice log in your eye you got there.

Does it really matter how polarized the country *might* be? There's no excuse for justification for a political murder.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

The people who killed Sparkman are "going to destroy much" before their sanity resumes. A progressive black President ISN'T AN EXCUSE TO KILL PEOPLE.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Holy shit, you for real Jacob? Insane!

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

@Jacob: Wait... some person is disturbed, deranged, or otherwise angry enough at the world to kill another person because of where they work or who they work for -- and that's because of Obama and the Democratic party????

Time to get a better grip on reality, buddy.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

"Sanity" means murdering federal workers?

You sound like a terrorist sympathizer.

Just say no to RACIST rightwing domestic terrorists.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

This tragedy is fueled by the nasty talk show hosts like Glenn Beck & Rush Limbaugh, conservative republicans, elected officials like Joe Wilson and organizations hiding behind their perceptions of "white" family values.
Any person who lives in the real world understands that ALL cultures have basically the same family values, even when their children may not follow them, including white children. Just look at the news.
This hatred and war mongering being preached is a setup for disaster in our country. What are they striving for? Another civil war???
Did we not learn anything from the '60s & '70s even? Oppressed people fight back!!! White and black organizations declared war on the US government.
The gun toting, etc, and, if people who could see the writing on the wall in good conscious decided to change less our country be destroyed. Remember that "if you live by the sword, you will die by the sword."
Ours is the best country in the world to live in and I hope we do not destroy our democracy!
A lot of the haters of President Obama are simply poor losers and, yes, OMG!, racists. Remember people, our President was elected by an overwhelming majority. Grow up, less we become another Rome.
The Bible is right and tells us that "A man's worse enemies shall be those of his own house". Our house is the USA.
It is not Khadafi or Abidinejad who will destroy us, but our own citizens who preach that it is okay to hate and act on this hatred by hurting, killing and destroying others that are working to better our country. This is acting against our democracy!
In past decades, these people would have been incarcerated, but today they are celebrated. They should be jailed for treason!
How sad!!!
My prayers and condolences go out to Mr. Sparkman's family.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Jacob,

What's it like? Is it blissful? I really need to know. I think you're just the person to tell me.

I'd supply my name, but...I think you'd probably find me and kill me because you don't understand the questions I ask.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Michele Bachmann has been fomenting anti-census sentiment. She bears some responsibility.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

@Sarah, you are as wrong as Jacob. Get your facts and your logic in order.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Stumbled accross this "publication"[what a Waste! Seems like you got a bunch of blaCks capABLE OF FILLING OUT GRANT FORMS. thats about it! no merit

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Rep. Michele Bachmann from MN has been leading the charge on sensationalizing the census. She went on Beck & said, "Enough is enough." (clip here: http://bit.ly/P5i2J) I've had enough of her. Donate to her opponents campaign, Tarryl Clark. I'm from MN & can vouch that she's a solid challenger to Bachmann. http://www.actblue.com/entity/fundraisers/22728

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Jesus Christ. A man was murdered while doing an innocuous job for the public good. There can be no excusing what was done to Mr. Sparkman, nor can the act be put into any context that would justify, soften, or alter it--ever--period. A human being killed another horribly, and was so vicious and self-important as to a fabricate a perverted story about American values, to abuse the ideal of freedom and self-determination in order to throw a curtain over the naked monstrosity of the crime. This wasn't about Obama, nor was it about the "Feds," or the state, or about politics at all. This was about contempt, at its most basic, loathsome and unconcealed, contempt for humanity, or anything else beyond one's own murderous person. This crime was vile, all the more so for being wrapped in a lie design to grow and infect others.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Sarah, posted on 9/23.

"Remember people, our President was elected by an overwhelming majority. "

Please research and get back to this page, with the results, of the last Presidential election.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

All the red neck hicks who live in the south should go to hell. obama is a G

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Seriously Sarah - Obama was elected by an overwhelming majority? Maybe you need to check your facts, he only won by a couple of percent.

And Eric, the census is a big controversy, due to some believing the whole process is illegal, not to mention, how the new census asks personal questions that have nothing to do with head counting.

I personally think all of you are hate mongers. This is probably work of some meth lab people who have no ties to any political party and wrote "Fed" because the poor man stumbled across their operation.

Shame on all of you for blaming political parties for it. Maybe everybody needs to stop voting for their political party and vote for the right person. Maybe try to think for themselves.

My deepest condolences and sympathies to the family and friends of Mr. Sparkman. I hope the true criminals that caused this pain are found and brought to justice, and I hope this poor man's tragic death doesn't become another "political" debate.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Jacob, please explain how this is the President's fault. Also explain how the President is not "even legally American". Bonus points if you can do so without using the words "Socialism", "Birth Certificate", and "Fox News".

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

the dude was probably an ACORN census worker. Since ACORN got canned by the census bureau yesterday, they probably threw this guy under the bus a little more aggressively than usual. This is the President's fault because he is responsible for ACORN not going under in the 90's and for encouraging them even more in the 2000's.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Mr. Sparkman was employed by the U.S. Census Bureau, not by ACORN. Further, leonardgump seems to have a misunderstanding about the role ACORN was to play in the Census. It was not doing door-to-door counting, but rather was one of some 80,000 organizations that were simply helping the Bureau publicize the Census.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Everyone should take a step back and look at their behavior at the moment. Nobody would want to live in a country without parks, roads and national security. Noboby would want to live in a country without freedom of expression. It is very easy to blame the government but cry for help when a national disaster comes to our doorsteps. People have too much idle time in this country and forget their own reliance on the government. Is everyone who paints the government as evil willing to give up grants to public universities ( University of Michigan or University of Kentucky) and the Centers for Disease Control. How about the meat inspection, health department inspections that keep most Americans from puking their guts out when they eat in an unfamiliar restaurant, libraries, the internet where servers are funded and maintained by federal dollars, workplace safety that has kept assembly line workers from getting cancer, loosing hearing and going blind. How about safety inspections in vehicles. As you drive around in your family vehicle remember that none of the big three wanted to put air bags in until the government asked them to do so. Really I am surprised how ignorant people are about the services provided by the federal, state and local governments. Federal drug inforcement, trafficing laws, kidnapping laws, child protection laws, and criminal laws that keep people from killing each other when faced with difficult and emotional challenges like these times. Most people would live very short and depressing lives without our common goals and efforts. We do not have to polarize, we only need to discuss the things we think are necessary for the common good. It should be a discussion only with consensus. When the majority agrees to a plan then that is what we should do. Its called democracy. Do not whine when you are not on the winning team. Rationally try to change others minds. ALL the personal choice issues should be left out of discussion completely. I will tolerate your lifestyle and you should tolerate mine. If I vandilize a car by taking off a prolife or rainbow coalition sticker the I should be arrested and fined. The person who did this heinous crime should be arrests and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Michigan is suffering worse than anywhere, partially because of unions but also it is because we are waterlocked like Florida and most shipping has to come up and then back down. It has made only the lower third of the state suitable for development. We are happy for that because it has preserved our beauty, but we need the help of the government at times and are grateful when we receive it. Anyone who might think who cares let everyone fend for themselves should remember that Michigan also has territorial rights to a large amount of the fresh water in this country, natural gas, hydroelectric, lumber, produces hugh amounts of vegetables, dairy and fruit and other things that this country needs. We are a union. No state or area of the country can set off independently or afford to continue to act so nutty.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Isnt it amazing...that ignorant right wing nuts always say "TAKE RESPONSIBILITY"

yet, then we get the likes of Jacob trying to BLAME THE PRESIDENT.

Which is crazy nuttos - personal responsibility, or we get to blame everyone else for our failures and crimes?

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with how AMERICA works.

He won by an overwhelming majority of ELECTORAL VOTES.
That's how our country works...not by PERCENTAGES.

So, perhaps you need to learn about our voting process?

And Obama won by one of the biggest margins (electorally) in a long long time. So yes, that's accurate.

It's as if you folks have intentional blinders on...i guess the electoral was good enough when Bush lost the popular vote huh? But now, it means nothing? The POPULAR VOTE now means more?

Give me a break flip floppers.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Jacob - you are exactly the sort of idiot that makes me want to open the borders, because there are millions outside the borders of this country that would make much better use of being an American than apparently you have. You've been blessed by the accident of birth with a stable political environment in which to develop and mature. Yet clearly all you have done with it, is sat on it. Your comment indicates that you've grown intellectually fat, weak and lazy. Now people like you can hide behind racism (or whatever the Fox News network is dressing it up as these days) for a while, but you simply cannot hold back that sea of people who are much smarter than you, willing to work harder than you and have a better developed sense than you do of what it means to be a human being. If you continue to wallow in the intellectual trough in which you now seem so happy to dwell then the loss I'm afraid is largely going to be yours. We are all human beings and the sooner you realize what that means the sooner you will be able to make something of your life. Don't think for a moment that your opinion is equally valid to that of everyone else. The Fox News Network may tell you that but its not true. Your opinion is pathetic, unenlightened, ignoble and ignorant.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Sue, dear Sue. Please point out where it says he was employed by the U.S. Census Bureau. You're trying to be a Klinton by trying to rewrite history here. The article only refers to him as a census worker.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Quoting here from the Associated Press story linked to in my piece, bold emphasis mine:

Census employees were told Sparkman's truck was found nearby, and a computer he was using for work was found inside it, she said. He worked part-time for the Census, usually conducting interviews once or twice a month.

Sparkman has worked for the Census since 2003, spanning five counties in the surrounding area. Much of his recent work had been in Clay County, officials said.

Door-to-door operations have been suspended in Clay County pending a resolution of the investigation, Scurry-Johnson said.

The U.S. Census Bureau is overseen by the Commerce Department.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our co-worker," Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with William Sparkman's son, other family and friends."

Sparkman was employed by the Census Bureau, not for any intermediary.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

No way, how terrible is that? I hope the FBI can get more details. That word FED scrawled on his chest is gruesome. What kind of person would do that?

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Idiot conservatives - ever since the Republicans decided to court racists and other lowlifes in the sixties, the reprehensible conservative fringe has been emboldened. The don't realize how un-American they are, and try to coopt patriotism on one hand and anti-government sentiment at the same time, as it benefits them. Republicans, try to find a Democrat to explain this to you if you don't understand some of the bigger words.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

This is a tragedy. Please let us not prematurely judge what has happened. The cause and details are have not been fully disclosed. We shouldn't feed the stereotypes of Appalachia.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

It amazes me how openly some "americans" advocate the overthrow of our government. I call them the "anti-patriots."

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

I don't know what happened. As of now, nobody does. But I do know that making far-fetched accusations can stir up even more commotion than necessary. So until then, I think it is best to keep quiet until authorities release some more details. I love reading blogs, but as far as this story goes, I am very disappointed and shocked that some of the blogs out there have written such blatant misinformation about this.

I think the problem is that the police are not revealing anything about this incident, so naturally, albeit wrongfully, writers feel the need to fill in the gap with something to make it an interesting story. But how much of that is based on real information that the police have revealed?

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Hate and ignorance often go hand in hand. It is OK that people disagree. But, they should realize that there are rational arguements on both sides. It is important that we debate with FACTS. Heresay, rumors, lies, half-truth, and hysterical ranting have no place in intelligent debate. The aim of national discourse should be to bring us all as close together as possible for the common good of all our citizens. Unfortunately, much of what constitutes national debate only divides us further. The hate that led to the death of a good man and a good citizen is the result of lies and misconception being spread by those who seek individual gain instead of a common good. Think community and unity. We are a stronger nation if we thrive off of what we have in common. We are a ruined nation if we are ruled by our differences.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Potter, please explain how Sarah's comment is "as bad as Jacob's," because I'm not seeing it. Sarah didn't dismiss the murder of a government worker, nor did she peddle the racist falsehood of Obama not being a US citizen.

When you say Sarah's is just as bad, what do you really mean?

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

this guy is probably the killer ....

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

we are polarizing this country. Jesus. Look at all this! A man who is part of a family got killed while asking questions for research in general. True he got stuck with a bad demographic of people that didn't want to be asked. I'm in a research analysis class at a University and quite frankly people need this type of data. I think people are being absolutely ridiculous about this whole ACORN thing. President Bush and his administration were responsible for killing millions of people by putting this country in a ridiculous situation. I don't want to argue about whether or not 9/11 was a conspiracy. Either way it was a tragedy, and either way our country just needs to get better. I agree with letting go of the politcal parties. Just back whatever person you believe to be right. And listen to what they say, don't spend your time researching through FOX NEWS and making judgements. We have to be more hopeful folks. Mourn for this man and his family because it is a real tragedy and look forward. There is no use guessing why someone would viciously do something like that unless you are a detective in his case.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

Hey, 'brainiac,'

A human being died here and you want to split hairs about what!! Are you really that dense? Or, have you really missed your calling as an actor? Your lack of sympathy - wouldn't even ask for a show of empathy from you - was not cute the first time you attempted it; and it's downright repugnent the second time....

Just go turn on the tv and allow glen beck or one of those from your "ilk" explain - You can't even form a thought without some prompting.

Go back to pre-K until the blocks are checked for proper decorum and social skills - under supervision, of course.

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

What Sarah was trying to tell you, bubba/bubba-rette, is that President Obama WON the right to be the President of these United States.

Unlike 'w' who STOLE the election, not once, but twice. Your hero because..... 1. he stole an election twice, or, 2. you all seem to be on the same IQ-level?

Now, what don't you understand about this, bubba/bubba-rette?

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

"an apparent homicide." As opposed to an accident?

re: CENSUS WATCH: Census worker hanged in Kentucky with 'fed' sc

It is sad that a man was killed for what seems to be his occupation. Nothing will change that fact. My condolences to his family.

Study why the census is taken. You'll realize how "innocuous" it isn't. It determines the breakdown and distribution of power for the next decade. Ask yourself, "why would the White House try to take control of the census?" It is not just out of the goodness of their hearts. Politicians on both sides of the aisle do things to achieve certain ends. Considering their motivations is important. They WANT us to think everything is innocuous. They DON'T WANT us to hold them accountable for a thing. It's our money they spend. Hold them accountable. Ask the questions, even if they won't answer. But don't blindly go where and how they suggest.

As for all in opposition being racists, listen to yourselves. I'm a minority and (gasp!) I don't like Obama's policies either. And I definitely didn't vote for him. Does that make me racist or could it be (no, never, not in a million years) that I'm maintaining an educated and loyal opposition? How about you study a little bit before you answer . . .