Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cui Bono? Did Glenn Beck murder a census worker? Or was it "Da Weed Man?"

Cui bono ("To whose benefit?", literally "as a benefit to whom?", a double dative construction) is a Latin adage that is used either to suggest a hidden motive or to indicate that the party responsible for something may not be who it appears at first to be. Commonly the phrase is used to suggest that the person or people guilty of committing a crime may be found among those who have something to gain, chiefly with an eye toward financial gain. The party that benefits may not always be obvious or may have successfully diverted attention to a scapegoat, for example. -- Wikipedia.

Bill Sparkman.

Before we start off into the land of political cardboard cartoon cut-outs, I want you to meet the man (as near as you can meet a dead man after the fact with inadequate information) whose caricature is at this moment being spun up by the other side as their latest symbol of "right-wing savagery."

Published: March 14, 2008 09:43 am

Never give up

Laurel County man doesn’t let cancer stop him from obtaining teaching degree

By Amber Podlucky / For the Times-Tribune

William E. Sparkman’s education story is one of thoughtful parental involvement for his son and for himself, and personal fortitude in the face of very difficult circumstances, including very serious personal illness.

He thought of it as volunteering in his son’s classroom. He never imagined it would lead to a career change.

Sparkman began his career path as a sports editor for the Mulberry Press in Mulberry, Fla. and through various jobs thereafter, landed him in London, Ky., just as his son, Josh (now 18 years old) was entering Johnson Elementary School.

His son could pass any test, but was struggling with completing the required assignments, so Sparkman thought that by volunteering in the classroom, he could help his son’s learning situation.

Eventually, he was offered the job of a paraeducator. Several years into the job, he realized he was doing many of the same things that the teachers were doing. Talking with several other paraeducators, he learned they were all going to school, working on their teacher certifications.

“Being a single parent, I knew I couldn’t quit my job and I would have limited nights to go to school, so it could take a long time to finish, “said Bill. “I checked around and discovered Western Governors University, and began online classes in September 2005. WGU offered everything that I wanted. I didn’t have to sit in class and I could go as fast or as slow as I needed to.”

Bill was making great progress when a life-threatening brick wall popped up. A cyst had formed on the right side of his neck and it was found to be Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

Refusing to let that get in his way, he persevered. He began the necessary medical treatment and continued to do his student teaching.

“My mentor and college advisor, Carol Williams, provided me great support through this obstacle and continued leading me down the path to graduation. Carol lives in Atlanta, Ga., but she kept in constant contact with me the majority of my two-and-a half years in online studies through phone calls and e-mails,” Bill said.

Kelly Greene, of the Laurel County School system, is in charge of filling the vacancies for any teachers who are absent on any given day, so Bill kept Kelly up-to-date on his progress throughout his treatments.

“While in the process of getting his degree, Bill was never not available,” said Greene. “He was always very upbeat that early in the morning, willing and ready to go to work.”

Sparkman spoke with Greene at length about his being diagnosed with cancer. Sparkman assured her that he wanted her to continue to call him for work.

They went over in detail what he would have to do throughout his treatment, particularly on Fridays, when he would be unable to work due to the lengthy chemotherapy treatments. Greene said Sparkman was very conscientious as a substitute teacher and did not want his treatment to hurt his chances of being called into work.

Greene described Bill Sparkman as a man with a great attitude and added that someone with his enthusiasm and willingness to work is remarkable, given the situation.

Sparkman graduated from WGU in December 2007 with his bachelor’s degree in mathematics education.

With warnings from his doctor about traveling by plane, Bill took the long way to his graduation ceremony in February 2008 by driving all the way across the country to Salt Lake City to attend graduation in person and to receive the diploma he had worked so hard to earn.

“It took me five days to make the four-day trip, thanks to Mother Nature, and the harsh road conditions in Wyoming,” Sparkman recalled. “But once I got to Utah, it was clear sailing the rest of the way.”

“WGU is the only accredited university where you can obtain a bachelors degree in education,” said Sparkman, “and as more people discover WGU, I believe that more great teachers will be there for more students and be able to provide the support everyone deserves.”

Last Friday was Sparkman’s final chemotherapy treatment. He is happy and hopeful that the treatment worked and is totally successful. He’ll get the news of his final test results on tax day, April 15.

Although he realizes that his doctor will not be able to tell him he is totally cured, Sparkman is looking forward to hearing that his cancer is in remission, enough that he’ll only have to go in for a checkup ever 6-12 months.

Today, Bill Sparkman patiently waits for a math teacher position to open as he continues to substitute teach in various schools throughout Laurel County. Along with his commitment as a substitute teacher he also works evenings at the Campground Elementary in its after-school program.

“I think things are looking pretty good as there are eight schools throughout Laurel, Knox, Whitley and Clay counties,” said Sparkman, reflecting on his future as a teacher. “Working for the U.S. Census Bureau, I’ve become familiar with the numerous opportunities the school systems have to offer. I’m hoping to stay here in Laurel County, but I’d be willing to travel to any of the other schools, if that’s where a position opens. My home, my life is here in Laurel County, and this is where I want to stay.”

Sparkman takes no personal credit for his remarkable recovery.

“I know a lot of people were out there praying for me, and I have no doubt that it was a mixture of God’s will, the doctors, and my friends and family that got me through this,” he said.

“I don’t know who played the biggest part in getting me well, but I’d be happy to bow down and kiss whoever’s feet were in front of me.”

Now here is what we know so far in the state-run media about his murder

Hanging Death of Census Worker Probed


MANCHESTER, Ky. (Sept. 24) -- When Bill Sparkman told retired trooper Gilbert Acciardo that he was going door-to-door collecting census data in rural Kentucky, the former cop drawing on years of experience warned: "Be careful."

The 51-year-old Sparkman was found hanged from a tree near a Kentucky cemetery and had the word "fed" scrawled on his chest, a law enforcement official said Wednesday, and the FBI is investigating whether he was a victim of anti-government sentiment.

"Even though he was with the Census Bureau, sometimes people can view someone with any government agency as 'the government.' I just was afraid that he might meet the wrong character along the way up there," said Acciardo, who directs an after-school program at an elementary school where Sparkman was a frequent substitute teacher.

The Census Bureau has suspended door-to-door interviews in rural Clay County, where the body was found, until the investigation is complete, an official said.

The law enforcement official, who was not authorized to discuss the case and requested anonymity, did not say what type of instrument was used to write the word on the chest of Sparkman, who was supplementing his income doing Census field work.

He was found Sept. 12 in a remote patch of Daniel Boone National Forest and an autopsy report is pending.

Manchester, the main hub of the southeastern Kentucky county, is an exit off the highway, with a Walmart, a few hotels, chain restaurants and a couple gas stations.

The drive away from town and toward the area Sparkman's body was found is decidedly different, through the forest with no streetlights on winding roads, up and down steep hills and sparsely populated.

FBI spokesman David Beyer said the bureau is assisting state police and declined to discuss any details about the crime scene. Agents are trying to determine if foul play was involved and whether it had anything to do with Sparkman's job as Census worker, Beyer said. Attacking a federal worker during or because of his federal job is a federal crime.

Sparkman's mother, Henrie Sparkman of Inverness, Fla., told The Associated Press her son was an Eagle scout who moved to Kentucky to direct the local Boy Scouts of America. He later became a substitute teacher in Laurel County, adjacent to the county where his body was found.

She said investigators have given her few details about her son's death. They did tell her his body was decomposed and haven't yet released it for burial.

"I was told it would be better for him to be cremated," she said.

Acciardo said he became suspicious when Sparkman didn't show up for work at the after-school program in Laurel County for two days and went to police. Authorities immediately investigated, he said.

"He was such an innocent person," Acciardo said. "I hate to say that he was naive, but he saw the world as all good, and there's a lot of bad in the world."

Lucindia Scurry-Johnson, assistant director of the Census Bureau's southern office in Charlotte, N.C., said law enforcement officers have told the agency the matter is "an apparent homicide" but nothing else.

Census employees were told Sparkman's truck was found nearby, and a computer he was using for work was inside, she said.

Sparkman had worked for the Census since 2003, spanning five counties in the surrounding area, conducting interviews once or twice a month. Much of his recent work had been in Clay County, officials said.

The Census Bureau has yet to begin door-to-door canvassing for the 2010 head count, but thousands of field workers are doing smaller surveys on various demographic topics on behalf of federal agencies. Next year, the Census Bureau will dispatch up to 1.2 million temporary employees to locate hard-to-find residents.

The 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.

Locke called him "a shining example of the hardworking men and women employed by the Census Bureau."

Kelsee Brown, a waitress at Huddle House, a 24-hour chain restaurant in Manchester, when asked about the death, said she thinks the government sometimes has the wrong priorities.

"Sometimes I think the government should stick their nose out of people's business and stick their nose in their business at the same time. They care too much about the wrong things," she said.

Appalachia scholar Roy Silver, a New York City native now living in Harlan County, Ky., said he doesn't sense an outpouring of anti-government sentiment in the region as has been exhibited in town hall meetings in other parts of the country.

"I don't think distrust of government is any more or less here than anywhere else in the country," said Silver, a sociology professor at Southeast Community College.

The most deadly attack on federal workers came in 1995 when the federal building in Oklahoma City was devastated by a truck bomb, killing 168 and injuring more than 680. Timothy McVeigh, who was executed for the bombing, carried literature by modern, ultra-right-wing anti-government authors.

A private group called PEER, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, tracks violence against employees who enforce environmental regulations. The group's executive director, Jeff Ruch, said it's hard to know about all of the cases because some agencies don't share data on violence against employees.

From 1996 to 2006, according to the group's most recent data, violent episodes against federal Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service workers soared from 55 to 290.

"Even as illustrated in town hall meetings today, there is a distinct hostility in a large segment of the population toward people who work for their government," Ruch said.

Sparkman's mother is simply waiting for answers.

"I have my own ideas, but I can't say them out loud. Not at this point," she said. "Right now, what I'm doing, I'm just waiting on the FBI to come to some conclusion."

Now, it didn't take long after the rebirth of this previously ignored story (Bill Sparkman's body was discovered on 12 September and reported in the local press) for collectivist maggot bloggers to assign a prime suspect:

Glenn Beck, of course.

Meet Michael Stone, the Portland, Oregon "Progressive Examiner."

Stone describes himself thusly: "Gypsy scholar and freelance writer, Michael is a secular humanist with a passion for politics and protecting the civil liberties of those on the margins of society." He also helpfully gives us his email address, which you may want to visit after reading the rest of my post.

Now, mind you, Stone is not the only leftie to pick up on this meme. Even the Huffington Post has decided to praise a Boy Scout leader now that he is safely dead, which may be a first for them. But here is what "gypsy scholar" Stone believes:

Did Beck's 9-12 protest inspire Census worker's murder?

September 23, 7:28 PM

Did Glenn Beck's 9-12 protest inspire the murder of a US Census worker? A disturbing story is developing concerning the murder, the hanging, of a US Census worker. The worker was found dead, hanging from a tree, the same day as Glenn Beck's 9-12 Tea Party march on Washington D.C. The marchers were angry about many things, the expansion of the Federal Government in particular. The fact that the murdered Census worker was found with the word "Fed" written across his chest raises the inevitable speculations, and investigations.

The slain Census worker, William E. Sparkman Jr., was a 51-year-old single father who once battled Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Sparkman, from London, Kentucky, worked two jobs while supporting his family. The part-time Census field worker and teacher was found Sept. 12 in a remote patch of the Daniel Boone National Forest in rural southeast Kentucky.

The anger and hate generated by media personalities such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, and politicians such as Joe Wilson and Sarah Palin, is bound to find an outlet that leads to violence and tragedy. It was, and is, only a matter of time.

Words have power, and words have consequences. While Beck may claim to be the silly clown when the chips are down, he is nevertheless guilty of screaming "fire" in a crowded theater. Good people on the left and right have called for Beck and his kind to cease and desist, to end the assault on civility.

Time may or may not tell if Beck had any direct influence in this good man's death.

Time may or may not tell if the climate of hate and fear Beck generates influenced this good man's death. Yet the fact remains, a good man is dead.

This will be the meme as the state-run media begins to flog this story.

However, my first move upon learning of this story late last night was to call up the newly-promoted Captain Bear, Regimental S-2 of the Dogtown Rangers. He went to work and shortly I had a report on Clay County, Kentucky, and a better suspect than Glenn Beck, or any of his Tea Party friends.

"Sir," reported CPT Bear, "Clay County is the pot capitol of Kentucky, hell, maybe of all the country east of the Mississippi. And where the body was found, that's 'Injun Country.' Cops don't go up there if they can avoid it. I'm sending you a story with links and a suspect."

Here's the story, from

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Southeastern Kentucky has become less favorable for marijuana growers

By some estimates, Kentucky is still No. 2 in marijuana production, exceeded only by much larger California, but the legal and cultural climate for the crop in the state's most popular growing area has become less favorable, Bill Estep reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Estep's chief example is southeastern Kentucky pot grower J.C. Lawson, who bragged to the newspaper almost 20 years ago that he made $1 million in a few months and employed 20 people, bringing jobs and money to impoverished Clay County. "Lawson is still a symbol, but of a world and a war that is much different than 20 years ago," Estep writes. "The drug problem is worse in some ways, the war against it has escalated, and Lawson is headed to federal prison."

When pot became big business, some local officials took payoffs to protect the trade, and "The acceptance of marijuana growing colored local justice systems, according to some authorities who thought they couldn't get a meaningful conviction in some counties," Estep reports. But for the last 10 years, the region has been part of the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, a federal designation that brings money and other resources to bear on the growers. Map shows that the HIDTA was recently expanded to include Hamilton and Washington counties in Tennessee and Letcher County, Ky., where The Mountain Eagle reported the move "should help local law enforcement agencies to secure more federal funding for the efforts to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations." Also, for the last five years, southeastern Kentucky has had a special, federally funded anti-drug program, Operation UNITE, courtesy of Rep. Hal Rogers, a subcommittee chairman on the House Appropriations Committee.

"Attitudes about drugs have evolved as well, in large part because of abuse of powerful prescription pills, unavailable in the late 1980s, that have brought misery and death to many families," writes Estep. "People who said little or nothing about marijuana cultivation in 1987 now work to promote awareness of drug abuse and keep track of how cases are handled." (Read more)

OK, so what do we have? An innocent census taker, not from that county, wanders up into pot grower's "Injun Country." This is a place where cops fear to tread, likely made even more dangerous now that the pot growers are under economic pressure. He is found some days later, a rotting corpse at the end of a rope with "fed" carved in his chest. And this is Glenn Beck's fault?

How about we apply a little Occam's Razor and Cui bono to this case. How about this guy?

Meet "Da Weedman."

the_weedman101's profile

Name: Da Weed Man

Location: Clay County Kentucky.

Joined on: December 16th, 2008

Interests: Smokin weed

Favorite JTV Quotes: Wanna buy some weed off of me :D

About Me: I Smoke Weed

It may be straining the credulity of the average state-run media reporter, but people other than "right-wing anti-government militias" refer to Feds as "Feds." Applying Occam's Razor and Cui bono to this murder would seem to point in the direction of paranoid pot growers rather than Glen Beck.

Yet, unless local law enforcement is able to break this case, you will be hearing a lot of "right-wing hate speech" in the coming days and nothing about the Clay County Kentucky Pot Empire. Why? Certainly some of the up-east "talking heads" who will be pointing their manicured fingers at "militia maddogs" partake of some of Clay County's finest and are not unaware of its source.

Again, on this separate question of deliberate press misdirection we must ask: Cui bono?

Who benefits?

Why the people who now control the FBI, of course. The people in the White House.

Would someone with better connections than me forward this to Glenn Beck?

He's not only gonna need an alibi, but it never hurts to have an alternate suspect whose culpability is more obvious than yours.

Mike Vanderboegh

PS: Excellent staff work by CPT Bear. Another notch on the fabled belt of the Dogtown Rangers.


ScottJ said...

That story came across another blog yesterday afternoon.

I knew this place would be on it quickly.

Good work and I've already spread it elsewhere.

Phelps said...

How would Beck's 9-12 protest have "inspired" a killing that discovered the same day and had to have been done a good number of days before for the body to have decomposed too much for a casket burial?

They don't just have a problem with reasoning, they have a problem with rudimentary cause and effect.

John Richardson said...

If it wasn't a pot patch Sparkman stumbled across, it was surely a meth lab. Lest all the handwringers forget, "fed" can also be "ATF" or revenuers.

As to hating the government, what a crock. Too many of the people in that part of KY are "on the draw" or Federally-supported welfare. In some of those SE KY counties, you are seeing a multi-generational welfare culture where kids "aspire" to be "on the draw" when they up. The only difference from the inner city is that these folks are lily white.

Grumpyunk said...

My wife has family in that area and even the locals stay the hell out of certain areas of the Daniel Boone National Forest.
This isn't anything new.
from 2000-


I would think that the Meth Heads are probably working up in there too and those types are paranoid as hell.
That and there's a lot of "Copperhead Road" thinking in that area.
Damn shame. I feel bad for this guy and his family. Bigger shame that the left is already trying to exploit this for political gain.

The Commander said...

Hot on the heels of Pelosi's very public "worries" and a plethora of media accomplice's questions/predictions.


Reichstag, anyone?

Chris K. said...

So your saying there is a place I can go with little to no FEDGOV oversight?

Screw the Free State Project, I'm moving to Kentucky!

ParaPacem said...

Well... I must be honest. When I listen to Glenn Beck, a thrill runs up my leg and I squeal like 14 year old at a Beatles concert, and suddenly my mind goes blank except for the desire to go assassinate a gay mayor in California, or failing that, to hang someone I don't know.
It's not MY fault, it's that hideous Glenn Beck... he speaks to me through my neighbor's bulldog....Sam... he overpowers my senses...
my only defense is trying to force my mind to visualize an image of Helen Thomas seducing Janet Garufalo.... then the gag-reflex brings me out of the trance....

A Texan said...

Did anyone consider that this could've been a regular, ordinary murder, not even connected with drugs, let alone the victim's profession, and the murderer was just a little smarter than a box of rocks...leading him/her to look for a way to lead the figurative bloodhounds down the wrong trail? Maybe he owed someone money, maybe he was caught with someone's wife, maybe it was an accident that someone tried to cover up, and maybe he was mistaken for someone else.

All of these, plus the drug angle, plus the "right-wing extremist pissed at the .gov" are possible - and until someone finds other information that hasn't been released to the public, any speculation is just that - speculation (and not particularly well-informed, at that).

The anti-gun media can rot in Hell.

drjim said...

Great job reporting, Mike.
The lefty-loonies are grasping at straws to make conservative Americans look bad every chance they get, even if they have to fabricate lies, and bend the truth.
But then that's what they're best at, and even if the real killer is found out to be a drug producer, they'll try and spin that. too.

pdxr13 said...

On the English-language radio stations of Portland Oregon metro, this killing was reported as "a suicide or homicide" as if a person would write or carve the letters F E D on their body and hang themselves.

The slightest background check of the victim would indicate that he had a strong will to live and get stuff done.

I sympathize with anyone doing 2010 rural Census Enumerator work.

I did that job in 1990 around Olympia WA, and made a point of telling everyone at the door that there was only one question to answer, which is "how many people live at this address?".

I explained that this question is the only one that the United States Constitution mandates and that it's for the purpose of determining how many Congressional Representatives get sent to Washington DC by this State.

If they would like to chat some more I have lots more questions and that some of them are a little bit invasive and might be considered too personal. Almost everyone told me how many people lived at the address and almost no one would go through the "long form" (which saved me a ton of time!).

Da Weed Man doesn't frighten me, but it does appear that 4 persons live at this residence (and the form will be so marked). Thank you so much.

Do these people have working radios? Computers for webcast?


Anonymous said...

Two thought for your consideration.

1. Beck continually on his shows calls for cool heads and no violence. No Ft. Sumpters if you will.

2. While this incident by itself I feel is insufficient to trigger a massive govt. reaction, who knows what may happen as the census approaches and more and more people feel their rights and privacy are being infringed upon. If the govt. percieves a threat to their bean counters they may decide a crack down is in order.

"Never let a good crisis go to waste"

keep your powder dry

Anonymous said...

It probably won't take too long before this kind of cation will be in response to things like this:

Anonymous said...

"Beck .. is nevertheless guilty of screaming "fire" in a crowded theater. "

Anyone who thus misquotes Holmes in Schenk v. US loses all credibility...and there are many who do. It's "FALSELY crying fire in a crowded theater". Presumably telling the truth about the fire is a good thing. And in Schenk, "falsely crying fire" was publishing pamphlets explaining that the military draft is a violation of the 13th Amendment...which it bloody well is.

David Codrea said...

Latest reports say the previous story may have been BS and this may have been a suicide.

Don't expect any apologies from PP.

Crustyrusty said...

Yeesh, they've been killing revenooers in those parts for probably two centuries. First it was booze, then pot, and meth. Leave it to the damn media to make it something it isn't.

Can anyone say False Flag coming?

I thought you could :)

Snaggle-Tooth Jones said...

Who knows who carved those words?

And Grumpyunk:

"That and there's a lot of "Copperhead Road" thinking in that area."

Nothin' wrong with that.

"The cause of the South is the cause of us all." (A. Stephens)

jon said...

a cancer patient poking around in pot country? you don't say. now that it's more widely circulated than ever before that suffering from cancer and cancer's treatments can be alleviated with marijuana, i cannot say i am terribly surprised.

but if it's a place where even cops are afraid to tread, what was he doing out there alone? you'd have to be pretty desparate, pretty close to death, which kind of hampers the idea of such an excursion.

"cancer patient, having a moderately good day, leaves hospital after chemo, hops in pickup, drives off into woods to buy pot. stops every 35 minutes to vomit. leaves vehicle, we lose him for a few hours to a day, ends up hanging from this tree."

i think somebody knew somebody and owed them something.

Kent McManigal said...

It's a shame when any life is wasted by working with or for government at any level. The death was only the culmination of the waste.

Anonymous said...

Evil men (and women) always find it convenient to blame their enemies for their own evil. Makes it so much easier to convince the unthinking masses that they are the "good guys" while they slowly "boil the frog". Luckily the internet has leveled the playing field a bit in this regard. Great post and good work!
David McKee

Grumpyunk said...

Snaggle Tooth Jones - "That and there's a lot of "Copperhead Road" thinking in that area."

Nothin' wrong with that.

Agreed. Nothing at all. Benn thinking of it myself-