Monday, June 21, 2010

What's the Question, Again?

Census workers are experiencing some hostility from the American public:

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.

Now, with just three weeks to go in the door-knocking phase of the count, the number of census takers has dwindled, and the remaining households are the toughest.

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.

One, violence against census workers is wrong. And there is no reason to take out anger at the federal government on census workers who are carrying out a basic function needed to aportion House seats in Congress among the states.
Two, is a rate of 379 incidents among 635,000 census workers really that high? Send any group of a half million knocking on doors and I have to believe a good amount will face some hostility that rises to the level of an "incident."
Still, what fascinates me is the focus on what the attackers have done--or those just angry. When jihadis slammed planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and as a consolation prize the ground in Pennsylvania, the cry from the Left was "why do they hate us?"

Wouldn't it be an appropriate question to ask why so many people--whether it is particularly high right now or not--hate the federal government? Could it be that the federal government has expanded into too many areas where the states should have primacy?

Does anybody remember the time when being accused of "making a federal case" out of some issue meant that it was a really big deal?

There is no excuse for violence against census workers. But I would appreciate a list of violent actions that do or don't justify the question why do the attackers hate the victims?