We don't know if this is a suicide or a homicide and I pray that this is not a trend with our census workers. The census is mandated under Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of the US Constitution and no attempt should be made to defeat the execution of this clause.
The body of Bill Sparkman, a 51-year-old part-time Census field worker and occasional teacher, was found Sept. 12 in a remote patch of the Daniel Boone National Forest in rural southeast Kentucky. The Census has suspended door-to-door interviews in rural Clay County, where the body was found, pending the outcome of the investigation.
Investigators are still trying to determine whether the death was a killing or a suicide, and if a killing, whether the motive was related to his government job or to anti-government sentiment.
Investigators have said little about the case. The law enforcement official, who was not authorized to discuss the case and requested anonymity, said Wednesday the man was found hanging from a tree and the word "fed" was written on the dead man's chest. The official did not say what type of instrument was used to write the word.
However there seems to be a historic trend in resisting attempts by the government to gather information about its citizens (we are citizens, not subjects) which I think is very healthy - to a point. Listen to the resignation of a census taker in the very first census taken in 1790.
The enumerators - as they were called - sometimes took their lives in their hands.
"Sir: I beg to report that I have been dogbit, goose-pecked, cowkicked, briar-scratched, shot at, and called every 'fowel' that can be tho't of. I have worked 12 days and made $2. I have had enough and I beg to resign my position as a census taker for Crittenden Township."
So wrote Roger Waite to a marshal of census enumerators for the State of Vermont on August 24, 1790 – the year of the first national census of the United States.
Many had never been enumerated before and were naturally suspicious of strangers coming around asking questions. Others, remembering the biblical reference to the head count for purposes of taxation at the time of the birth of Christ, often displayed a downright unfriendly attitude. Then still other citizens, recalling the plagues that befell the children of Israel following the enumeration made by King David, also refused to cooperate.
So when the enumerators persisted with their questioning, they were often lucky to get by with just a dog bite. In a sparsely settled area in Pennsylvania, there is one instance of an enumerator being killed.
There were various other reasons on the part of the population for the reluctance to answer questions, but in a 1909 publication issued by the U.S. Census Bureau, it is written that the most potent factor was the widespread belief that the census was connected with taxes.