The Corner

“People Don’t Know What It’s Like Out There”

The Washington Post reports from the hinterlands:

This is the scary season for the nation’s census takers.

Since they began making follow-up house calls in early May, census takers have encountered vitriol, menace and flashes of violence. They have been shot at with pellet guns and hit by baseball bats. They have been confronted with pickaxes, crossbows, and hammers. They’ve had power lawn mowers pushed menacingly toward them, and patio tables thrown their way. They have been nibbled by a duck, bitten by pit bulls and chased by a pack of snarling dogs. …

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 was stunned, I really was, that America is so mad at the government,” said Chesney, who no longer works for the census. “People don’t know what it’s like out there. It’s scary and dangerous, and it’s not worth my life.”

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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