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Census Worker Violence: Going Census is the New Going Postal

Census Worker Violence: Going Census is the New Going Postal

What would make you mad enough to pick up and throw a metal patio table at a woman? Acceptable answers might be:

    •    ‘She was threatening me with a gun.’
    •    ‘I caught her trying to abduct my child.’ 
    •    perhaps even ‘She was a zombie and was trying to eat me.’

One answer not making the list: ‘She was a census worker and wanted to talk with me.’

And simply asking to talk with a woman working in her garden is exactly what got that aforementioned patio table thrown at Sherri Chesney. As a census worker, Chesney, 46, visited the woman in an attempt to get the gardener to fill out this year’s US Census form. Thankfully Sherri ducked and was unhurt. She also no longer works for the census.

Sadly, this was far from an isolated incident. An article in the June 20th edition of The Washington Post states that this year alone, the ‘Bureau has tallied 379 incidents involving assaults or threats.‘ This is more than twice as many as during the 2000 Census. Some of these incidents can surely be chalked up to an irrational fear of strangers, mental illness or just an overblown fear that individual privacy is being compromised by acknowledging one’s existence. Many more, however, are a direct result of deep-seated hatred and distrust of all things government. All of which begs the question, ‘What is the census and how does the government use the information?’

What is the census?
This one’s simple. The official U.S. Census is described in Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States which reads [emphasis added:]“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.”

How is census information used?
Census information is used, among other reasons, to:

    •    draw state legislative congressional district lines
    •    calculate the distribution of federal funds for programs like Medicaid
    •    plan school locations
    •    figure out where roads should be built
    •    identify population trends that can help identify future needs 

A valid question: If the government doesn’t know where its people are located, then how can it ever hope to provide the services that those same people have come to expect from their government … and in many cases, upon which they’ve come to depend?

You do not need to know the secret handshake to gain access to census data.
Did you know the information collected by the census is compiled and made available to anyone who wants to see it? Simply point your web browser to http://factfinder.census.gov/ and get ready to have some fun. On these pages you’ll be able to find answers to nearly any question you can think up about the US and it’s people … all 309,548, 978 of them (as of this writing!) Curious about your own town? All that information is there, just waiting for you to grab it.

Census takers — at least those who have not quit in fear — will be out knocking on doors through July. Please do not follow the lead of one Marion, Ohio, homeowner who elected to beat the census taker with a metal bat. Remember, no matter what your political leanings, when you get right down to it, we’re all in this together. The 2010 Census is simply a way for us to figure out how many folks actually encompass that ‘all.’

For more information about the 2010 US Census, visit the Census 2010 website.

Read more: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Photo Credit: 2010 Census
By Jim Pietrangelo
WebCamp One, LLC

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76 comments

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10:43AM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

The violence is uncalled for I agree, but I refuse to fill out the census just so the people that have 5 kids but won't work because the expense for daycare outweighs the benefits of working can get more food stamps and welfare does not sit real well with me at all. I am sorry but the sensus does not benefit people like me who actually work to provide for our family.

1:56AM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

Crazy! Violence begets violence.

2:08PM PDT on Jul 9, 2010

I think you were right on with the opinion that this sort of violence is the direct result of a deep-seated hatred and distrust of the government...That is also what is stopping this government from doing something to help remedy the situation.

7:20AM PDT on Jul 5, 2010

Fill out the form and get over it. Or move to a place that doesn't ask for these things.

The woman throwing the table should be charged with something.

6:43PM PDT on Jul 2, 2010

It's unjustified violence.

5:41PM PDT on Jul 2, 2010

Ridiculous! Stupid minded people who doesn't realize that without this information, then our government can't make sure where the money is really needed in each state! Throw the book at people who resort to violence against people who are only trying to help them!

2:32PM PDT on Jul 2, 2010

@Wowsux Sux, Your nom d' plume says EVERYTHING. In your paranoia you seem to feel the need of hiding behind a fake (and quite silly) name. You try to act like Billy-Bad-Ass and cannot even crawl out from the Internet shadows.

This WOULD be funny and I might disregard your comments as comical but then you have the audacity to speak for "Americans". Perhaps you should be more specific next time. Who you MIGHT speak for is the Tin-Foil-Hat-Brigade, that delusional, and thankfully miniscule, segment of the far right fringie-mcfringertons.

Further, you don't even get that "this administration", your euphemisim for that 'black guy in the Whitehouse', rolled back some, but not enough, of the Bush Administration's truly invasive incursions like warrantless wire-tapping of ALL Americans under the, so called, P.A.T.R.IO.T. Act.

Now I am quite disappointed that President Obama has decided to keep this act in place, while gutting some of the more heinous practices allowed under this act, but even YOU can't possibly lay this at the feet of ANY other persons than Co-Presidents Bush and Cheney!

Really, what box or cave have you been living in during the Co-Presidents rule? Now there was a time when rule by the wealthiest 2% of the Nation was truly a risk! Where were your protestations then, hmmm??? Or was it just fine by you because they were good ol' boys????

And as to your "chalk it up" comment: THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR VIOLENCE AGAINST A CENSUS WORKER!!! Ask your Mommy!

2:29PM PDT on Jul 2, 2010

Wowsux Sux, Your nom d' plume says EVERYTHING. In your paranoia you seem to feel the need of hiding behind a fake (and quite silly) name. You try to act like Billy-Bad-Ass and cannot even crawl out from the Internet shadows.

This WOULD be funny and I might disregard your comments as comical but then you have the audacity to speak for "Americans". Perhaps you should be more specific next time. Who you MIGHT speak for is the Tin-Foil-Hat-Brigade, that delusional, and thankfully miniscule, segment of the far right fringie-mcfringertons.

Further, you don't even get that "this administration", your euphemisim for that 'black guy in the Whitehouse', rolled back some, but not enough, of the Bush Administration's truly invasive incursions like warrantless wire-tapping of ALL Americans under the, so called, P.A.T.R.IO.T. Act.

Now I am quite disappointed that President Obama has decided to keep this act in place, while gutting some of the more heinous practices allowed under this act, but even YOU can't possibly lay this at the feet of ANY other persons than Co-Presidents Bush and Cheney!

Really, what box or cave have you been living in during the Co-Presidents rule? Now there was a time when rule by the wealthiest 2% of the Nation was truly a risk! Where were your protestations then, hmmm??? Or was it just fine by you because they were good ol' boys????

And as to your "chalk it up" comment: THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR VIOLENCE AGAINST A CENSUS WORKER!!! Ask your Mommy!

7:13PM PDT on Jul 1, 2010

I just don't understand the need for violence.

1:56PM PDT on Jul 1, 2010

NOoooo..."chalk it up" to people being fed up with government interference into our personal lives.

Why was anyone in someone's garden? My front door the at the "front of the house".

Americans are sick and tired of this administrations assult into everything. They act as if we are their children that must do as they deem fit.

So until they start listening to us, they will continue to be surprised that the American people are not slaves to the elite that think that they know better.

Stay off of my property unless invited in. If the gate is opened, come in. If is it closed knock and I will decide if and when I answer

Not the government

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