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Dispute over Census questions ends in Calif. woman's death

By Ed O'Keefe

A U.S. Census Bureau worker in California was threatened Thursday night by a man with a firearm, and the man's wife was later shot and killed by police officers.

Officials in South Yuba City, Calif., said that a census taker was confronted by a man who pointed a firearm at the worker and said he would not answer questions. The census worker drove home and reported the incident to her supervisor, according to the Census Bureau. The supervisor called police, who then responded to the residence.

When police arrived, the man answered the door armed with a handgun. His wife also approached with a shotgun, pointed it at the officers in a threatening manner and was later shot and killed when she refused to drop the weapon. The officers are on administrative leave pending an internal investigation, according to local news reports.

"Our employee followed procedures and immediately left the scene," according to Census Bureau spokesman Steven Buckner. No agency personnel were on scene "when events turned tragic," he said.

About 635,000 part-time census workers are going door-to-door to follow up at addresses that did not return a census questionnaire.

Violent and deadly incidents involving temporary census workers are nothing new: Six census workers died this month in car crashes and 21 employees died on the job between 1998 and 2008, including an Indiana woman mauled to death by a dog and a Kentucky worker whose death was ruled a suicide.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 21, 2010; 5:02 PM ET
Categories:  Census  
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Comments

I wonder what Michelle Bachman has to say about this.

Posted by: JRM2 | May 21, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

If the Census means we get to weed people like this out of the gene pool, so much the better.

Posted by: Dan4 | May 21, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

No doubt Obama will find a way to blame this on either Bush or the Cambridge MA Police Department.

Posted by: charlesbakerharris | May 21, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

I think this is so, so, sad. What on earth did these people believe was happening to them that they had to arm themselves against someone knocking on their door in order to ask the most simple and straightforward questions anyone could be asked?
Well, did they believe that the "government" was coming to take their guns away? And Obama sent them? Did they believe that someone with a fake birth certificate was coming to haul them off to Gitmo?
Or, did they believe that someone was coming to "check their papers" and was going to require them to prove they were actual citizens of the United States? Were they brown? Were they black? Were they white? Were they chocolate?
Did they believe that they weren't going to be allowed into any "private" businesses, just "public spheres"?
Who WERE these people and what did they believe? Whatever it was, it killed one them.

Posted by: cms1 | May 21, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

No doubt Obama will find a way to blame this on either Bush or the Cambridge MA Police Department.

Posted by: charlesbakerharris
_________________________________________
Silly bagger, this nonsense can clearly be laid at the feet of the tea baggers and the Republican enablers that encourage an atmosphere of fear, hate and distrust.

Posted by: Observer001 | May 21, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

"Silly bagger, this nonsense can clearly be laid at the feet of the tea baggers and the Republican enablers that encourage an atmosphere of fear, hate and distrust."

===

Nope, not a teabagger. Not even close. Hated the last idiot-in-chief, hate this one too.

Posted by: charlesbakerharris | May 21, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

This guy obviously didn't listen to Glenn Beck, or he would have heard that the Constitution requires a Census be taken every ten years.

What's that? Oh, Glenn Beck never mentioned that? Oh, he basically accused the government of trying to get information on people for the black helicopters to use?

Oh. Awkward.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | May 21, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I'll bet the neighborhood kids know better than to trick or treat at that house.

Posted by: hithere2 | May 21, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Very very sad, I don't know what it is, once you find you can pull the chain of crazy, you do...

Too much Fox tv coupled with sub par leadership.

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | May 21, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

This is sad, how can government- large or small- perform its function if citizens refuse to acknowledge their own existence. But look at the bright side, the more of these idiots that refuse to participate, the less representation they will have.

Posted by: jmdziuban1 | May 21, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

durn gubnent

Posted by: SofaKingCool2009 | May 21, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

I just don't get this paranoia, because that's certainly what it is: clinical paranoia. People who don't want to answer any questions should have a conversation with genealogists who -depend- on census records to know who their own ancestors were.

Posted by: josefkhen | May 21, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Cool

Posted by: _Cowabunga_ | May 21, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

And to think this happened in the most liberal of liberal states...

Posted by: thetan | May 21, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Well there is one less person to count.

Posted by: cleancut77 | May 21, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

"And to think this happened in the most liberal of liberal states..."

You'd be surprised how conservative California is outside of San Franciso, LA, and San Diego. Places like Yuba City are pretty solidly on the right, at least among the white folks.


in regards to the article:

What can I say? The b*tch was asking for it. You point a shotgun at a SWAT team, you're asking for a bullet to a kill spot. You don't take chances with those kinds of folks.

Posted by: j762 | May 21, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

"And to think this happened in the most liberal of liberal states..."

You'd be surprised how conservative California is outside of San Franciso, LA, and San Diego. Places like Yuba City have some pretty solidly rightist folks.


in regards to the article:

What can I say? The b*tch was asking for it. You point a shotgun at a SWAT team, you're asking for a bullet to a kill spot. You don't take chances with those kinds of folks.

Posted by: j762 | May 21, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

This does not come as a surprise. What is surprising is more Census takers were not harmed during this Census.

The purpose of the Census is to take a count of residents living in the states/regions (presumed to be here legally). This count is primarily used to determine the number of House representatives sent to Congress to represent the voters. It is also used to determine the number of Delegates and Super Delegates for the electoral college when selecting a President.

Americans are very angry that the Obama administration has spared no expense (tax dollars for a media blitz and $45/hour extra workers) to reach out to illegal aliens to skew the count, which skews representation and tax fund for programs for people who are not even supposed to be here, while benefits and services for citizens are being cut.

They want to know why how this administration justifies changing this Census form, giving special preference to the Hispanic race/ethnicity as a separate question, while all other races/ethnicities are clumped together in one question.

Never in the history of our country has there been such a large number of illegal aliens, and absolutely never has any administration ever reached out to them to abuse the Constitutional Process to determine representation in our states and Congress, redraw district (political) lines to reallocate tax dollars for programs for people who were never intended to receive them.

Americans know abusing the Census to gain a backdoor Hispanic voting block will give more seats to the Democrats by channeling more tax dollars to programs for Hispanics (legal and illegal) ... while benefits and services are being cut for citizens and legal residents. For this reason many Americans view this Census as an abuse of our Constitutional, being manipulated by this administration as a lead in to forcing another of his personal domestic agenda on the American people – an agenda that is not well received by a growing number of Americans.

BUT … Americans are even more disappointed that Congress sits in their Ivory Tower and does nothing.

Posted by: asmith1 | May 21, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

i'm american and i'm not angry that the Obama administration

Posted by: papadopoulos222 | May 22, 2010 2:03 AM | Report abuse

In order to apportion the number of Represenbtatives in Congress a census is required. Republicans have opposed using more accurate polling methods to gather this information because they benefit from the under-counting of minorities and poor people and the over-counting of "snow-birds" and vacation home owners.
However, this is a story about a homeowner pulling a gun on a government worker and then pointing a gun at a police officer. Unfortunate, not unexpected.

Posted by: MitchinADK | May 22, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Yep, definitely a Rand Pauler. One less person to count. Hey, in Virginia they coulda concealed that gun, in a bar. As long as they didn't drink. Go NRA, Rah Rah

Posted by: linda_521 | May 22, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

So did they count the wife? She was still alive when the census taker visited the house.

Posted by: eldergent | May 22, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Some of the comments are almost as disturbing as the incident. Some people seem to think that not fully trusting our government is a sign of insanity without recognizing the fact that the government has already given us a lot to be mistrustful about. Nobody can judge what really happened because the media have only provided one side of the story. We have yet to hear both sides. Maybe we never will.

Posted by: cwheckman | May 24, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

This is just stupid, and there was absolutely no call for it.

I did Census work a decade ago (and I also have a CHP). There's no way that the residents were justified in pointing a weapon at the field worker. The Nancy Reagan formula works just fine: "Just say NO." If he had done that, the worker would have tried to convince him, but if he had then said, "Go away" and closed his door, that's what she would have done. Eventually, he'd have been contacted again, and if he still refused, he might have been fined.

No guns, no one threatened, no one killed. As far as the wife threatening the police with a shotgun, all I can do is to quote a line from the Niven/Pournelle book OATH OF FEALTY:

"Think of it as evolution in action!"

Posted by: FreeRoy | May 24, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Sounds a bit on the totalitarian side. What is so important about the census that you would kill someone who wouldn't or couldn't answer the questions. It's overall less than 90% accurate so to get to 90.000001 % accuracy, shoot em up.

Posted by: stanishr | May 24, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Nice to know that the Pigs will kill you on your own property without a crime even being alleged, even in the Progressive state of California.

Posted by: jiji1 | May 24, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Claimed Census workers tresspass on your property, bring their dogs to bite you, include registered sex offenders, and might rape and/or kill you.

But if those actually reported news stories make you a bit nervous, don't worry. The Pigs will follow this up by coming to your house and murdering you in cold blood.

Posted by: jiji1 | May 24, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

BLAME IT ON THE REDs PROPAGANDA OF FEAR AND RACISM.

AND THE COWARDS DON'T EVEN HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO ADMIT THE RESULTS OF THEIR FEAR PEDDLING.

THE TRAITORS RUN FROM THEIR ACTIONS EVERY TIME.

Posted by: lquarton | May 24, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

If things like this happen every time a census is done, I don't think I would want to apply for the position. Especially when it is only a temperary job.

Posted by: mjj4677 | May 24, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Census workers are the worst. Think about it. They were willing to take temporary jobs during the Greatest Economic Recovery in History. With Obama having saved the economy and providing jobs to all, why would anyone take a temp job other than to look for people to rob and molest?

Posted by: jiji1 | May 25, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

A whole week of training. Wow. http://www2.dailyprogress.com/cdp/news/local/article/local_group_wants_investigation_into_complaint_of_agressive_census_worker/56275/ In what? Home invasion? To get to my front door, it would be necessary to get past my fence. After that, whatever happens to trespassers is nothing more than what they asked for.
Considering the Census Bureau's recruitment pool, no one is going to miss, let alone mourn the disappearance of an enumerator such as the one featured above. Who knows where the unstable wander off to? Who cares?

Posted by: beowulf3 | May 25, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh, come on, people, use your heads!

Do you really believe that you're justified either or morally in shooting someone who opens your gate and walks up to your door and knocks? I know of no state whose laws allow that -- or even for pointing a firearm at such a person!

The woman wasn't shot because her husband refused to answer census questions -- she was shot because she pointed a shotgun at a police officer. The officer was entitled to be there, as he was responding to a legitimate complaint about the husband brandishing a firearm and threatening the life of an innocent enumerator.

Point a gun at someone, and you're most likely going to have to answer questions from the police. Point a shotgun at a police officer, and you're probably not going to have a chance to answer questions.

SHEESH! I have firearms, and a CHP, and I open-carry on occasion just as a matter of principle, but THINK, people!

Posted by: FreeRoy | May 26, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

As an Enumerator working on the 2010 Census, I find that these comments mirror what I experience everyday, ranging from rumor and wild speculation to a threadbare understanding of the historical and constitutional precedent of the U.S. Census. Clearly, there are many in this country who are well informed. Unfortunately, their voices are rarely heard over the din. Interested in what's really going on? For a revealing look at the U.S. Census from inside the operations,"Exposing the Census Conspiracy" is a must read! Find it at http://mediadiscontent.wordpress.com/2010/05/26/subvert-the-government-not-the-constitution/

Posted by: rxnoise | May 27, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Having worked as an enumerator and experiencing managerial foul ups before we ever started to work, I can describe the situation in a short quip.

We the unwilling, led by the incompetent, have done so much with so little; we are prepared to do the impossible with absolutely nothing.

Anyone who places any faith the the enumerator acquired responses is an idiot.

Posted by: jackbrumbelow7 | May 27, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

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