Upon the Blue Ridge Mountain, there I’ll take my stand,
A rifle on my shoulder, six-shooter in my hand
Henderson County, NC is a pretty quiet place. Located in the Appalachians, it’s about 113,000 people living in a hilly 373.07 square miles. According to the 2015 Census, it’s population is 92.7 percent white, with a median income of just $25,617.
If ISIS even knows it exists, which is doubtful, they probably wouldn’t consider it a high-value target for terrorism.
But Bob Heltman, Republican-appointed chair of the Henderson County Board of Elections, doesn’t want to take any chances. In an August 16 public meeting, Bob presented the idea of deputizing and arming private citizens, invoking posse comitatus, for the purpose of patrolling the polls during the coming elections.
Of course, the first thing you think of, when you imagine armed civilians at polling places, is voter intimidation. After all, North Carolina has been at the forefront in the fight for voter I.D. cards, and has historically taken a dim view of certain people being allowed the vote.
And it may be just that simple, in this very red county, that Mitt Romney carried with 63.2% of the vote in 2012. And some folks in the area, don’t think Republican nominee Donald Trump has much of a chance.
But you know, Mr. Helton and the rest of the Henderson County Board of Elections, seem to be genuinely worried about a terrorist attack. At the meeting, they passed out a flier, titled See Something, Say Something. It was full of helpful tips, and situations to look out for, such as:
- Person loitering
- Person out of place in environment
- Person improperly dressed for season or environment
- Fixed stare
- Multiple persons changing direction simultaneously
- Person whose appearance or manner makes you feel uneasy
Maybe they should have named the flier, You’re Not From Around Here, Are You?
The list itself seems problematic on many levels. If 50s sitcoms can be believed, loitering is a favored pastime in rural southern communities. And given the choice between voting for a Democrat or Donald Trump, a certain amount of fixed staring and agitation is almost to be expected.
As for “People whose appearance or manner makes you feel uneasy,” Bob Helton has some very strong feelings about that. He described refugee resettlement as “stealth traitorism”[sic] and “theological prostitution” in a November “message” to TarheelTeaParty.org. He also suggests that if you “just trust the government” on the issue, you can “kiss America goodbye for your children and theirs.”
So, if Bob Helton, an appointed member of the government, tells you not to trust the government? Maybe there’s something to that. I don’t think I trust Bob very much, at all.
Image from: EzumeImages