Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Think 2016 was the first time federal employees faced threats? Think again.

...Threats to public servants in the performance of their duties is nothing new, however. What’s surprising is that one of the earliest cases of credible threats to federal employees in the West came not from the radical right, but from the lunatic left. Ask Oregon’s Jerry Grover, an affable, gregarious retired fish hatchery manager. Grover knows what it’s like to survive an assassination “hit list.” As do a dozen or more other refuge and hatchery workers throughout the Pacific Northwest, and extending into the Intermountain West and points east. Their nemesis was not a posse of range-riding Marlboro Men seeking occupation, but wan, waif-like Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, seeking revenge. The tale dates to the dark, waning years of the Age of Aquarius, when western public servants found themselves squarely in the cross-hairs of the infamous Manson family and its camp followers — a story that’s kicked around the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as “urban legend” for decades, unreported but entirely true. Fromme, 27, was one in a motley cadre of hippie-chicks cavorting in Charles Manson’s cult commune in southern California in the late 1960s. Their antics degenerated into the chilling blood-fest in the Los Angeles hills known as the Tate-Labianca murders in 1969. By 1975, against the sensational backdrop of the Patricia Hearst kidnapping, Fromme pulled a .45-caliber Colt semi-automatic on President Gerald Ford as he strolled to the California state capitol in Sacramento. “Environmental justice” was Fromme’s newest hobby. Fromme went to prison for her stunt. Uncovered in her apartment was the “hit list” she and roommate Sandra Good had compiled for their “International People’s Court of Retribution.” Estimated from a few dozen to as many as 300, Fromme’s list fingered refuge managers, predator control agents, and office bureaucrats. Grover, 80, made the list, as did nine Fish and Wildlife Service employees in New Mexico, a Corvallis academic, a backcountry condor researcher, a Bellingham law enforcement agent, the manager of Oklahoma’s Washita National Wildlife Refuge, and a fish lab supervisor at New York’s Cornell University...more

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