But may God have mercy, I'm not gonna hold back on this. I'm probably going to blow all the "goodwill" that I've earned as a "Christian writer" with this wad... but this is gonna be said and I don't give a flying rat's ass...
It's official: Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton took his own life, rather than go to prison. Monday he got the letter ordering him to report to federal penitentiary on Friday of this week. Later that afternoon he sent his wife to town for some errands. Shortly after she left Popcorn went to the barn behind their Parrottsville, Tennessee home, started up the beloved Ford Fairlane that he once bought with three jugs of his famous moonshine, and let the buildup of carbon monoxide seduce his weary mind into an everlasting slumber bereft of BATF agents and fame-jockeying prosecutors.
Marvin Sutton – better known as Popcorn Sutton – was an American original. The embodiment of rugged individualism. A paragon of the "live and let live" that once upon a time this country believed in. He was a product of his heritage, a practitioner of his art, and perhaps the last living link to a culture whose decimation is so actively sought by our "progressive" society that only the absence of guns spares it from the appellation "ethnic cleansing".
Monday afternoon, Popcorn Sutton died on his own terms. He left this world a free man.
And it was the god-damned aberration of decency and sanity that is the American government which made him do it.
The same American government that takes billions of dollars from you and me, and gives it to companies that should have suffered the consequences of their own incompetence and gone broke.
The same American government that takes even more money from you and me and passes it along as obscene "bonuses" to the very executives who drove those companies into the ground.
The same American government that has destroyed the industrial infrastructure of this country.
The same American government that lets MILLIONS of undocumented illegal immigrants flood across the border.
The same American government that now has a tax evader as the Secretary of the Treasury.
And yet in spite of all of this and more, this same government would have us believe that a 61-year old rail-thin, scraggly-bearded mountain man was a threat to the national economy?!
There is something that I have never, ever said before, either aloud or in print, but I gladly will now: FUCK THE GOVERNMENT!
So far as I'm concerned, the federal government of the United States committed murder. It didn't have to take Popcorn Sutton's life on its own.
Hell no. It did its damndest to do worse than that.
It had to try to kill his spirit. It had to assassinate Popcorn Sutton as a character. So he had no choice but to deny it the satisfaction of killing him in body.
Popcorn Sutton never harmed anyone. He made moonshine. That is not a sin or something that is morally evil. Hell, Popcorn's moonshine was widely reputed to be the safest product around. Nobody ever got sick or went blind from drinking his stuff (unless they imbibed too much of it). Go watch Neal Hutcheson's wonderful documentary The Last One: moonshining was never something that folks in the backwoods did just for the heck of it. More often than not it was something that was needed. In one of the bonus materials on The Last One DVD, Popcorn demonstrates how moonshine can be used as the basis for a cough and cold syrup. In the days before Wal-Mart landed a Supercenter in every nook and hollow of Appalachia, that was the only way to produce effective medicine.
But the god-damned judges, prosecutors, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms agents, and their worse-than-worthless sycophants and "useful idiots" in a lot of the media, decreed that to make alcohol without a license is a dire sin. And the license itself costs an unconscionable amount of money. Popcorn Sutton didn't have enough coin to open up a full-blown brewery, and he didn't particularly care to either. He just wanted to make enough for his own needs, and a few others.
But the government wanted its cut. How much would that have been? A few hundred dollars? Likely a couple thousand at the most. How much would it have cost to give Popcorn three hots and a cot in federal prison for eighteen months? A helluva lot more than that.
Was that worth wasting the money to pursue, prosecute and attempt to imprison the man? Was it worth driving him to take his own life?
Most people reading these words, know the answer to that question.
But the soulless, heartless, unholy juggernaut of the federal government, doesn't give a damn. Think any of the agents or prosecuting officials in Popcorn's case are going to shed any tears?
Fucking automatons, all of 'em.
And meanwhile, the real criminals of this land are still in Washington, still on Wall Street, still sitting high on the hog and sucking the fruit of our labors. Bernard Madoff? He's just a token gesture. His only "serious" mistake is that he got too greedy. So he'll go to prison for the rest of his life (if even that long) and the bastards of Absolute Power will keep feigning indignity and have to suffer the inconvenience of the occasional "congressional hearing"... and it will just be Business As Usual™.
Because there are different rules for Them and for Us. They can get away with it. People like Popcorn Sutton are too small to "matter". The little people have to be quashed at every turn, lest they get too uppity.
I defy anyone to tell me that there is something right in a country where a well-connected businessman or politician can abscond with millions or billions of taxpayer dollars and escape with a slap on the wrist, while someone like Popcorn Sutton gets hounded to the bitter end.
No one can tell me that there is anything right with that.
Like I said: FUCK THE GOVERNMENT!
Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton: killed by a performance of Prosecutorial Theatre, produced by his country, the United States of America.
He was a Free Man. One of the few who can honestly say they deserve that title. The chains never came to rest upon him.
Can any of us say the same?
You can live on your knees, or die on your feet. You can be safe, or you can be free.
A man chooses. A slave obeys.
Popcorn Sutton was disobedient. He chose his life, all the way to the end.
And if nothing else that I say makes an impression, I will let Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton himself deliver the parting words to those who would enslave others, carved in the footstone that he already had prepared for his eventual gravesite: