Sunday, November 19th, 2017

I count two


I love this story.

Mike Durfee seems like a reasonable guy. He’s a retired Milwaukee police detective. He teaches criminal justice at UWM.

And he’s a U.S. census resister.

“I’m being harassed by the Census Bureau,” were the first words out of his mouth when he called me last week. “They’ve been to my home nine times, and they can’t find the form I sent in.”

That sounded odd until Mike explained that he filled in the numeral 2 for the number of people in his household and left the rest of the form blank, including names, sex, dates of birth, race and whether he owns or rents.

When I visited Mike’s home on Milwaukee’s far north side, he whipped out a pocket-sized copy of the U.S. Constitution and read from Article I, Section 2, Paragraph 3. It says the people shall be enumerated every 10 years. Enumerated, Mike stressed. That number at his house is 2. End of discussion.

Guys like this are a challenge to the Census Bureau. The feds need all the information, so they send out workers to get it in person. It’s a classic battle of wills.

I especially love the part about answering the door when the census workers arrive and just holding up two fingers. He’s not being hostile. He’s not threatening them. He just has a reasonable expectation of being left alone.

If the government ever decides to fine Durfee ($100), I hope his neighbors pass the hat. You can put me down for $5.

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