April 16, 2013

Sam Mullet

Sam Mullet

The story behind the bizarre conviction of sixteen Amish men and women starts back in 1995, when Sam Mullet Sr. and his followers settled in Bergholz, OH. From the beginning, doubts arose as to whether or not these settlers were really Amish. Then Mullet excommunicated some followers, leading 300 “ordained Amish officials” to sanction him

An expert on the Amish testified that the community soon developed “cult-like features.”

Those features included a controlling, authoritarian figure; threats of physical punishment to coerce people into obedience; the development of distinct and unique practices or rituals; and the creation of an ideology….

(This sounds absolutely nothing like an all-powerful state adjudicating religious disputes, then shipping offenders to out-of-state prisons where their relatives can’t even visit them.)

Some of you are thinking, “Surely this crazy Mullet guy is guilty of something”€”incest, embezzlement”€”but the authorities had to get him on ‘hate crimes.’ It’s like Al Capone ordering the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre but being jailed for tax evasion.”

Which, I maintain, was one of the worst precedents in legal history.

I’m supposed to be impressed because the state-run protection-racket monopoly can only manage to convict a brazen felon on charges of, basically, not giving the state its share of the proceeds of a “crime” that was the state’s idea to begin with?

What’s the point of locking up one criminal when you’ll still have hundreds of them”€”armed and wearing Chicago police uniforms“€”on the public payroll?

(Also? Seven dead mobsters: bug or feature?)

Fast-forward to 2013. Those clever feds are at it again. Let’s see Brian De Palma squeeze a slick, hagiographic movie out of this tale:

[T]he beard trimmer, shears, and disposable camera used by Mullet’s followers…were all manufactured outside of Ohio, you see, so clearly this was a case that cried out for the Justice Department’s attention. And did I mention that the beard-cutting fanatics mailed a letter at one point and even used a highway (although they never actually left the state)? I got your federal jurisdiction right here.

A 67-year-old American citizen is about to begin a 15-year prison term”€”in other words, a life sentence”€”for being a nonconformist religious weirdo in a country founded by nonconformist religious weirdoes.

Funny, I don”€™t feel any safer.



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