Defining Derp Down

Despite the elegance and intuitiveness of the theory, a good deal of fairly rigorous analysis has shown over the last two decades that the so-called “broken windows” theory didn’t turn out to be valid, at least not in terms of reducing the most serious crimes by taking a more vigilant approach toward enforcing laws against petty crimes. (For keeping your dorm room livable, it’s probably fair to say the theory has been infinitely validated.) But the ‘stand off’ at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is turning out to be a validating case study: the reluctance of federal authorities to enforce the law has triggered a slow but measurable growth of law breaking which was likely latent in the white rural male culture of violence but held somewhat in check by law enforcement.

Yesterday morning, Harney County Sheriff’s deputies were forced to arrest Joseph Stetson, a white man who said he was on his way to join the stand off and wanted to “protect” the Bundys and act as their “personal guard.”

Alas, Stetson was only carrying a pellet gun and was apparently very drunk when locals rang up the Sheriff’s Department to alert them of an armed man at the local mini-market.

Through the encounter with police, Stetson appeared to momentarily forget what town the stand off was being held in, which law enforcement officers he was trying to kill, among other details. (Also note that extremely patient Sheriff’s Deputy repeatedly telling the man that his gun was making him nervous and could he have it.)

From our write up

The deputy then placed Stetson, who was armed with a pellet gun, in handcuffs, which sent Stetson on a rant about how he would kill the officers.

“I will kill all of you. You don’t believe me?” he told the deputies present. “If I go to jail and when I come out, I will kill you.”

He then said that “you damn sons of bitches are freaking Nazi Germany.”

Stetson tried to wiggle away from the deputies as they tried to pat him down, calling them “Obama sons of bitches.”

He said that he would not kill state troopers, but other officers.

“State troopers are the last hope,” he said.

Apparently Stetson was in his own standoff with police in 2009 when he was holed up in mobile home before finally surrendering to police.

Watch the video of Stetson’s arrest here.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Edblog
  • |
    September 30, 2022 1:26 p.m.

    It’s interesting to step back sometimes and consider the possible big pictures of our times. These connections won’t be new…

  • |
    September 30, 2022 10:26 a.m.

    A series of polls out of Wisconsin show why you simply cannot ever count Ron Johnson out, unfortunately. Johnson has…

  • |
    September 29, 2022 6:20 p.m.

    Do take a moment to read Josh Kovensky’s report here on Judge Cannon’s latest order. It’s hard to capture just…

  • |
    September 29, 2022 4:32 p.m.

    A new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast is live! This week, Josh and Kate discuss a charcuterie tray of…

Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: