October 4, 2008

Posse Comitatus

William Faulkner, from Intruder in the Dust:

- a connection of brawlers and farmers and foxhunters and stock- and timber-traders who would not even be the last anywhere to let one of its number be killed by anyone but only among the last since it in its turn was integrated and interlocked and intermarried with other brawlers and foxhunters and whiskymakers not even into a simple clan or tribe but a race a species which before now had made their hill stronghold good against the county and the federal government too, which did not even simply inhabit nor had merely corrupted but had translated and transmogrified that whole region of lonely pine hills dotted meagerly with small titled farms and peripatetic sawmills and contraband whisky-kettles where peace officers from town didn’t even go unless they were sent for and strange white men didn’t wander far from the highway after dark and no Negro at any time - where as a local wit said once the only stranger ever to enter with impunity was God and He only by daylight and on Sunday - into a synonym for independence and violence: an idea with physical boundaries like a quarantine for plague so that solitary unique and alone out of all the county it was known to the rest of the county by the number of its survey coordinate - Beat Four - as in the middle twenties people knew where Cicero Illinois was and who lived there and what they did who neither knew nor cared what state Chicago was in

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