Something Feral

Digging up the flower-beds.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Whiskey in the Jar

An unfortunate end to a notable character:
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Famed Appalachian moonshiner Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton, whose incorrigible bootlegging ways were as out of step with modern times as his hillbilly beard and overalls, took his own life rather than go to prison for making white lightning, his widow says.

"He couldn't go to prison. His mind would just not accept it. ... So credit the federal government for my husband being dead, I really do," Pam Sutton told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday from the couple's home in the Parrottsville community, about 50 miles east of Knoxville.
I am sad that it came to this, and I pray that his soul may find solace in the days to come.

Rest in peace, Popcorn, and to Hell with the Revenuers.


Wonder Woman said...


He broke the rules, his punishment was set out before him, he couldn't bare this punishment and ended his life.

Sad, on a few levels, actually. Even with a name like "Popcorn" things aren't all that tickity boo.

Something Feral said...

From some of the other news I've heard regarding his health, a prison sentence would have likely killed him. I'm not saying I condone taking one's life, but if he was faced between dying at home and dying in a cage, I can't deny understanding his thought-process.

This is just another example of the State "making an example" instead of attempting to find a constructive solution for mala prohibita "transgressions".

Wonder Woman said...

Yes. Again, he broke the law. His punishment harsh, indeed. His reaction, unhealthy to say the least.

Prison or not prison... Hmmm. It would be a tough call, thankfully I don't intend to break a law confining me behind bars :)

What are those jail type laws again?


Something Feral said...

Well, that's the trouble: it depends on where you are, and just because it's "law" doesn't make it right. This is my primary reason for supporting jury-nullification to the extent that I do; I won't convict someone for breaking a law that violates inalienable rights of life, liberty and property.

Part of the problem with the legal system here is the sheer quantity of laws that one could be in violation of at any time. Obviously, the criminal intent doesn't exist, but that doesn't hold much water with federal prosecutors.

(I'm not going to start a rant now about people that are "too well-connected" to prosecute, either, vis-à-vis Congress, the Executive and Judicial branches of government.)

Elle said...


Wonder Woman said...

Wow, is she with you?


My number one promise to any man: I will NEVER nag you :)

PS. Caturday morning on Sunday was an interesting "change"...

MikeT said...

I can't say that I'm sympathetic to his suicide or the idea of it being cruel for him to die in prison. I am, however, sympathetic to the idea of cutting back on the restrictions on moonshiners. However, let's face it, if we did that, there wouldn't have been much money in what these guys do, and that wouldn't sit well with them either. They like the prohibition's increase in profits, but don't like the prohibition's criminal penalties for those who choose to rake in the profits.

Something Feral said...

Funny you should bring that up, MikeT, as there was a large shift from moon-shining to the cultivation of cannabis when popularity and illegality of the plant made it a more profitable enterprise, particularly with regard to maintenance, restriction on locations and hardware.

As for Sutton's prison sentence, it's distasteful on a number of levels; jailing a non-violent offender is wasteful, particularly one that is in ailing health. Futhermore, given that "tax offenses" are somewhat en vogue inside the Beltway, all of which are resolved without jail-time and exceed public tolerance in both magnitude and expectation of ethical behavior from an elected official, to say that this sort of treatment is acceptable is a bit of a stretch.

Heavy-handed treatment of citizens exacerbates the feeling that politicians, law-enforcement and other "watchers" are above the law. There were numerous avenues open to the court here, but that a jail sentence was put forward as the means to deal with a repeat non-violent offender on a mild tax-issue speaks volumes of the standard of justice in the legal system.