“I am Shawn Earl Gardner, live man, flesh and blood,” he proclaimed.

As Andrew Sullivan notes, “Even David Simon couldn’t make this up.”

Judge Davis and his law clerk pored over the case files, which led them to a series of strange Web sites. The fleshand- blood defense, they discovered, came from a place far from Baltimore, from people as different from Willie Mitchell as people could possibly be. Its antecedents stretched back decades, involving religious zealots, gun nuts, tax protestors, and violent separatists driven by theories that had fueled delusions of Aryan supremacy and race war in gun-loaded compounds in the wilds of Montana and Idaho. Although Mitchell and his peers didn’t know it, they were inheriting the intellectual legacy of white supremacists who believe that America was irrevocably broken when the 14th Amendment provided equal rights to former slaves. It was the ideology that inspired the Oklahoma City bombing, the biggest act of domestic terrorism in the nation’s history, and now, a decade later, it had somehow sprouted in the crime-ridden ghettos of Baltimore.

I love Maryland, where drug dealers rely on white-supremacist legal defenses; Prince George’s County police kill dogs; the flag-ship University is a joke, catering to every possible “educational” interest group possible, whilst neglecting the important studies; and State delegates crawl into bed with a local manifestation of corporate America.

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