Alabama hostage-standoff guman Jimmy Lee Dykes – anti-governement survivalist or pot smoker?

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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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36 Responses

  1. Avatar Sam Wilkinson
    Ignored
    says:

    Given that one network perpetually given to lying like crazy is offering the “he’s a druggie!” analysis, my bet is on the other option.Report

  2. Avatar greginak
    Ignored
    says:

    Crazed killers are like the weather in Alaska. If the weather doesn’t suit you, just wait an hour, it will change. If the current crazed killer doesn’t suit your angle or ideology, just wait a week, the next one will.Report

  3. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    “Jimmy Lee Dykes”

    Three names mean you know he’s bad news.

    The media also frequently calls him a ‘decorated Vietnam veteran’, when all he got were the thanks for showing up medals (e.g. Vietnam Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal)Report

  4. Avatar cfpete
    Ignored
    says:

    Tod,
    Just reading the articles you linked (the CNN article also links to Fox), I can’t see how anyone could reach the conclusion of your post.

    From the Fox News article, the only mention of marijuana is this:
    “He had some scrapes with the law there, including a 1995 arrest for improper exhibition of a weapon. The misdemeanor was dismissed. He also was arrested for marijuana possession in 2000.”

    At the bottom of the Fox article is this:
    “The Associated Press contributed to this report.”

    Doing a simple search I can find the same criminal history reported in newspapers all over the nation. For example Denver Post

    Searching for Jimmy Lee Dykes and marijuana just brings up other references to the criminal history.
    The only thing I can find that cites marijuana as a contributing factor is what I assume is an ironic post: Celeb Stoner

    Also in the Fox article:
    “Dykes, also described as a loner who railed against the government, lived up a dirt road outside a tiny hamlet north of Dothan in the southeast corner of the state.”

    So where is this great partisan war over this event?
    I can’t find it.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to cfpete
      Ignored
      says:

      Oh, I’m not suggesting that the stories try to hit you over the head with anything. But for a story like this, everyone generally has the same bucket of limited facts to run with.

      There is no doubt in my mind that there are very strong reasons why one network decided to quote all kinds of speculation, but leave the word “survivalist” entirely out while noting that the guy had smoked pot; likewise there is no doubt in my mind why those on the other side made opposite choices.

      I will bet you $5 that within 48 hours, conservative talk radio stations will be bashing the LSM for erroneously calling the guy a “survivalist” and ignoring the fact that guy was a pothead, and their counterparts will be saying this is exactly what happens when we let right wing politicians spew their anti-govt propaganda.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        I should probably add that this would be a $5 bet I would love to lose.Report

        • Avatar cfpete in reply to Tod Kelly
          Ignored
          says:

          This is from ABC news: ABC

          “Melissa Nighton, the city clerk in Midland City, said a woman had been praying in the town center Monday afternoon. Not long after, the mayor called her with news that Dykes was dead and that the boy was safe.

          “She must have had a direct line to God because shortly after she left, they heard the news,” Nighton said.

          Neighbors described Dykes as a man who once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe, threatened to shoot children for setting foot on his property, and patrolled his yard at night with a flashlight and a firearm.

          Government records and interviews with neighbors indicate that Dykes joined the Navy in Midland City, serving on active duty from 1964 to 1969. His record shows several awards, including the Vietnam Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. During his service, Dykes was trained in aviation maintenance.

          He had some scrapes with the law in Florida, including a 1995 arrest for improper exhibition of a weapon. The misdemeanor was dismissed. He also was arrested for marijuana possession in 2000.

          He returned to Alabama about two years ago, moving onto the rural tract about 100 yards from his nearest neighbors.

          Ronda Wilbur, a neighbor of Dykes who said the man beat her dog to death last year with a pipe, said she was relieved to be done with the stress of knowing Dykes was patrolling his yard and willing to shoot at anyone or anything that trespassed.

          “The nightmare is over. It’s been a long couple of years of having constant stress,” she said.

          Authorities have said Dykes gunned down 66-year-old bus driver Albert Poland Jr. before taking the boy from the bus. Poland, who was buried Sunday, has been hailed as a hero for protecting the other nearly two-dozen children on board from harm.

          “This man was a true hero who was willing to give up his life so others might live,” Gov. Robert Bentley said in a news release Monday after learning of the boy’s rescue.

          This is from Fox:
          “Melissa Nighton, city clerk in Midland City, said a woman had been praying in the town center Monday afternoon. Not long after, the mayor called with news that Dykes was dead and that the boy was safe.

          “She must have had a direct line to God because shortly after she left, they heard the news,” Nighton said.

          Michael Senn, pastor of a church near where reporters had been camped out since the standoff began, said the boy was always on his mind.

          “So when I heard that he was OK, it was just like a thousand pounds lifted off of me,” he said.

          Throughout the ordeal, authorities had been speaking with Dykes though a plastic pipe that went into the shelter. They also sent food, medicine and other items into the bunker, which apparently had running water, heat and cable television but no toilet. It was about 4 feet underground, with about 50 square feet of floor space. The little boy requested Cheez-Its and a red Hot Wheels car, both of which were delivered to the bunker.

          On Sunday, more than 500 people paid final tribute to the driver that was killed, 66-year-old Charles Albert Poland Jr., hailing him as a hero for protecting the other children on the bus.

          Poland is now “an angel who is watching over” the little boy, said Dale County School Superintendent Donny Bynum, who read letters written by three students who had ridden on Poland’s bus. “You didn’t deserve to die but you died knowing you kept everyone safe,” one child wrote.

          Outside the funeral, school buses from several counties lined the funeral procession route. The buses had black ribbons tied to their side mirrors.

          Dykes grew up in the Dothan area. Mel Adams, a Midland City Council member who owns the lot where reporters are gathered, said he has known Dykes since they were ages 3 and 4.

          He said Dykes has a sister and a brother, but that he is estranged from his family.

          Adams said he didn’t know what caused the falling-out, but that he knew Dykes “had told part of his family to go to hell.”

          Dykes, also described as a loner who railed against the government, lived up a dirt road outside a tiny hamlet north of Dothan in the southeast corner of the state. His home is just off the main road north to the state capital of Montgomery, about 80 miles away.

          Government records and interviews with neighbors indicate that Dykes joined the Navy in Midland City, serving on active duty from 1964 to 1969. His record shows several awards, including the Vietnam Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. During his service, Dykes was trained in aviation maintenance.

          At some point after his time in the Navy, Dykes lived in Florida, where he worked as a surveyor and a long-haul truck driver. It’s unclear how long he stayed there.

          He had some scrapes with the law there, including a 1995 arrest for improper exhibition of a weapon. The misdemeanor was dismissed. He also was arrested for marijuana possession in 2000.

          Dykes returned to Alabama about two years ago, moving onto the rural tract about 100 yards from his nearest neighbors, Michael Creel and his father, Greg.

          “He said he lived in Florida and had hurricanes hit. He wanted someplace he could go down in and be safe,” Creel said. Authorities say his bunker is about 6 feet by 8 feet, and the only entrance is a trap door at the top.

          Neighbors described Dykes as a man who once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe, threatened to shoot children for setting foot on his property, and patrolled his yard at night with a flashlight and a firearm. Michael Creel said Dykes had an adult daughter, but the two lost touch years ago.

          The Dykes property has a white trailer which, according to Creel, Dykes said he bought from FEMA after it was used to house evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. The property also has a steel shipping container — like those on container ships — in which Dykes stored tools and supplies.”

          It is all from the same AP pool report.
          I will take your bet. In 48hrs nobody will be talking about this.

          The only real partisan bullsh*t I can find about this event is here.Report

          • Avatar RTod in reply to cfpete
            Ignored
            says:

            OK, I’ll bite… Which party am I a partisan for?Report

            • Avatar cfpete in reply to RTod
              Ignored
              says:

              Tod,
              There is nothing here. You are decrying the partisan hackery of others while providing no evidence of partisan hackery. It seems that no one really cares enough about this event to initiate the requisite partisan sh*tstorm.

              No one except you that is.
              I don’t know what to tell you.
              Either you are full of sh*t to begin with or you have become that which you most hate.
              I’ll leave it to the gallery.Report

  5. Avatar Pinky
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m disgusted by the exploitive nature of this kind of coverage, politics or not. I don’t want to hear 911 calls on the news. I don’t want to hear from grieving parents. I DON’T want anything that puts the spotlight on the killer/nutbag/whatever that might inspire some other creep to seek the same “glory”.Report

  6. Avatar Kazzy
    Ignored
    says:

    “…how can I make the other side of the aisle look bad, so that my own guys look awesome?”

    Do they even care about the second part any more? They so often seem solely invested in JUST making the other side look bad for the sake of doing so, regardless of how it makes their own guys look.Report

  7. Avatar Damon
    Ignored
    says:

    This is why I generally don’t watch television “news”.Report

  8. Avatar Shelley
    Ignored
    says:

    Maybe it’s not as dark as all that. You can also think that MSNBC was trying to find a next-step political or social thought that might lend meaning to an otherwise meaningless tragedy.

    If we can do something to make it less likely next time, or to handle it better, then it’s not so despair-inducing….Report

  9. Avatar George Turner
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ve worked in Dothan on several occassions and liked the area. That said, when a post starts with “First of all, let me say upfront how happy I am for both Dykes’ child hostage and the boy’s family, that the boy appears to be safe and unharmed,” it sets up expectations for a bizarre and completely different story, possibly involving an ET segment on a cell-phone hack of Charlie Sheen’s goddesses and a child actor, or possibly not. Somewhat disappointingly, this post just didn’t go there. ^_^

    Anyway, last night I told some house guests that it was a good bet that the police would run a tiny low-light camera down the ventilation pipe when they were sure the gunman was asleep, otherwise they’d have no idea what to expect (booby-traps, barricades, etc) if they needed to force an entry. One guest suggested they should pump a small amount of carbon monoxide down the pipe to knock everyone out beforehand, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they did something like that, too. Perhaps the series of negotiations could be summed up as “We’re building trust. We’re building trust. We’re building trust. Oh snap!”

    As for the marijuana angle, the only relevance I can come up with is if the gunman at some point was growing weed or planned to grow it and wanted to make darn sure that no neighbors would stumble across his crop and turn him in.

    People are often derisive about anti-government survivalists, but it’s the pro-government survivalists who are really scary, with their underground command bunkers in DC, Virginia, and Cheyenne Mountain, not to mention their fleet of nuclear submarines.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to George Turner
      Ignored
      says:

      “when a post starts with “First of all, let me say upfront how happy I am for both Dykes’ child hostage and the boy’s family, that the boy appears to be safe and unharmed,” it sets up expectations for a bizarre and completely different story, possibly involving an ET segment on a cell-phone hack of Charlie Sheen’s goddesses and a child actor, or possibly not. Somewhat disappointingly, this post just didn’t go there. ^_^”

      moneyReport

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