Don't let Janet Reno hear about this case

Here in New Hampshire, we have our share of kooks. One of them is a guy named Ed Brown, who’s convinced himself that the income tax is voluntary, and he ain’t volunteering any more. He’s converted his Plainfield home into a fortress, and is defying the government to come get him.

Naturally, the government didn’t agree. They arrested him and put him on trial. Halfway through his trial, he pulled a Cartman (“Screw you guys, I’m going home.”) and stopped showing up. The trial continued without him, and he was convicted.

The US Marshal, Steve Monier, has been authorized to arrest Brown since the middle of January, but he’s in no great rush to toss him in the clink. He knows that this sort of situation is touchy, so he’s taking it easy. Once a day or so, he calls up Brown and invites him to come on in and get all this straightened out. And once a day or so, Brown tells him to go pound sand.

I think it’s a sound strategy. Brown isn’t really posing a danger to anyone while he’s in his home, and he’ll be arrested once he leaves. He isn’t really much of a threat. And as long as he remains barricaded in his home, it’s not that much different from being in jail — without the cost to taxpayers.

It’s not quite the full “Molly Ivins” solution (back during the Branch Davidian standoff, she proposed building a big fence around their compound and declaring it a new state prison), but it seems workable.

And Brown’s supporters — especially those on the internet — are dropping daily from sheer boredom.

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