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Profiling Polygamists

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Profiling Polygamists

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Recently, FLDS spokesman Willie Jessop objected to the “profiling” of polygamists by law enforcement personnel. I understand concerns about profiling; one reason I began writing was to erase the caricatures of polygamists entertained by the general public and replace these stereotypes with the experiences of real people who live a stanch and often harrowing way of life. But I can’t fault law enforcement officers for circulating a list of “people to watch” because polygamists have revealed a capacity for intimidating and even violent behavior. Authorities informed Teressa and Elissa Wall that a jail guard had intercepted a note written by the recently-sentenced Warren Jeffs stating, “God wants them dead.” Such subtle threats can be carried out, especially by extremists who would willingly die or harm others to prove their righteousness. My father’s assassination by polygamists, who plotted to take over his following, stands as proof of this. If only there’d been a list in 1977, when they marched, under orders from their “prophet,” into my father’s office and emptied a pistol into his neck and chest.

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