July 28, 2010

When I first heard this story about a farmer from Port Townsend -- on the other side of Puget Sound from Seattle, the area where The Egg and I was set -- who had embarked on a bank-robbing spree, I was moderately intrigued. After all, rural hardship is often closely involved in these cases.

Fenter_df51f.JPG But it turns out that wasn't the case at all: Michael Fenter wasn't hard up for money to keep his farm afloat. Indeed, he didn't keep or spend any of the $86,000 he got away with: he gave it away, apparently to a right-wing Patriot organization or something very much like it.

This information was buried, actually, in the Seattle Times story by Maureen O'Hagan:

Calling it "one of the most perplexing cases" he's ever considered, U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle sentenced Fenter on Monday to 10 years in prison, and ordered him to make restitution to the banks. He walked away with $86,000 from the first three robberies, and that money has never been accounted for.


During the robberies, Fenter told bank employees that he was angry about the government bailout of banks. He said he was taking the money to give to people who needed it, according to court documents — though when asked about it by authorities he declined to provide details.

Upon his arrest, he said his name was "Patrick Henry," a Revolutionary War-era governor famous for his "Give me liberty or give me death!" speech.

One Bank of America employee said at Friday's sentencing hearing in Tacoma that she thinks about the robbery everyday and her heart races.

"He's a terrorist," she said.


As for the question why? Fenter said robbing banks wasn't to get money for himself or his family. Instead, he did it because he was a "true patriot." The money, he said, went to fund that cause.

"What I am for is real justice, real truth, and real accountability within our system of government," he said. "The money was used and is probably currently being used to get to the truth."

He did not make clear who was using the money — though he emphasized it was being used in a "peaceful" way. Nor did he say what, exactly, he hoped to learn.

I think it's funny that Fox News spends so much time whipping up hysteria over scary black people.

Because there sure as hell are some scary white people out there, ya know?

Can you help us out?

For nearly 20 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.