It's all over the news that Murphy, North Carolina is a hotbed of militia groups, civil war wannabes and various elements of the fire bombing Christian right. From my perspective, Murphy is the town 30 miles east of Shoal Creek Falls where I am currently hiding out. Murphy's much bigger than Copperhill, and has more stores, more gas stations, more stoplights and, currently, more TV crews and satellite trucks than Copperhill. Murphy, in case you wanted to know, is on the map. This is, of course, a Really Big Deal since Murphy hasn't gotten any airplay in a while. Not since General Scott rounded up the Cherokee and shipped 'em all to Oklahoma where the bullets come rushing 'cross the plain. But I digress:

In case you don't get enough CNN in your diet, some wacko named Rudolf either blew up an abortion clinic or saw the guy who did (in the mirror, presumably) causing the FBI to descend on Murphy like the Keystone Cops meet Men In Black.

The Feds look like the White Boys From Brazil: All in near-identical black suits, pasty white northern skin and high-and-tight over the ears hair. They fit right in with the mountain men and Lynrd Skynrd fans who stare and stare and stare.

For example, at the Bi-Lo on Monday::

"Federal agent, ma'am [flashes ID] have you seen this man [shows picture]?"

The brother needs to give the X-Files Approach a rest. You can imagine the disbelieving look he got from the lady who almost certainly knows the man in the picture, and may probably have seen him as recently as 30 seconds ago on Aisle 6.

"Nawsir."

Some bright guy in Silver Springs figured out that No One Seen Nothing, as they say, and that perhaps there was something to the theory that mountain people don't have much to say anyway, especially to Federal Agents in black suits. Just ask Randy Weaver.

So they FedEx'd in a whole pile of suitable attire -- which is funny as hell.

Dig this:

Here in the West Mountains people shop at Goody's, Walmart, they make their own or steal someone else's. Anyone with expensive outdoorsy thread is either from up north, or on a photo shoot for the new L.L. Bean catalog. They ain't, as they say, from around here.

So here comes the same titanium dioxide white Yankee boys now dressed up in REI jackets, L.L. Bean boots and shirts from the Banana Republic. The dudes look like New Age Marlboro Men, and now provoke belly laughs from locals when they show up in groups of three or four all wearing identical $200 dollar lace up mountain boots.

But it works. People are walking right up to them and offering information: "Hey G-man, hadn't seen Eric nowhar. Buahahahaha."