Society

Portland, Ore., Flyers Appearing To Threaten Food Stamp, Disability Recipients Cause Neighbors Alarm

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During last year’s presidential campaign, Mitt Romney notoriously derided the “47 percent” of Americans who supposedly mooch off the government and don’t pay taxes. His running mate, Paul Ryan, had a long record of dividing society into “makers” and “takers.” In fact, personal anger toward people who need public assistance to get by has long shaped the debate over social policy.

But someone in Portland, Ore., is taking that anger to a new extreme.

Flyers signed by a person calling himself “Artemis of the wildland” were found affixed to the front doors of private homes in southeast Portland this week, threatening to name food stamp recipients who lived in the area.

"Dear Reader of This Note,” the flyer began. “There are twenty seven people in this neighborhood who vote and receive food stamps. The names of these people are being posted where they can be seen by taxpayers and the neighborhood can decide who is truly in need of food.”

A similarly worded note (pictured) appeared early in August, singling out people who receive disability benefits, and saying, “"Benjamin Franklin said 'when the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.’”

That quote was not actually uttered by Benjamin Franklin, though it is popular among conservatives to attribute it and similar quotations to historical figures.

Portland residents have not taken kindly to the notes.

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"The weaker people in our society, a good culture takes care of them, they don't degrade them," said River Gibeaut, who discovered the notes on his neighbors’ homes.

"That's just morally wrong, people shouldn't be doing stuff like that, especially targeting the disabled, they have a hard enough time as it is, without people causing problems for them," said another resident James Knapp.

Police are now looking for “Artemis of the wildland,” though they say they just want to talk to him and doubt there is any crime to investigate.

SOURCES: KFVS Channel 12, Fox 12 Oregon, Atlantic Wire, Huffington Post, Associated Press, Mother Jones