Public Sentiment in the Mountains

The real trouble was that public sentiment in the mountains was almost unanimously in the moonshiners’ favor. Leading citizens were either directly interested in the traffic, or were in active sympathy with the distillers. “In some cases,” said the Commissioner, “State officers, including judges on the bench, have sided with the illicit distillers and have encouraged the use of the State courts for the prosecution of the officers of the United States upon all sorts of charges, with the evident purpose of obstructing the enforcement of the laws of the United States.... I regret to have to record the fact that when the officers of the United States have been shot down from ambuscade, in cold blood, as a rule no efforts have been made on the part of the State officers to arrest the murderers; but in cases where the officers of the United States have been engaged in enforcement of the laws, and have unfortunately come in conflict with the violators of the law, and homicides have occurred, active steps have been at once taken for the arrest of such officers, and nothing would be left undone by the State authorities to bring them to trial and punishment.”