This week's cover story has a lot of accusations being thrown around: It has Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich warning that "folks that want to overthrow the government," accusing a local state Rep. Matt Shea of "preaching hate and falsehood," of getting elected based on fear. He doesn't call Shea terrorist or a white supremacist, but he does warn that anti-government rhetoric could inspire anti-government violence.
It also has a state representative predicting government collapse, accusing the sheriff of lacking integrity, and saying things like "I'm going to submit today, that the Southern Poverty Law Center — and the sheriff that backs them — is the most dangerous organization in this country."
There's the challenge. How do you communicate that that on a cover? We wanted an illustration that would capture both the way the sheriff sees himself and the way that his critics see him.
So we commissioned an illustration by artist Jeff Drew, and photoshopped Knezovich's head on (it's larger than life to show that it's an artist's rendering, not a staged photograph). It shows the sheriff standing on a big, mean-looking snake atop a pile of the "Don't Tread on Me" Gadsden Flags. (It isn't the original Gadsden Flag used in the American Revolution, mind you. The green grass at the bottom of the flag show's it's a later version.) It symbolizes a number of things:
First, the sheriff has specifically aligned himself against elements of the local Tea Party, who he sees as pushing dangerous rhetoric.
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