Michael M. Phillips in the Wall Street Journal:

ScreenHunter_1433 Oct. 17 19.19There was nobody in Jimmy Lee Dykes’s life to take the edge off his anger.

He had long ago lost touch with an ex-wife and two daughters. His older girl recalled his fondness of firearms and a hatred of authorities; how he smelled of spearmint, coffee and cigarettes; how he beat her mother.

Mr. Dykes, a Vietnam veteran, worked as a land surveyor and a truck driver. He was fired from his last hauling job after a dispute with his boss and at age 65 ended up living on the edge of a peanut field in a town of 2,400 in southeastern Alabama, growing vegetables and collecting grievances.

Metal cattle gates opened to his acre-and-a-half property, located at the crest of a rutted, red-dirt road. He landscaped with cinder block and laid out a pond and garden. Mostly, though, his land resembled a scrub-covered parking lot for his maroon-and-silver Econoline van, a 40-foot shipping container and, up on blocks, his home, a scruffy trailer left over from a federal disaster-relief program.

In jeans and a T-shirt, with lightning-strike white hair, Mr. Dykes roamed his property shooting grasshoppers with a pellet gun. He talked about putting out bowls of antifreeze to poison neighborhood dogs that soiled his property.

In early 2012, Mr. Dykes drove his next-door neighbor, Michael Creel, to the Wal-Mart and spent the ride fuming over a new gun law. On the return trip, Mr. Dykes mused about taking people hostage in a church some Sunday until a reporter broadcast his views against the law.

More here.