It seems somehow appropriate that Erie County Council member Ebert Beeman is being charged with fraud for using two separate Social Security cards.
There really are two distinct perceptions of the man out there, and we may never fully know which one is closer to the truth.
There is Ebert Beeman the anti-government crusader; a guy who says the state has no right to make him get a driver's license or pay taxes or fill out all of that nonsense paper work.
A guy whose beliefs makes him his own worse enemy.
And there is Bill Beeman, the name on the second card he got in the early 70's. Is this Beeman a sly con man, someone who uses the very system he criticizes to delay and confuse, all in an attempt to avoid rendering unto Caesar?
Eight times Beeman has been cited for driving without a license. That's mostly a nuisance crusade so far.
But the federal government takes a far dimmer view of what it sees as using fraud to avoid the tax man.
Did Beeman know the IRS was sniffing around his doings when he used both numbers to help secure credit cards and a car loan?
Beeman says he applied for and received the cards legally so he uses them interchangeably.
Yet he agreed to plead to four of eight counts of fraud.
An attempt to withdraw that plea was denied and now jail time waits.
This will all eventually lead to a process called Quo Warranto, the means by which society can question and eventually remove someone from office.
It's not easy for those in power to usurp the will of the people and it shouldn't be.
Beeman lawfully rode a wave of anti-government anger into office and it should take a rare circumstance to remove him.
Committing multiple felonies may be one of those.
In the end, both Beemans are failed experiments.
We still have to get a license to drive, fill out the papers and pay our fees and taxes.
If the goal was to get away with something the IRS is seizing just about every asset the man has, and he may spend a few years in jail to boot.
In any case, the result of all of Beeman's doings will be the same.
He will leave jail one day, a penniless, admitted felon.