More violence in Missoula

by jhwygirl

These attacks are so vile, I am ashamed for my community.

Two attacks last weekend, one on a 29-year old woman, another on a 22-year old male, were both accompanied by anti-gay epitaphs and slurs.

These violent attacks have been occurring for years. Yet little pro-active outreach seems to being done. A liason officer was created to reach out to the gay community.

Maybe that outreach is misguided. Maybe education need to be outreached through the university and our high schools? To people who obviously aren’t being raised correctly by their parents and other significant adults?

The City police have said that these attacks aren’t increasing.

Another violent attack on two men, near the Hip Strip left two men with serious injuries – one with injuries likely to deform his face permanently.

Not all of these violent attacks have been anti-gay motivate – in September of 2005, Iraqi war veteran, Marine corporal Travis Barstad was nearly killed in a violent attack just off of Higgins Avenue, downtown. His friend, Seth Whitfield, an Army Ranger and decorated Iraqi war veteran was also assaulted.

Yet another Iraqi war veteran – who also served in Kosovo – was violently assaulted also, downtown.

Last weeks second attack, on the 22-year old guy, only came to light during an interview by Tristan Scott, of the Missoulian, of the female attack victim.

Makes you wonder what you don’t hear about.

  1. goof houlihan

    Perhaps there ARE reasons to keep local government priorities on the straight and narrow; chief among them being public safety.

  2. Hmmm…so, you’re suggesting that by allowing the city’s citizens to vote on the Iraq War referendum the City Council inspired bigots and bullies to assault random people in Missoula?

  3. goof houlihan

    No, that one hadn’t occurred to me. Has public goodwill been that damaged? I did think of getting into “majoritarian bullying” a few days ago but just couldn’t get inspired.

    I am suggesting that there are limited resources available to local government. Two of those are “public goodwill” and “public awareness”. Local governments use that public goodwill, just as they use other limited resources such as money, or staff time, to accomplish the priorities set by council. What local governments choose as priorities does matter, because all of these are limited, almost zero sum resources.

    “Priorities” are just that. One, two, three, maybe priorities a year. Public safety, health, welfare, or if you will, Police, zoning and planning, transportation, affordable housing, can all be pretty tough issues that use the resources I named.

    I believe there are reasons to focus on the three mandates of local government rather than straying off into federal issues that have nothing to do with partisan politics, or potholes.

    Posters on here tended to minimize local government’s issues down to “potholes”. I think this article reminds us that they are far weightier than that.

  4. goof houlihan

    To clarify, “reasons, that have nothing to do with partisan politics, or potholes, to focus on the three mandates of local government rather than straying into federal issues.

  5. I meant that perhaps you were assuming once City Council strayed from the “basics” (as defined by the person making the argument), somehow government resources were taken away from fighting crime. I think no matter what local government chooses to deal with–potholes or war–there’s no way to completely predict the location or the reason (well, other than alcohol, bigotry and stupidity) for the next assault. Even if City Council stopped talking about chickens and the Iraq War tomorrow, that wouldn’t mean the next person walking alone downtown at 2am would be protected from a bunch of fucktards. The cops have the resources on hand to deal with these incidents already. They just have to do their jobs.

  6. goof houlihan

    I do think that, in the particular way that I explained. Community resources are something of a zero sum game, in my experience.

    I don’t know about available police resources, but jhwygirl’s post focused less on police presence than it did on “pro active outreach”. Some of that might work, but not like a better police presence.

    I wonder what the businesses down there think of their customers getting beaten?

  7. Yes, she talked more about changing hearts rather than City Council policy. But that’s harder to do. So long as political leaders tolerate and encourage bigotry to improve their chances at the ballot box, there’s little incentive for some people to reject ignorance, hatred and violence. Every time an anti-gay marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution is proposed in Congress, someone somewhere is given hope that their homophobia is justified.

  8. I, for one, won’t take family downtown at night when they are here to visit. And I myself won’t, on the very infrequent times I go down there, stray far from the main street.

    Bozeman isn’t immune to random over-the-top violent attacks. I searched the archives over at the Chronicle and couldn’t find a bigger story, but I got this one out of the Missoulian.

    That guy may have died.

    I did make a point of saying that not all of these nasty attacks seem to be anti-gay motivated. But I do think if legislation that made anti-gay attacks somehow more serious – like racial attacks – then maybe it should be done.

    I’m really shocked about the humanity in this – that one human could so horribly and randomly attack another. How to solve that? I don’t know. I do know where it begins – and it ain’t getting done for some.

  9. Call me foolish, but I still walk around downtown at night during my usual pub Bible study group crawl. ;-)

  10. No one’s ever accused me of being overly paranoid. :-)

  11. goof houlihan

    “I, for one, won’t take family downtown at night when they are here to visit.”

    Bozeman is NOT immune to battery downtown and I know of several cases. Which is one of the reasons that there was a levy for fourteen new officers on this year’s ballot.

    So visitors feel safe and don’t confine themselves out in Generica, know what I mean?

  1. 1 Violence brought to our community by who?! « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] More violence in Missoula […]

  2. 2 Help Fight Hate & Violence « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] wrote about some of these violent attacks. We also speculated “Makes you wonder what it is that you don’t hear […]

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