Editor and Publisher John Q. Murray on the Danger of Constitutionalists

by jhwygirl

A little over a week ago I wrote about the Mineral County Sheriff’s race which was turning strange – in my opinion – with a candidate promising to sue the county in which he was seeking a job. He also promised not to enforce federal laws.

This kind of talk is dangerous. Frankly, it’s a little crazy.

Mineral County is facing a financial crisis (as are many government entities here and around the U.S.) – and along with the sheriff’s race, the primary election also includes a 3-year temporary 25-mill levy to ensure adequate staffing for the sheriff’s department. One candidate is against the levy, yet – of course – this teabagger state’s right fiscal conservative Constitutionalist would sue the county (with what $, I don’t know) in order to get the staffing that the county sheriff’s department so desperately needs.

Mineral County, though is facing a larger crisis of ideology. They’ve been through this before, and John Q. Murray reminds Mineral County residents – and the rest of us – with an interview with outgoing Sheriff Hopwood of the dangers Constitutionalists like Rand Paul and (while he doesn’t mention him by name), primary sheriff’s candidate Ernie Ornelas.

And he’s right – they’re not crazy – they’re dangerous.

If anyone has been up Fish Creek recently, they know that there is one of these lunatic Constitutionalists established up there, staking claim to parts of the Lolo National Forest. These people are scary, make no mistake.

Murray gives readers a history lesson in not only Mineral County’s not-too-terribly-recent past, but the Civil War and the dangers of these political ideologues that wage a verbal and ideological war against the U.S. Constitution. The take that foundation of our very government and twist its words to try and deflate its importance in an attempt to make not only states (but in this case) local sheriff’s supreme.

And while it may sound like crazy talk, and something that should be ignored, the reality is that turning the other way is more dangerous as this talk fertilizes the community as a haven for others to plant themselves.

Right here in Mineral County, Sheriff Hugh Hopwood has encountered self-professed “Constitutionalists” and “free white males” who claim they are not subject to taxes and motor vehicle laws. Elsewhere they have filed bogus tax liens against elected officials, convened their own grand juries, and issued bogus warrants to arrest judges and sheriffs.

“We worked very hard, for years, starting under Sheriff O’Brien, to get the White Supremacists and the Constitutionalists under check. We were the laughingstock of the nation when the Church of the Creator held their meetings here, and when the Church of the True Israel held their meeting up Highway 135,” Sheriff Hopwood said. “I’m worried that Mineral County will be seen as a place favorable to those extreme points of view. Once you open that door, then it is hard as hell to get it closed again.”

The danger isn’t from the people currently in Mineral County. They know their local and state candidates and their characters. The danger is from people outside who will interpret these statements as establishing a safe haven for racism and anti-government agitation. A very real danger is that they will misconstrue these remarks as suggesting a nice big welcome mat for white supremacists.

Mineral County needs the door not only shut tight, but locked, deadbolted, barred, and wired with live current to keep out the white supremacists and their twisted brand of evil.

Murray, former sheriff O’Brien, current Sheriff Hugh Hopwood and sheriff’s candidate Mike Johnson (who has directly challenged the notion of a Constitutionalist sheriff who won’t enforce federal laws) are bravely doing the job of true patriots – standing up to hate and dangerous ideology much like those that spoke out against the South as the dangerously brought this country to civil war.

I laud these guys for doing this – and I hope that the residents of Mineral County understand the dangers they face and turn out in droves to shut Ornela down.

Further confirming that Ornelas is dangerous is the fact that he was endorsed by the one-man show, Missoula’s Gary Marbut/Montana Shooting Sport’s Association. Please note in this video that he calls himself president of the MSSA, and refers to it as political action group and touts the number of laws he has pushed through the Montana legislature.

Marbut has failed to register as a lobbyist for his work in Helena – where, during legislative sessions, he lives Monday-Friday. He’s also known for his intimidation tactics to those who won’t vote for his gun bills (and was pretty darn successful at it last session). Rep. Margie Campbell stood up and pleaded with the even split house and urged her fellow Democrats to not cave to the intimidation tactics of the gun lobby. Unfortunately, they did not listen to this wise woman (who is not anti-gun), and passed several horrible gun bills including HB228 and HB246.

Both were signed into law by Governor Brian Schweitzer.


  1. Lizard

    do you know who else is dangerous? presidents who expand special ops into over 75 countries and presidents who give the constitution the big middle finger by trying to assassinate american citizens with predator drone strikes, denying constitutionally mandated due process.

    but i guess it’s a lot easier (and politically safe) to point to the local crazies than acknowledge how ultimately destructive obama’s continuation of bush’s foreign policy will be for this nation still reeling from wall street’s rapacious appetite for our tax dollars.

  2. teste meipso

    White, male supremacy, overturned by the fourteenth amendment.

    Planning to kidnap and kill county officials.

    Establishing a theocracy.

    Calling other races, “mud people”.

    Fake check scams.

    Brandishing weapons in the courthouse.

    Filing multiple liens and taking over other peoples’ homes.

    These are real examples. jhwygirl brings up very real issues with this post. I see no reason to attempt to change the subject. Kudos to you jh. It could be dangerous to shine a light on this stuff.

    • Lizard

      my examples of dangerous federal policy, teste, are real as well. and it’s not changing the subject. it’s highlighting the continued tyrannical direction of the federal government, which is a major factor contributing to the rise of the extreme right, and makes recruiting new nutjobs that much easier, just like predator drone strikes makes it easier to recruit radical islamic terrorists.

      just because obama is a seemingly more intelligent democrat version of an imperialist doesn’t mean the continued fascist slide we’ve been experiencing has abated. in fact only a smooth talking democrat could continue moving us toward fascism because he effectively neutered the anti-war, anti-imperial opposition from the left against george bush.

      now don’t get me wrong, i think the folks j-girl’s post highlights are potentially dangerous. BUT they don’t have the kind of power the federal government has. they don’t kidnap people and torture them. they don’t shovel our tax money to insolvent banks, or outsource jobs to china.

      no, they are the predictable extremist response to unchecked federal power, and if people on the “left” are scared of them, then they should hold their team more accountable.

  3. Pilot

    Dr. George Tiller, and OB/GYN who performed third term abortions in problem pregnancies, was stalked, with the help of Operation Rescue West, by Scott Roeder. After missing him at the church he attended and volunteered for, for two weeks, Roeder finally encountered him during services and shot him in the head and threatened to kill two other church ushers.

    From Wikipedia:

    Scott Roeder had been a member of the anti-government Montana Freemen group and was convicted in 1996 on explosives charges after police officers discovered a fuse cord, a pound of gunpowder and nine-volt batteries in the trunk of his car. The Kansas Court of Appeals overturned this conviction in 1998, ruling that the search of Roeder’s car had been illegal.

    According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Roeder belonged to an anti-government extremist group called the Sovereign Citizen Movement, which believes that virtually all existing government in the United States is illegitimate. The ADL also noted that Roeder had a worthless “Sovereign Citizen” license plate on his vehicle when he was arrested in 1996. ADL National Director Abraham Foxman stated that “Roeder’s attachment to extreme causes extended beyond anti-abortion extremism. His extremism cross-pollinated between anti-government extremism and anti-abortion activism and led to violence and murder.”

    After being charged with murder, Roeder called the Associated Press from the county jail to counter his having been characterized in the press as having been anti-government. Roeder told the reporter, “I want people to stop and think: It is not anti-government, it is anti-corrupt-government.”

  4. Peter

    Rep. Margie Campbell stood up and pleaded with the even split house and urged her fellow Democrats to not cave to the intimidation tactics of the gun lobby.

    And yet, it looks like Rep. Campbell voted in favor of both HB228 and HB246. Is that because she did not want to stand up for her principles and be labeled as “anti-gun”, making it harder for her to get elected next time?



  5. Big Swede

    I also heard the never wear seat belts and pull off mattress tags.

  6. klemz

    Hells bells. Rand Paul is never going to win the Kentucky Senate seat now that he’s lost the endorsement of the outgoing Mineral County sheriff.

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