Archive for the ‘Forrest Clayton Salcido’ Category

by jhwygirl

Anniversary or special dates are all unique – some are on a particular day of the week (Thanksgiving, for example), while others are a particular day (July 4th, for example).

Two years ago on Wednesday, December 5th, Forrest Clayton Salcido was murdered at the California Street Bridge. His lifeless body was found the next morning, and by Friday two local teens were arraigned for his death.

Little has changed since that night two years ago. The situation may actually be worse. Every night hundreds of homeless fend for themselves on the streets of Montana. They are cold, they are tired and they are hungry. They are also easy targets for random tragic acts of violence. Many of them are veterans – but in today’s economy, they can be homeless single parents with children, just as easily as they can be teens that have been bounced from home to home, until they, too, are finally homeless.

Day in and day out, a wide assortment of agencies here in Missoula work to assist. The Poverello is surpassing the number of beds it has nightly. Red Cross, Salvation Army….3:16 Mission – local churches and probably a number of individuals also add to the number of beds.

Other places aren’t as fortunate. Today I came upon a situation in Hamilton, and for this particular situation (a single father), I found nothing available to him there to address his immediate situation.

The basic human need of shelter should know no denial. This isn’t politics – it’s humanity.

Below is a repost of my thoughts from last year. Please join me tomorrow night (December 2nd) to light a candle for Forrest Clayton Salcido and the other scores of homeless who will be sleeping somewhere other than a warm dry bed. They are not invisible, nor are they forgotten.

~~~~~
One year ago tomorrow December 5th, Forrest Clayton Salcido was brutally stomped to death – murdered – for no excuse other than being somewhere at the wrong time, and encountering the worse of human kind.

Salcido, 56, was a Navy veteran of the Vietnam war. He was known as a kind and gentle soul, who was more comfortable – despite family in the area – braving the elements and shunning the rat race. He had worked for years at the Evans mill after leaving the service, and later MRL when the mill closed.

I had met Forrest, briefly, in mid-October, while home in mid-day for lunch. He was rooting through the dumpsters, collecting aluminum cans – and had huge bags tied to his bike. I waved and said hello, and ran inside and grabbed my recycling cans to give to him. It was a Wednesday. We struck up a conversation. He was pleasant and sociable – and other than the more-than-usual amount of necessities he had tied to his bike, one might never have known he was living on the street. As we parted, I asked him if he collected cans regularly, and he said he did it every Wednesday because (if I remember correctly) Pacific Recycling paid double for aluminum.

So I started collecting the cans at work. I missed the next week, but the following I left them out the back door in the morning, and they were gone when I got home. I mighta got another two batches out there for him – but later there was another that wasn’t picked up.

Forrest was murdered on a Wednesday.

A week later, when I saw this story in the paper, I got sick to my stomach all over. I say all over, because as I had read the coverage of his senseless murder that previous week, I had been sicked to think that someone would meet such a horrible end for nothing other than ‘I’m having a bad day’ reasoning.

But there was his picture. Forrest Clayton Salcido was the guy I had struck up a conversation with just what seemed just a few short weeks ago. I knew then why that bag of cans was still sitting out the door.

Months and months later – maybe it was spring this year? – I found another guy reaching through the dumpsters nearby for aluminum. It was a Wednesday. He’s a military veteran also. Pleasant, sociable – his hobby is race cars. He stops by every Wednesday to bring another veteran who is a neighbor a warm lunch or dinner meal and a visit of conversation. I occasionally take that same neighbor a meal (on the rare occasion I cook something that he can eat – he likes my stew and my chicken and dumplings), but not nearly enough.

I try every week to get my workplace’s cans brought home with me on Tuesdays, and set them out there for my neighbor’s friend to pick up. Remembering Forrest Clayton Salcido reminds me to do it – and for a year now, I don’t think there’s been a Wednesday, whether I get the cans out there or not, that I don’t think of Forrest.

Forrest’s death opened the ugly door to the realities of life that homeless people face amongst our oh-so-civil world. On any given night in Missoula, more than 500 are homeless. A canvas done in 2008 turned up 906 homeless people in Missoula County. Nationally, more than 1 in 4 homeless are military veterans. The VA estimates that 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. 400,000 will be homeless during the course of a year. 11% of Montana’s population are military veterans. Is this how we treat the men who sacrifice so much to defend our freedom? Councilman Jon Wilkins spoke eloquently about just this issue on Veteran’s Day last month. If you didn’t see it then, you should read it now.

His murder also shed some more undesirable light on the ugly violence that is here in Missoula – that many choose or refuse to acknowledge. Salcido’s murderers were an 18-year old Hellgate High senior and a 20-year old friend. What environment – what community – unwittingly fostered a situation that created such monsters? That may be tough to hear – but this paragraph and the paragraph above it are all questions we should be asking ourselves.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I believe I will make a trip down to the bridge tomorrow at darkness and light a candle for Forrest.

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by jhwygirl

I voraciously read and watched and twittered (tweeted?) the Missoulian trial coverage. As a news addict, and being what it was, it was an unsettling feeling. The coverage – the writing, the video stuff? – was so excellent that I compare my recent addiction to my need to check the news every 5 minutes during the beginning throes of the stockmarket/economic meltdown.

Unsettling because of the content it produced. This link will take you to the entire Missoulian coverage since jury selection.

As if reading my mind – I almost email Tristan Scott, the Missoulian reporter, telling him that the story I wanted to hear was Strahan’s mother’s – he deftly covered Strahan’s testimony, and accompanied it with this video. I’m not sure if the video was done by Tim Akimoff (who I know was doing earlier video, and who gains credit for the photo associated with the above-linked Missoulian article.)

That one story evoked stronger emotions in me than anything I can recall in reading all that I had read about Forrest Clayton Salcido’s murder. His last moments – how it senselessly began – how Salcido had the upper hand initially – how Strahan had tried to intervene when St. Dennis began his stomping – and the callous senseless inhumane way in which it ended. The mother who’s son had come home, drunk bloody and shaken, crying. How she came to pick up the phone and call the police the next day.

Scott’s blog, Cops and Courts, has additional coverage.

Understanding the brutality with which Salcido faced his death, and seeing Strahan’s testimony on video, I find myself struggling with an amount of sympathy for Strahan. Certainly more for his mother. Should I? And yet could it have all had never happened if not for other events earlier in the day?

The local Havre Daily News has provided some coverage too. While difficult to read, Leeds rambling coverage tell us that Strahan’s mother had bought the punks their “double-quart” (from Scott’s coverage) of vodka (from Leeds). (The Havre Daily News has this story, which details St. Dennis’ jailhouse phone call confession, and this one which opens the trial.)

What if?

Also out of Leeds’ story we find that after the initial attack, but before the stomping, Salcido had attempted to leave and Strahan had told St. Dennis “not to follow him.”

Leeds’ rambling run-on style illustrates, if anything, the difficulties Missoula County attorney Van Valkenberg had in pulling out these seemingly minutia-like details.

In the video that accompanies Scott’s report on Strahan’s testimony, you can hear Van Valkenberg go back at Strahan after he testifies that he hadn’t stomped on Salcido – “now, are you aware that there has been a forensic examination done of the toe of your shoe?” and Strahan answers “yes.” Van Valkenberg continues: “.. and are you aware that there is blood at the toe of that shoe?” and Strahan answer “yes.”

The verdict, if the twitter times were right, was sometime after 3 p.m. yesterday. Scott has “raw video” of the verdict being handed to the court by the jurors – and it also includes video of St. Dennis’ reaction.

He seems almost excited about the sentencing.

How you prosecute the crime of what were a man’s last moments in life, how you bring to horrible light its horrible brutality, how a reporter covers it, and how a public defender has to defend it, I can not imagine having to be so immersed in something so utterly utterly horrible. It’s work that must be commended, despite how much I’d rather it not be needed at all.

Forrest Clayton Salcido was given some justice this week. There will be more. Too bad it had to happen at all.

by jhwygirl

…you know – one of the two that murdered Forrest Clayton Salcido?

I just want to say that Missoulians are getting some great coverage of a trial I’d just as well wish never had a reason to happen. Both the Missoulian and NBC local televison KECI have sent reporters to Havre for the trial which was moved because of overwhelming news coverage of Salcido’s murder in early December 2007.

Tristan Scott and Tim Akimoff from the Missoulian are there (Tristan being the court reporter, Tim doing video). There have been close to if not more than a dozen stories out of Havre since the trial began on Monday.

They’re both also Twittering. Or Tweeting…whatever the kids are calling it these days. tristanscott and timakimoff if ya’all are tweeting. Me? I’m still trying to figure out what it’ll come in handy for, but I have to admit it does seem nifty.

Because there are so many stories – but this would be good stuff regardless – I wish the Missoulian had a list of all related stories at the end of the web versions. The Montana Standard does it, and I think its great. Keeps me reading

KECI, I know, has a reporter and camera person there too (at least). I caught the coverage on Monday and Tuesday, but missed last night’s edition. Being horrible with names, I’m pretty sure it is the eager Jackie Bartz.

So good stuff for us Missoulians from the Missoulian and KECI. I know I’m watching and reading.

As an aside – I hate that the focus of coverage – and even look at my headline there – is on the criminal rather than the victim. I understand why a real news source can’t put up a headline like “Salcido’s Murderers on Trial,” which is actually what I wanted to put up. Once the criminal element becomes known in any crime, the coverage focus shifts from victim to criminal. I don’t know whether, ultimately, that is right or wrong. It’s something I notice and think about, though.

by jhwygirl

One year ago tomorrow December 5th, Forrest Clayton Salcido was brutally stomped to death – murdered – for no excuse other than being somewhere at the wrong time, and encountering the worse of human kind.

Salcido, 56, was a Navy veteran of the Vietnam war. He was known as a kind and gentle soul, who was more comfortable – despite family in the area – braving the elements and shunning the rat race. He had worked for years at the Evans mill after leaving the service, and later MRL when the mill closed.

I had met Forrest, briefly, in mid-October, while home in mid-day for lunch. He was rooting through the dumpsters, collecting aluminum cans – and had huge bags tied to his bike. I waved and said hello, and ran inside and grabbed my recycling cans to give to him. It was a Wednesday. We struck up a conversation. He was pleasant and sociable – and other than the more-than-usual amount of necessities he had tied to his bike, one might never have known he was living on the street. As we parted, I asked him if he collected cans regularly, and he said he did it every Wednesday because (if I remember correctly) Pacific Recycling paid double for aluminum.

So I started collecting the cans at work. I missed the next week, but the following I left them out the back door in the morning, and they were gone when I got home. I mighta got another two batches out there for him – but later there was another that wasn’t picked up.

Forrest was murdered on a Wednesday.

A week later, when I saw this story in the paper, I got sick to my stomach all over. I say all over, because as I had read the coverage of his senseless murder that previous week, I had been sicked to think that someone would meet such a horrible end for nothing other than ‘I’m having a bad day’ reasoning.

But there was his picture. Forrest Clayton Salcido was the guy I had struck up a conversation with just what seemed just a few short weeks ago. I knew then why that bag of cans was still sitting out the door.

Months and months later – maybe it was spring this year? – I found another guy reaching through the dumpsters nearby for aluminum. It was a Wednesday. He’s a military veteran also. Pleasant, sociable – his hobby is race cars. He stops by every Wednesday to bring another veteran who is a neighbor a warm lunch or dinner meal and a visit of conversation. I occasionally take that same neighbor a meal (on the rare occasion I cook something that he can eat – he likes my stew and my chicken and dumplings), but not nearly enough.

I try every week to get my workplace’s cans brought home with me on Tuesdays, and set them out there for my neighbor’s friend to pick up. Remembering Forrest Clayton Salcido reminds me to do it – and for a year now, I don’t think there’s been a Wednesday, whether I get the cans out there or not, that I don’t think of Forrest.

Forrest’s death opened the ugly door to the realities of life that homeless people face amongst our oh-so-civil world. On any given night in Missoula, more than 500 are homeless. A canvas done in 2008 turned up 906 homeless people in Missoula County. Nationally, more than 1 in 4 homeless are military veterans. The VA estimates that 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. 400,000 will be homeless during the course of a year. 11% of Montana’s population are military veterans. Is this how we treat the men who sacrifice so much to defend our freedom? Councilman Jon Wilkins spoke eloquently about just this issue on Veteran’s Day last month. If you didn’t see it then, you should read it now.

His murder also shed some more undesirable light on the ugly violence that is here in Missoula – that many choose or refuse to acknowledge. Salcido’s murderers were an 18-year old Hellgate High senior and a 20-year old friend. What environment – what community – unwittingly fostered a situation that created such monsters? That may be tough to hear – but this paragraph and the paragraph above it are all questions we should be asking ourselves.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I believe I will make a trip down to the bridge tomorrow at darkness and light a candle for Forrest.

by Pete Talbot

… chickens. Well, not personally – too much responsibility. But thanks to a City Council vote Monday night, maybe one of my neighbors will share their homegrown, fresh huevos with me.

… a rewrite of Missoula’s zoning regulations (in progress). Planned Neighborhood Clusters, density bonuses, redrawn property lines – these issues, while good ideas, need a little tweaking. Let’s also add some design standards to the mix.

… comprehensive county-wide zoning. Since most of the growth in the Missoula area is occurring outside the city limits, it’s absurd not to have county zoning in place. Can you say gravel pits?

… Plum Creek lands given to Missoula County in the form of publicly-accessible conservation easements. This one follows on the heels of my previous wish. A planner told me that since Plum Creek is a major landholder in the county, it’s going to be darn hard to zone the county until we know what’s going to happen to those lands.

… help for the homeless and an end to the rage. Missoulian Clayton Salcido’s murder is unfathomable, and (allegedly) at the hands of a Hellgate High School student and his buddy. How could this happen in our community?

… the punk who threw a frozen pie in Santa’s face does some time. Not a lot of time, maybe a few days, enough for some introspection. I’d sort of forgotten about this incident then two things happened. First, I met the above-mentioned Santa. He didn’t want to talk about it – he’s probably sick and tired of people asking him about what happened – but he’s a regular guy just doing a job and didn’t deserve this. Second, the perpetrator wrote a letter to the Missoulian. No remorse or “I’ll never do it again;” just some lame justification that this is the kind of entertainment people want (he’s producing a DVD — for God’s sake don’t anybody buy one).

… a semi-auto, clip-fed shotgun, plus a 9mm. Luger and maybe some Nosler 130-grain partition bullets. Not really. I’m going to catch some crap over this one but Gerik, Moorcat and Wulfgar – fellow bloggers whom I often agree with politically – are asking Santa for new weapons. For some reason, for me anyway, the holiday season doesn’t suggest more firepower. But to each his own.

… a couple more Democratic seats in Montana’s House of Representatives. Our state is starting to move in a decent direction. This would help facilitate the move.

… a real energy policy. The CAFE standards that Congress passed and the Prez just signed into law are a start but otherwise it was a pretty insignificant bill. It looks like the oil and coal industry won another round.

… in the same vein, some U.S. leadership on the global warming/climate change issue. I was embarrassed by my country’s behavior at the recent Bali conference. We could be the hero but instead, in the eyes of most countries, we’re the villain.

… no more soldier and civilian war-related death in Iraq. We aren’t winning this war and never will. The recent death of Helena soldier Daren Smith, 19, drives this point home.

… peace on earth, goodwill towards men, women, kids and critters. I could also use a new pair of Sorels.

PSA

by 4&20 Staff

Please attend this important event:

In response to the stomping to death of homeless man Forrest Clayton Salcido, Missoulians are invited to Take Back the California Street Bridge on Thursday, December 20 at 5:30 p.m. Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger will speak at this candlelight vigil, which will be followed by a rally against violence at the Badlander starting at 6 p.m. The Badlander is located at the corner of Broadway and Ryman in downtown Missoula, and this is a free community event aimed at keeping Missoula’s streets safe for all people.

The Poverello Center is the main sponsor of this event, which is a part of ‘We Are Missoula,’ the group behind the community rally held on Nov. 26 against the two anti-gay beatings that happened near downtown.

(This message was forwarded to us from Caitlin Copple at the YWCA.)

Additional information just in from Ellie Hill at the Poverello:

Speakers Include :
Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger (who also heads the Governor’s Council on Homelessness)
Ellie Hill, Executive Director, Poverello Center, Inc.
Cindy Weese, Executive Director, YWCA
Amy Carter, University Congregational Church
John Lund, University of Montana’s Lutheran Campus Pastor
Amanda Salcido, Niece of Forest Clayton Salcido

December 21st is the first day of winter and the longest night of the year. Since 1990, the National Coalition for the Homeless has sponsored National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day in order to bring attention to the tragedy of homelessness and to remember the homeless who have died from illness, neglect and violence during the year.

This past week, the community witnessed one of our own local homeless Vietnam veterans, Forest Clayton Salcido, senselessly and brutally murdered. More and more homeless people are dying from violence and unprovoked hate crimes in this country each year.

Missoula citizens and collaborating organizations are outraged over this crime and the continuing pervasiveness of violence motivated by hate in this community.

“WE ARE MISSOULA” is the partnership of thirty (30) collaborative private and non profit organizations unified to: Speak up and Stand out against Hate Crimes. The last WE ARE MISSOULA rally in November drew over 300 participants.

Those attending the candlelight vigil are asked to bring candles in glass containers to the bridge and join speakers, singers and others to remember our homeless and the others in this community who have been victims of hate. Immediately following the vigil, participants are encouraged to warm up in The Badlander for a rally against hate in Missoula.

With sponsoring organizations like Forward Montana, Montana Human Rights Network, The Poverello Center, Montana Pride Network, ACLU, University of Montana LAMBDA Alliance, YWCA and Jeannette Rankin Peace Center, this rally will provide a venue for showing broad community support for ending
hate crimes, homophobia and other forms of systemic violence.

The goals of the rally are to educate the community about the vulnerability of homelessness, hate crimes and how to report them to the Missoula police, as well as to encourage strength and solidarity within the community.

In addition the rally will serve as the kick off for a broader campaign of community education, skill building and political action.

Continue Reading »

by Matt Singer

If you haven’t yet, take five minutes and read Tristan Scott’s deeply moving story about the life and untimely death of Forrest Clayton Salcido, a homeless veteran in Missoula who was viciously murdered a week ago.

The death so far seems to have been the focus more of quiet conversations than of a unified community response. Why? My guess is that the story itself has put a lot of us locals in a state of mild shock. It’s breath-taking in its exposure of how truly evil people can be in their actions.

I can’t promise or reveal much yet, except to say that a bigger community response is now in the works — and that hopefully those of us involved in it can find a way to do justice to Forrest’s life and his tragic death.

In the meantime, the Poverello Center has launched an endowment to help homeless veterans like Forrest.

You can donate online — make sure you specify that your gift is for the endowment.

This was a comment to Rebecca’s post on the gruesome and horrific murder of Forrest Clayton Salcido, a Navy veteran and member of Missoula’s homeless community.

I contacted Ellie Hill, the Executive Director of Missoula’s Poverello Center, and received her permission to repost her comment as a way to promote awareness on the problems veterans face.

Once again, I urge everyone to support the Poverello in any way they can… Donations can be made by clicking here, and those with spare time and tight budgets can volunteer by calling the Poverello’s Volunteer Coordinator, Brady Warren, at 728-1809.

Jamee Greer

* * *

I knew Forrest Clayton Salcido. He was gentle, and while small in statue, huge in heart. Mr. Salcido was brutally murdered as he desperately tried to flee his attackers. I was so ill this morning that I almost could not leave the house, but here I write from my cluttered desk at the Pov.

1 in 4 homeless people in the United States are veterans (while veterans make up only 11 percent of the general adult population).

Your homeless veterans in Missoula are no different. (And, actually here it may be worse as the State of Montana has the highest number of veterans per capita in the nation.)

At the Poverello Center, Western Montana’s largest emergency homeless shelter and soup kitchen, we serve hundreds and hundreds of homeless vets each year. There are many vets sleeping in our overcrowded bunks each and every night, 365 nights a year. They are men and women from all branches of services and representing many different wars. Elderly and middle aged men are most common. Many folks suffer from mental illness and physical disabilities. Some have only recently lost their jobs or their families. Some have been injured on the job, and they don’t have medical coverage. Their car has broken down. Some are much more down and out. They all have amazing life stories. Their problems are often complex.

At the Pov we are seeing an alarming trend in the number of younger homeless veterans. Younger veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, turning to the Poverello Center’s VA sponsored Homeless Vets Program for necessary services, mainstream resources, treatment and job assistance.

I am writing because this trend does not bode well for our future.

Continue Reading »

by Rebecca Schmitz

Two Missoula men were charged Friday with deliberate homicide for allegedly stomping a 56-year-old Navy veteran to death on a walking path, apparently without provocation.

Like many of you, I opened the paper this morning, read the opening sentence of Tristan Scott’s article, and uttered a groan. Mr. Salcido, despite being homeless on occasion, has family here in Missoula. My heart goes out to them today. I’m not even going to try to guess what would cause two moral and mental defectives to murder someone like this; I don’t care. What I care about is that others in Mr. Salcido’s situation have a safe place to go at night. There are a number of shelters here in Missoula and across Montana. Please consider volunteering your time or donating money to one in his name.




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