Archive for the ‘violence’ Category

By JC

In the never-ending, and escalating drumbeat for war that has possessed our nation for generations, I thought this might be a good time for an anti-war lament. Charlotte E. Keyes is the poet who popularized the phrase “Suppose they gave a war and no one came?” in a 1966 McCall’s article.

While there is much debate and discussion about the origins of that phrase and its variations — and any who want to explore the googlizer can learn far more about the works of Sandburg, Bertold Brecht, and Ginsburg  — it is the sentiment that needs to be revisited.

I came of age in that era of senseless war, with brooding pacifism busting it’s head against a corrupt system, coming to the same conclusion as the boy in this poem: “Then governments I don’t like either.” And I’m still coming to grips with how it was to grow up in a cold warrior’s family.

Needless to say, I was one who burned his draft card and planned an escape to Canada should the lottery have claimed my soul before the Vietnam war ended.

Food for thought in an era devoid of any meaningful anti-war movement in America. Find the poem after the jump.

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By JC

This just in:

“The Most Underperforming Colleges: US News And World Report”
underperfomer

Why?

“it could mean that the school’s reputation has yet to fully reflect negative trends that are taking place in the underlying academic indicators.”

Oh really? And what might those “negative trends be”?

by jhwygirl

For nearly 20 years, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has been authorized and reauthorized – twice – by Congress and signed by three different U.S. presidents into law. The latest reauthorization, though, has met some bumps. Guess where: House Republicans.

In late April, the Senate passed a reauthorization of the VAWA that included protections for LGBTQ and Native American survivors of violence – on a bipartisan vote. That reauthorization was not without it’s Tea Party attacks, though: Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and Kay Bailey-Hutchinson (Texas) joined together for an amendment that modified or eliminated protections for female immigrants, Native women and those in same-sex relationships. It also would have eliminated the ability of tribal courts to prosecute perpetrators of domestic violence. It failed.

Iowa has a fast-growing Native American population. Texas, given that it borders Mexico, has an extremely large immigrant population. Native American women violent crime at a rate three and a half times greater than the national average, while Grassley charged that tribal courts were “unconstitutional.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) also offered an amendment – wishing to increase mandatory minimum sentences. Advocates for the VAWA, though, didn’t support that amendment due to the believe that it would result in survivors of violence becoming more reluctant to report incidents. This, too, failed. No big government hypocrisy there/snark.

Certainly you can see how Kay, Chuck & John were looking out for their constituencies.

Well, the House Tea Party crowd – including Montana’s own Denny “don’t let the door hit ya’ where the good Lord split ya” Rehberg passed its own version of the VAWA, pulling back in the Senate Tea Party amendments – on a largely party-line vote.

Denny never did look out for Montanans. ‘Nuf said about that.

TOMORROW, Save Wiyabi, the Salish-Kootenai College’s chapter of the Native Youth Leadership Alliance, and Montana’s very fabulous Western Native Voice are sponsoring an action day in Pablo to raise awareness on the importance of the VAWA, and its importance to the Native American community.

The action begins at 11, with everyone meeting at 11 a.m. at the bridge on campus. Lauren Chief Elk, founder of the Wiyabi Project, is one of the speakers, and information will be available for those looking for more information.

The VAWA is important. It’s disturbing that, after so many years of bipartisan support, that this act protecting women has become a political football. That Tea Party Republicans (like Denny Rehberg) thought to remove protections for Native Americans, immigrants and lgbtq is even more repulsive.

Lauren Chief Elk wrote an excellent piece detailing the importance of the VAWA, especially to the Native American communities. It includes numerous informative links along with case law on the VAWA – I highly recommend it, especially for any legislator here in Montana that might want to attempt protections for women here at the state level.

My headline, you can see, was poached from her piece. What else do you call it when Tea Party Republicans refuse to reauthorize an act that has successfully reduced violence towards women for nearly 2 decades?

Finally, I will note – the Senate version of the VAWA reduced program funding by 17%.

A thir

by jhwygirl

There’s been some pretty shocking video out of University of California-Davis over the last several days. 99% of the reaction has been that people were horrified and disgusted by the police actions.

For myself, I must be numb. The blatent disregard the UCDavis cops had for the students they are paid to protect – protect – has been played out all over the country in cities across America. Police beating with billy clubs and people beating them with fists and body slams? Police pepper spraying – pepper spraying randomly and with malice? Police firing guns with rubber pellets and tear gas and other various projectiles? It’s been played out in NYC, in Portland, in Phoenix, in Denver…Pittsburgh…LA..Oakland. Everywhere.

All of this directed at masses of peaceful protesters. People angry at the banking system and corporatization of America. An America that is making money on money – and leaving real America- the 99% – out floating in its wake.

And let’s make not mistake – peaceful protestors shouting angrily about their protest issues does not necessitate a need for mob control. We are not seeing mass vandalism, people. We are seeing mass protest and over reaction by police which incites mobs and results – sometimes and not all the time and you all know this to be true – some actual property destruction.

On Friday, UCDavis chancellor ordered the #occupy occupation tents removed. Cops come in with full riot gear, and..well…started beating on not only students, but also a poet laureate and Wordsworth scholar, along with their colleagues who had gone down to bear witness to the alleged violence of the students. Here is the first video that I saw of Friday’s removal:

It’s bizarre. It’s troubling – and again, remember my numbness to these scenes of violence. I see this stuff day in day out on twitter – regular network news doesn’t even have time in their 20-second sound bite rule to cover this stuff, yet alone fit it into their corporate-biased agenda. But did you watch to the end? At 8 minutes long, I wonder how many of you bailed about half-way through?

Sometime late Saturday someone posted the video below which shows the same situation from another angle, with a longer lead in – and it cuts out the events that occurred late in the video I posted above:

It was this second video that sickened even the numb jhwygirl. The vitrol the one lead officer directed at peaceful students – children for crying out loud! – is stomach-turning. I feel the pain of the woman you can hear in the background screaming (and later crying) “you are supposed to protect them!” as the cops, with determination and deliberation, pepper spray those kids at close range while they sit peacefully on the sidewalk of their campus.

Goddess, what has this nation come to?

My numbness though requires me to try and find something good – a sanity mechanism I’m learning ;) – and it is the end of that first video (and less so the second) which shows the police’s full retreat.

Those police stood there in full riot gear facing down peaceful protesting students sitting on a sidewalk. Hundreds stood there in witness – all of which included cameras and cell phones and video cameras. It wasn’t just students standing there – it was news media and university personnel. Yet those cops stood there as a handful pointed guns (likely loaded with pepper spray balls or rubber bullets) at eye and head level. Those cops stood there in bullet proof vests and masks and watched as a colleague stood like some sort of cattle master over those peaceful students and shook up that pepper spray – and at one point double-fisted himself with the stuff, having grabbed a fellow cops can – and marched up and down in attempts to intimidate peaceful students sitting on a sidewalk with that pepper spray.

For what? Control of the sidewalk?

And yet even after he emptied a can of pepper spray on those kids and only one or two ran after the pain was inflicted, those cops were safe. The only rush was to the safety of those students – and yet those cops who are sworn to protect left those students in bodily harm (pepper spray is NOT harmless folks…it can blind, and in this case it did cause bleeding) and beat back the people who attempted to protect and assist.

What is moving about those two videos is the safety of those disgusting officers who violated multiple laws and policies by doing what they did…

What is moving is the safety they had as they retreated from their failed attempt to clear a sidewalk. A friggin’ sidewalk.

What is moving is the obvious fear that the same officer who inflicted the pepper spray exhibited as he retreated – and his companion officers who continued to point those rifles at the heads of those peaceful protestors and their accompanying witnesses.

Did they cry when they shut the door of their office or their car after they completed their retreat? Do they look at this video and realize the complete shame of what they did? Do the ones that stood guard realize the sin of their complicity?

I have some understanding of mob mentality, I’d like to think – so I wonder what those cops thought after they exhaled that evening. After they saw themselves on film.

Finally – last night UC Davis’ Chancellor Katehi took a late night walk to her car. The campus is now filled with protesters. And Chancellor Katehi – who had said on Saturday that the police use of pepper spray was justified because her and the staff at the university felt threatened – walked in silence and shame to her car.

I bet she was shaking once her and her companion drove away. And I bet she cried too.

by jhwygirl

Wulfgar! at Left in the West gets the hat tip on this one.

From Friday’s hearings, detailed in several posts below. Watch Superstar State Representative Ellie Hill (HD-94) take on the Montana’s Christian Taliban’s Reverend Harris Himes.

Rep. Hill? THANK YOU.

This is a civilized society. It seems that some of the GOP running these committees forgets these things. Every statement does not fall under “free speech” and inciting violence is not anything that should be tolerated.

And Rep. Ken Peterson, of Billings? 10 minutes is not a public hearing.

You represent ALL, not just those than elected you. You are a disgrace to the state bar (if you hold it); a disgrace to the House Judiciary; and a disgrace to the Montana Legislature.

And pulling for seventeen executive actions in House Judicary on Monday morning, in less than 4 hours? That leaves no time for meaningful discussion between legislators – but that’s exactly what you want now, isn’t it?

You are a disgrace to democracy.

by Pete Talbot

In the wake of the Arizona shootings, Sen. Verdell Jackson (R-Kalispell), is drafting a bill to allow owners of concealed weapons, who have permits, to pack heat in the Montana Capitol Building.

He quotes a story out of Utah, where concealed weapons are allowed in the Utah Capitol Building. Apparently pistol packing legislators there saved the day. From Sen. Jackson:

“Six senators carry weapons,” Jackson said. “They had a person who forced his way past the security doors. He swung open the two double doors and was coming down the aisle. He looked up, and six guns were pointing at him. He turned around and ran right into a security guard.”

It’s a compelling story, if it’s true. I’d like to know his source, and there are some other details I’d like to know, too, like: was the person who busted through the doors carrying a gun, and are there metal detectors or other types of security at the Utah Capitol?

But, after a rather exhausting search, I couldn’t find any news stories related to this incident. Perhaps Verdell’s source was that fountain of information, Gary (shoot first, ask questions later) Marbut.

I did get this response from Tad Walch, City Desk Editor of the Deseret News:

We’ve talked with our veteran hands here, and no one remembers such an episode. We plan to explore it further tomorrow with folks on the Hill and likely even do a story.

And perhaps the Lee Enterprises State Bureau could do a little more digging into Sen. Jackson’s storytelling (preferably before his bill becomes law).

by jhwygirl

Why do I call him Supermontanareporter? Because John S. Adams isn’t afraid to back down off of a story. Try and intimidate him – and believe me, it has happened, and it will continue to happen – and he doesn’t blink an eye. Adams is the stuff that becomes a Pulitizer.

And no, I’m not exaggerating. You heard it here first, but when it happens, all the credit goes to him, certainly.

I caught Tea Party jackass Tim Ravdahl, president of Helena’s Big Sky Tea Party on KGVO this morning, reading off his press release – which had appeared to be both taped and rambling, as the host kept playing multiple snippets of it througout the morning. An “exclusive” he said.

The parts I heard, he blamed the whole affair on being misquoted and the evils of political correctness and social justice.

Yep – that damned justice for society is an evil that we need to stop RIGHT NOW!

Well, apparently it was a press release addressing Supermontanareporter John S. Adams’ story in last Saturday’s Great Falls Tribune.

You’ll have to read that pretty quickly, as the GFT archives its stuff pretty quickly.

So Adams caught wind of banned Big Sky Tea Party president Tim Ravdahl’s press release and fired back at him, saying Ravdahl “plays loose with the truth” and lied about being misquoted or misrepresented.

Does Supermontanareporter Adams stop there? Nope. He called Ravdahl this afternoon to ask him for the specifics of the allegations Ravdahl was putting out in his press release. What did Tim Ravdahl do? After stumbling around the subject a bit, he hung up.

And lest Ravdahl try and discredit a good honest hard-hitting reporter like Adams, he’ll have some trouble – JSA taped the conversation. You can hear even hear the abrupt silence of Ravdahl hanging up on him.

Political correctness? Yeah – I’m a bit sick of it too – a liar is a liar, and when a reporter is ready willing and able to label a liar a liar, I’m all for throwing political correctness aside. The idea that you can’t call out a politician as a liar or a lie as a lie has gone on for far too long.

Thank Goddess for journalists like John S. Adams and George Ochenski. Long may they live, and all others like them.

by jhwygirl

Setting a fine example and a tone for the season, Coach Pflugrad allowed hoodlum Jimmy Wilson back to practice today after a one week suspension since his “not guilty” plea to biting a woman on the leg.

Wilson has been sitting in prison in California for the last two years awaiting a second trial on murder charges because the first one ended in a hung jury. The second trial acquitted him.

But why was Jimmy Wilson suspended? It was because of pending citations from the city for a late night incident August 5th. This, from the Missoulian’s fine court and crime reporter Tristan Scott:

According to court records obtained by the Missoulian, the alleged offense occurred on Aug. 6 at 2:15 a.m. near the intersection of Park Street and Southwest Higgins Avenue. The ticket alleges Wilson committed “assault by biting (name redacted) on the right leg, causing pain and visible injury.”

Ryan said the alleged offense occurred inside a vehicle occupied by Wilson and five other individuals, including the alleged victim. The woman did not report the incident to police until later.

“There were six people in the car and nobody else saw what happened. What occurred was either unintentional or it was playful,” Ryan said. “He’s pleaded not guilty, and he deserves a fair shake until all the facts are compiled and the investigation is completed. It’s a strange allegation.”

So Jimmy’s back in town, dancing and having fun on the field as I saw from KECI’s clips on tonight’s evening news.

Pflugrad, for his part, justified putting Wilson back on the field saying “we’ll let the legal system play out.”

I’m sure he’s just a misunderstood youth, just looking for a break…and all of these incidents are just a bunch of mistakes. All of ’em.

It’s a great discipline message sent to the gang of Grizzlies, no?

Coach Pflugrad is setting quite the tone there in his new haunts. City residents better buckle-up – this is just the beginning.

Wh00t! Wh00t!

by JC

For your weekend reading pleasure, I direct you towards Wulfgar!’s story about growing up “normal” in the Bitterroot and his perspective on Wayne Nance, the serial killer who met his maker one day by being sloppy, and died at the hands of one of his victims in 1986. It was just a few days after I moved to Missoula into a cabin a few blocks from the scene of the crime–having just spent a few weeks in West Riverside with a friend (the location of Nance’s first known victim) as I moved and waited for my rental to open up, and hearing the stories of unsolved murders. What had I gotten myself into, I thought?

GO NOW, over to A Chicken is not Pillage and read “One Degree of Separation.” You’ll be a better person for it. And for what it’s worth, I think that Wulfgar!, instead of being a bookstore employee, should be feeding bookstores novels…

“I grew up in Stevensville, the first community in Montana, having moved there when I was barely 10. Stevensville, as with the other communities in Ravalli county, was a normal small Montana rural town. Except Darby, which was and remains a little … off. By ‘normal’ I mean that very thing, which is why I laugh at those usually urban dwellers who paint small towns with the brush of Mayberry USA. Stevensville wasn’t Mayberry, it was normal. We had a bar owner in town who was an unbelievable bully. Everybody knew he was dealing drugs out of his place, as well as other nefarious things, but he was aided by the inaction of the town cops. The latest of those ‘fine officers’ as I grew up is now the mayor of Stevensville starting in January, and what a twit he is. The bully kind of shriveled up when an ex-NFL football player bought the bar across from his. Funny how that works. We had (and have) the yearly celebration of our town’s industry, the Creamery Picnic. The junior high math teacher ran away after being caught banging the wife of the junior high science teacher. He ended up in Polson for a while. None of my female classmates cared because they thought the math teacher was creepy. He’d stand at the bottom of the stairs between class, especially on Friday when girls were required to wear dresses. There were the usual rumors that the senior prom queen was sleeping with the good looking chemistry teacher. Our town’s prominent business men were often corrupt and usually licentious…”

Go read the rest!

by Pete Talbot

I wish this organization all the luck. It’s going to need it.

Montanans Against Gun Violence is going public. Here’s an excerpt from guest columns that are appearing in newspapers around the state:

Annually some 30,000 Americans die from all forms of gun violence—from homicides, suicides, or accidental deaths. In Montana, domestic violence, alcohol-related violence, suicides, and accidental deaths–especially of minors, lead the list of causes.

Respected Missoula progressive Robert McKelvey heads this group, but this is not radical gun control he’s advocating. Using the recent SCOTUS Second Amendment decisions as a springboard, the column quotes (surprise) Justice Scalia:

“the right to keep and bear arms is not ‘a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever and for whatsoever purpose’.”

Scalia then proceeded to list a wide range of local or state gun-ownership and gun-carry regulatory measures that remain lawful and appropriate.

Gun rights are the most controversial issue in Montana, to my way of thinking. And considering that Montana’s three members of Congress are leading the charge to expand access to guns and ammo — particularly our two senators, although our congressman is no piker — this is an extremely tough row to hoe.

Let’s face it, Gary (Bazookas for Babies) Marbut and his Montana Shooting Sports Association is one of the more successful lobbyists at our state legislature. Legislators roll over like trained poodles when Gary introduces a bill.

Then take a look at the comments when the Missoulian ran the column, with one-out-of-twenty in support of McKelvey’s organization. This from Missoula, although it also includes comments from the Bitterroot, Sanders County and other outlying areas. Enough said.

We’ll see if Montanans Against Gun Violence gets any traction in this state. It’s up against a rabid constituency. Again, good luck.

by jhwygirl

I’ll be following this story.

They had to apprehend the husband.

I’ll also be be thinking about this previous post.

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.

by jhwygirl

S.A.F.E. (Supporters of Abuse Free Environments), of Hamilton, recently scored a $483,148 grant provide safe, affordable transitional housing to domestic violence survivors and assist survivors with developing a plan to achieve self-sufficiency.

The money will be used to help provide housing for 6-24 months to families, along with follow-up care and support.

S.A.F.E. is the only agency in Ravalli County that provides this sort of support, and this grant will provide sorely needed safe housing, along with ensuring that it’s 24-hour support of domestic violence not only continues, but is able to meet the needs of the community. Previous budget cuts have made it a difficult road for this important organization.

A 2008 article from the Ravalli Republic details some of the extent of domestic violence in Ravalli County.

Congratulations. Not only will those funds go towards breaking the cycle of violence, they’ll help enable women, children and families towards productive lives – along with providing a nice economic boost to an ailing construction and development industry in the region.

by jhwygirl

Let me first say I really enjoy Perry Backus’ writing style. Very straightforward. Some readers of the Ravalli Republic don’t like it, which is exhibited sometimes in the comments – but because someone doesn’t like the facts doesn’t make him wrong for writing them. This piece doesn’t show that – wife-beaters rarely get people defending them, at least in public – but I read his other stuff (particularly zoning stuff) and boy do people hate the facts when they don’t like the facts.

Read the piece. The guy is – I’m going to be economic with my words here – an asshole. He’s been convicted SIX times for domestic abuse. He doesn’t pay his child support. He’s a drunk. He has a long criminal history.

On Wednesday, Judge Langton sentenced asshole Ronald G. Moore to 5 years with 2 suspended and then proceeded to lament about the shortness of the sentence, noting that state law maximum for the crime was 5 years.

Warning: I’m going to yell…

YOU SUSPENDED NEARLY HALF OF HIS SENTENCE, JUDGE. YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO DO THAT. IT’S YOUR COURT.

Now – the story mentions a plea bargain, and goes on to interview Ravalli County Prosecutor Bill Fulbright who, too, said he ‘wishes the county could have asked for more.’

Huh?

Plea the case – no reason is noted in the story – to maximum sentence with 2 years suspended, and then complain about the sentence?

YOU RECOMMENDED THE SENTENCE, PROSECUTOR FULBRIGHT.

Now – clearly there is an issue with the sentencing maximums of 5 years for domestic abuse….but why in the hell would both the prosecutor and the judge – both of whom had a certain level of control over the sentencing – suspend the 2 years?

Judge Langton is not bound to take any plea agreement. It’s his courtroom. Hell – he could have not only sentenced the guy to 5 years, he could have chastised the county prosecutor for recommending that 2 of ’em be suspended.

The guy beat her. Bit her bad enough to draw blood, and then sliced up the mattress she was laying on with a knife. And he did something like it 5 times before. He’s only 33.

Yeah – just the type of guy you wanna get back out on the streets just a little bit sooner.

Langton does have a pretty good track record of light sentences, especially for repeat offenders, along with suspension of portions of those light sentences.

Hopefully Ravalli County residents remember that the next time Langton is on the ballot.

~~~~~~
The Missoulian reprinted the story. Both the RR and the M have a decent number of comments. I’m noticing more comments on the Missoulian, which is nice.

by Pete Talbot

4&20 offers its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Lt. Col. Garnet “Gary” Derby. He was from Whitehall but listed Missoula as his home. He was killed in Iraq on Monday, along with three other soldiers and an interpreter, in a roadside bombing.

Lt. Col. Derby is the 21st Montana serviceman to die in Iraq (ranking Montana fourth per capita in residents 18-54). Only Vermont, North Dakota and South Dakota lead Montana in number of deaths as a percentage of population.

He is the 4243rd American killed. There have been 31,035 injured. Estimates range from 90,670-98,992 in the number of Iraqis killed as a result of direct military or paramilitary action.

The war enters it’s sixth year next month. Sectarian violence continues. American deaths since George W. Bush proclaimed “mission accomplished”: 4105.

(Update — In the comments below, jhwygirl corrects the number of Montanans killed in Iraq: 29. My fault for working off an incomplete list.)

by jhwygirl

Of all the crazy things to make it out of committee and onto the floor – and that’s not to diminish the lament of things that should of made it out of committee and onto the floor – Rep. Krayton Kern’s crazy HB228 has survived a House Judiciary vote (10 to 8!) and hits the floor Monday at 1 p.m.

Do make sure to check out amendment #1 and amendment #2 to this insanity.

Now, HB228 is called the Citizens Self-Defense and Firearms Rights bill. What it proposes to do is to reaffirm “the right of Montanans to defend their lives and liberties, as provided in Article II, section 3, of the Montana constitution, and their right to keep or bear arms in defense of their homes, persons, and property, as provided in Article II, section 12, of the Montana constitution, is fundamental and may not be called into question.”

How it proposes to do that is what is scary.

There is no duty on an individual to flee or summon law enforcement assistance (Section 2).

Now – think about that. That clause, in and of itself, is giving a person the right to take and hold the law – regardless of their knowledge of it – in their own hands. Certainly there are situations where, in an act of self-defense, there is no reasonable way to summon law enforcement assistance..but such a carte blanche grant of authority is regression to the days of citizens posses and hang-’em-high justice.

Who falls for this stuff?

Section 3 states that the “defensive display of firearms is not an offense.” It goes on to define, under Section 3, clause 2, what exactly is a “defensive display of firearms” – and note the inclusion of the words “but is not limited to” in that definition.

This first version is scary enough….it places the burden of proof that such “defensive display” was needed in the judgment of the law enforcement called to the scene after an incident (keeping in mind there was no obligation to call them there if there had been an opportunity to do so), and, in a scenario where one lays dead, it becomes a he said versus he-who-is-dead said scene. Unfrickin’ real.

Go to reading those definitions (“but not limited to”) of defensive display:

2(c) holding a firearm in a position so that the firearm does not point directly at another person.

Let’s think about that one for a moment: An elevated situation, and I’m now allowed – or whomever is feeling threatened (“you look mad!”) is allowed – to get out a gun and wave it around. Just don’t point it directly at me, and you’re OK.

Wow.

Or should I simply not be scared because people are allowed to wave their guns all around, so long as – lawfully as defined under this nutcase law – they’re not waving it in my face.

Simply because they feel threatened.

Are we exempting mentally unstable people from this law? Because I’m not seeing that.

Or angry people?

Or angry husbands? Or angry wives? Or scared teenagers?

Or drunks?

Nope – anyone who feels threatened can go waving a gun around, just not in anyone’s face

And just how threatened do I have to feel?

“They were in my personal space” threatened?

“They gave me a look-to-kill” threatened?

“They yelled at me and made me scared” threatened?

Yi, yi, yi.

Now, Kerns and his crew of co-sponsors (ANKNEY, ARNTZEN, BALYEAT, BENNETT, BLACK, BLASDEL, BONIEK, R. BROWN, T. BROWN, CAMPBELL, CURTISS, GALLUS, HAMLETT, HENDRICK, HINKLE, HOVEN, INGRAHAM, JACKSON, JONES, KOTTEL, MCGEE, MEHLHOFF, MILLER, MORE, RANDALL, ROUNDSTONE, SMITH, SONJU, VANCE, WARBURTON) went ahead and graciously added this mucky-muck:

When an investigation is conducted by a peace officer of an incident that appears to have been or is alleged to have been in self-defense, the investigation must be conducted so as to disclose all evidence, including testimony, that might support the alleged offense and the apparent or alleged self-defense.

So, again – here we go with an officer called to the scene – after the fact – which is often the case, but under this law, may well be always the case – and he has to sort out what has occurred under a law which granted, carte blanche, an ability to go waiving a gun around under an “apparent or alleged” (their words, not mine) claim of self-defense.

Of all the absolutely insane and inane laws to come forward – as I look at it – in a bipartisan fashion, this one has got to be the most ridiculous.

Democrats, I’m ashamed to say, are falling in support of this bill as being beneficial to domestic violence situations.

Wow. Really?

Why has the Montana County Attorney’s Association spoke in opposition to this bill?

Gallatin County Sheriff Jim Cashell came out strongly against the bill at the hearing, saying it could escalate gun violence and make it easier for criminals to cite self defense to avoid prosecution.

Dennis Paxinos, Yellowstone County attorney, said the bill fixes a problem that doesn’t exist:

“There is no case, there is no reason, for such a huge change in our criminal code,” he said.

Paxinos described a scenario in which two gangs approached each other in a public park. Under Kern’s bill, he said, it would be legal for both gangs to display their weapons to each other, then open fire.

“It eviscerates the tools we use now to combat these idiots,” he said.

In fact, an existing law that allows for justifiable use of force (MCA 45-3-102) and use the affirmative defense of self defense.

Why is the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence spoken in opposition to this bill?

HB 228 is NOT good for victims of domestic or sexual violence in Montana. Proponents of this bill have alluded to the fact that the self defense provisions are somehow beneficial for victims of domestic violence. NOT TRUE! HB 228 proposes an overhaul of our current criminal justice system by asserting that self defense can be used in any criminal action and puts the burden of proof to prove otherwise on the State.

Who supports this bill? Gary Marbut one-man member of the Montana Shooting Sports Association.

That’s enough said there now, isn’t it?

Help stop this lunacy NOW. The House Floor vote is 1 p.m. on Monday. Contact your legislators – all of ’em, Democratic and Republicans – and tell them that this bill endangers your safety and the ability of law enforcement officers to enforce the peace. It places greater burden on county prosecutors and has the potential to escalate gun violence. It makes it easier for criminals to utilize a self-defense claim to avoid prosecution for gun related crimes.

You can click on this map to find the legislators in your district. This link will take you to a list of legislators, along with their contact information.

You can also fill out an online form to send comments to legislators – and you can also call the Session Information Desk at 406-444-4800 to leave a message for as many as five legislators per call. Your message will be delivered directly to the legislators. The TTY (Telephone Device for the Deaf) number is 406-444-4462.

Be sure to mention HB228 in all correspondence or phone calls.

These legislators have indicated that they are ‘on the fence’ about this vote. Please contact these legislators to let them know your thoughts:
Bob Bergren of Havre – bergren@bobbergren.com
Bob Ebbinger of Livingston – buffalojump@imt.net
Dennis Getz of Glendive – ddgetz@peoplepc.com
Dan Vila of Anaconda – danvillaformontana@hotmail.com
Cynthia Hiner of Deerlodge – matthiner@hotmail.com
Cheryl Steenson of Kalispell – casteenson@gmail.com
Bill Wilson of Great Falls – bw208@bresnan.net
Bill Nooney of Missoula – bnooney@inv-ent.com
Don Roberts of Billings (you need to use the online form to contact him)
Jesse O’hara of Great Falls (you need to use the online form to contact him)
Gary MacLaren of Victor – garymaclaren@yahoo.com

~~~~~~~~
Don’t miss Matt Singer’s take on this at Left in the West. He does it in a lot less words than I.

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

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

There ought to be a law against (alleged) boneheads like this having handguns.

An 18-month-old girl gets shot in the head when a man caring for her leaves (allegedly) a 9 mm pistol on the bed, within her reach, while he’s sleeping. Plus the gun doesn’t have a safety.

Please, my progressive gun-loving friends, explain to me how the Second Amendment applies to an (alleged) loser like this. I have a grandson about this age and this story sickens me.

by Jamee Greer

Today’s edition of the Montana Kaimin contains an omission from the original version printed online regarding an appearance by Jessica Valenti at a Students for Choice event on Wednesday:

The Full Frontal Feminist, Jessica Valenti, gave a speech on the UM campus Wednesday night, and unfortunately gets Backhands. BU&Bh was quite excited for this presentation, until we realized there was no actual full frontal. And yes, we recognize the irony of Backhanding feminists.

BigUps&Backhands is a weekly rating system published on Fridays, focusing on everything from University happens to pop culture.

The Kaimin removed the offending segment from their online edition within hours of publication and I’m not sure if it was a response from members of the public, or if it was purely an internal decision, that led to the removal.

There is nothing funny or ironic about this statement. It’s degrading, disgusting and horribly embarrassing to see in my University’s paper. Valenti’s all-too-short presentation was inspriring and honest, and I don’t recall seeing either the author of the segment or the editor of the paper at the event.

And while I’m glad they removed it, it should never have been printed in the first place.

by jhwygirl

Over at Left in the West, Matt Kohler provides details of the public meetings being held by the USFS as part of the review for the Bitterrooot National Forest travel and road planning.

Not a pleasant story at all. Darby can be an unruly crowd – I alluded to that in my post yesterday on Missoula’s streamside setbacks, which included some information on Ravalli’s countywide zoning meetings – but openly, loudly and proudly threatening someone you don’t agree with by shouting “Put a bullet in her head!” – and then unapologetically letting everyone know what your name is – is utterly and absolutely disgusting.

DISGUSTING.

I don’t know what the legal repercussions are for threatening someone in that way – perhaps someone could enlighten us? – but I certainly hope that the jackass that did it gets a visit from the State Police.

Anything less – even if the person against whom the threat was made doesn’t want to file charges – implies that the Montana community supports that kind of behavior.

The meeting for tonight was canceled due to the large turnout to last night’s meeting. My guess is that they’re looking to hire some security for the next meeting.

~~~~~

addendum:  Looks like the local Darby law enforcement is investigating the threat. Courtney Lowery and Matthew Frank have a report over at NewWest.

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.

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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