Deplorable Pabst Legacy Round 2: Failing Up

by Travis Mateer

Before yesterday’s post on the deplorable legacy of Missoula County Attorney, Kirsten Pabst, I didn’t realize Pabst is running unopposed this year to keep her job. Since no one apparently wants her job, no one in the media seems interested in critical coverage of her office because what’s the point? Missoula County voters don’t have a choice.

That means we’re stuck with Pabst for FOUR MORE YEARS.

It’s already been a long slog with Pabst. To get a sense of what I’m talking about, let’s go back to Pabst’s statement in 2015 after Krakauer’s book came out. Here is some of the damage control from that statement talking about the new programs and the new day that allegedly arrived seven years ago:

In all of the hubbub, the importance of our new program and efforts at improving sexual assault prosecutions has been in the shadow. Now is not the time to refute the many factual errors in the book. While the charges the author has made against me, the Missoula County Attorney’s Office and my predecessor, are inaccurate, exaggerated and unnecessarily personal, he is correct in that our investigation and prosecution standards needed to be improved. That has been done. Ask the Montana Attorney General’s Office. Ask the US Department of Justice. Today is the day to celebrate our new direction.

In essence, we’ve taken a look at everything we do as an office and re-written it in accord with best-practices. Our whole approach has shifted from being process centered to victim centered. Our community has banded together, rolled up our sleeves and is breaking ground on great and permanent changes in the area of sexual assault prosecutions. The Missoula County Attorney’s Office is committed to taking the lead and becoming the flagship model for other communities facing similar challenges. To do that, we are examining past practices, studying the nation’s best practices and engaging in specialized training.

Reading this now, in 2022, makes me wonder what Pabst has actually been doing. Failing up? At least one seemingly informed commenter makes a compelling case, but before we get to that, here’s Pabst from that bullshit book, “To Prosecute”, explaining how she was going to communicate with the public better:

How do you keep the community informed about and involved in these policy and practice changes?

I feel strongly that I have an obligation to communicate with the citizens who elected me. The best way to do that is to have an open and ongoing dialog with them via the media. Among my avenues to do so, I appear on a weekly radio show where I run through new complaints my office has filed and talk about new programs such as diversion. I also respond to media requests for information to share what we can with the public about individual cases.

Yes, Pabst goes on the radio to consistently provide updates on what her office is charging, but there are other dynamics at play before the Attorney’s Office even gets involved, and that would be the investigative work done by public institutions, like the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office.

The full statement Pabst provided seven years ago speaks a lot about facts and tries to minimize emotion (while using emotion to gaslight victims), but here’s the thing about facts: to be considered, they have to be collected in the first place. If that doesn’t happen, then what is a County Attorney to do?

While Pabst feels strongly about her obligation to communicate, so do members of the public. Despite being an old article, there’s a relatively new comment from just 4 months ago worth considering, so I’ll reproduce it in full below.

I think that does it for a quick round 2. Thanks for reading!

And, if that’s hard to read, here’s the comment in quote form:

It’s hard to fathom how Kirsten Pabst continues to be employed in the legal profession after what’s she’s done, let alone in a position of such trust, and with such power over many of the people she’s harmed over the years in her relentless pursuit of prestige.

Pabst’s statement is infuriating but also should be treated as a master class in dishonestly effective crisis PR. She skillfully weaves a distracting straw man argument hinting that Krakauer assailed her simply because of her (abysmal) record of prosecuting rape cases, completely sidestepping and not bothering to explain all of the damning revelations in the book. She also cleverly tries to stoke tribalistic pro-Missoula defensiveness by insinuating repeatedly that Krakauer is out to get the town that he supposedly is so “obsessed” with. And then she buries all of that underneath long winded, sometimes irrelevant fluff meant to deflect blame while portraying herself as a hero for sexual assault victims (which might come as a surprise to the ~90% whose cases she ignored in her prior job). If you manage to get through Pabst’s statement, you’d be forgiven for not realizing that she didn’t actually get around to addressing any of the very serious issues that Krakauer’s book reminded us of. Though she vaguely implies factual errors in the book (as if a book that prominent and no doubt vulnerable to lawsuits if anything could be construed as defamatory wasn’t fact checked and lawyered down to the tiniest detail), many of her misdeeds were already known from independent sources. If that wasn’t enough, Pabst is notorious for lashing out against the press when it is reported that her office mistreated and ignored credible accusations of rape. Despite some vague and unapologetic suggestions that certain (quite small, no doubt) things could have been done better, nowhere in this statement does Pabst show recognition, let alone remorse, for what she did to countless victims, both as a prosecutor and, quite menacingly, as a defense attorney in private practice.

I congratulate Kirsten Pabst both for this obnoxious statement and for continuing to fail upward, no matter the cost to the women of Missoula and the University of Montana. If only she would turn her impressive skills of self protection and promotion toward the public good. At some point, the rush of professional success fades and we (at least those of us with a conscience) are left reflecting on whether we lived a good life. I sincerely wonder how Kirsten Pabst is able to sleep at night.


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The Deplorable Legacy Of Missoula County Attorney, Kirsten Pabst

by Travis Mateer

I decided to write about the deplorable legacy of Missoula County Attorney, Kirsten Pabst, after scanning the jail roster on Sunday and seeing that this man was released:

For a refresher on how Virinder Brar was arrested 4 times in 12 days, here’s the article from KGVO:

According to court documents, two people who were outside the Poverello told officers that Brar had been asking people for “crystal” and when they said no, he started throwing rocks at people and saying he was going to kill them.

Another staff member found the rock that was thrown through the window. The window was large and double-paned. The rock traveled through the exterior window and also caused an interior window to spiderweb when it hit it. The rock was also wrapped in the lottery ticket that Brar had tried to redeem.

“Officers located Brar near the Poverello Center and took him into custody,” Arnold said. “Officers took photos of the scene. This case is still under investigation with the Missoula Police Department Detective Division. This is the fourth time Brar has been arrested by the Missoula Police Department since September 3, 2022. Two of the previous arrests were for felony charges and one was for a misdemeanor offense.”

Four years ago, when Pabst wanted voters to allow her to keep her job, she said shit like this (emphasis mine):

Looking to continue the reforms implemented under her watch, Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst on Tuesday said she plans to file for reelection this week.

Pabst, who was elected to office in 2014 and replaced former Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg, said she has reformed the local office over her first term to help it move past a contentious chapter in its history.

“I filed knowing at the time this office was in a state of turmoil, and there was the DOJ oversight,” Pabst said. “I decided it was time for this office, at least under my leadership, to stop fighting and start cooperating, and look at ways we could be better.”

Yep, that little “DOJ oversight” came as the result of our local criminal justice system allowing a culture of sexual exploitation and violence to grow over the years, thanks to systemic inaction. Students suffered, enrollment at UM plummeted, and our entire community got very defensive after being singled out by a popular author on the national stage.

So, has anything really changed?

Kirsten Pabst works hard to convince people in Missoula the answer to the question is a resounding YES! One way Pabst attempts to snowball her Missoula constituents is by contributing to a pretend book put out by a consulting firm, titled To Prosecute. It wasn’t easy finding, then acquiring, this book:

Here’s a part of the preface of this prosecutorial propaganda so you can get a flavor of what this book sees itself addressing (emphasis mine)

As this book goes to print, our country is in crisis. George Floyd is yet another person of color who unnecessarily lost his life at the hands of our peers. We are mourning, and the demand for change has never been louder in recent years.

The interviews in this book were all conducted prior to Mr. Floyd’s death and the protests that have followed, but the topics they cover are inseparable from the conversations we must have–and continue to have–going forward.

Prosecutors are gatekeepers to the criminal justice system. They are largely responsible for how conduct that could be charged under the law is addressed and at what costs, whether financial, human, or otherwise. This includes the behaviors of law enforcement and other community members alike.

Yes, prosecutors have the power to prosecute people, like cops and politicians, and that supposed prosecutorial potential is what creates the illusion of equality under the law, but if true equality actually existed in our criminal justice system, corrupt Sheriffs and State Representatives would face the same accountability as your average Joe and Jane Public, but we all know they don’t.

Going back to an old blog post from 4 and 20 Blackbirds is VERY informative because 8 years ago, when Kirsten Pabst was lashing out at Gwen Florio and the Missoulian, she used an excuse I have come to MUCH better appreciate.

Here is the quote jhwygirl captured 8 years ago from a piece of writing Pabst later removed from the internet (emphasis mine):

Without getting into inappropriate detail, I assure you that the foundation for the string of ‘sexual scandal’ articles is not based in fact. The unfortunate reality is that the officials in charge of setting the record straight have their hands tied by the Montana Confidential Criminal Justice Information Act. When the police and prosecutors decline to file charges against a suspect, all of the facts—especially the identities of the parties—are legally sealed. The reason for this rule is obvious: when there is not enough evidence to file charges against someone, the accused person remains legally innocent and they should not be subjected to public humiliation unless there is proof of wrongdoing.

Poor Kirsten Pabst and her stable of prosecutors! It must be VERY difficult to have PROSECUTORIAL DISCRETION so unfairly maligned by the media. If only our noble prosecutors didn’t have their little hands tied, the stories they could tell!

One guy who I think deserves special attention for having his little hands tied is Deputy County Attorney, Ryan Mickelson. Why? Because it’s October, a month this special prosecutor got an award two years ago.

Is Ryan Mickelson a man who sleeps well at night knowing he does everything he can to hold rapists accountable, or is he a cog in Kirsten Pabst’s deplorable legacy protection machine?

One thing I know is this: it was worth every penny I paid for the hilarious book, “To Prosecute”. It’s a part of a very special sub-category in my library because it captures a special kind of person.

Sure you do, Kirsten Pabst. And I see MY role as an independent journalist as ferreting out the bullshit peddled by power brokers to cover their ass. Providing a more detailed context-backdrop for your CCJI cry-baby act is just the beginning.

It’s too bad Kirsten Pabst is running unopposed. I guess she doesn’t have to answer to voters to keep her job this year.

Maybe we should start a write-in campaign? But who should the candidate be? My vote would be J. Kevin Hunt!

Thanks for reading!

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Something Very Mysterious And Maybe Magical Is Going On Between The “Public” And The “Private”

by Travis Mateer

I’ve been having some very surreal experiences that straddle one’s expectations of what “public” and “private” even mean anymore. I’ll try to explain.

What’s more public than roads? We, the public, certainly need them, as does the private sector. We all need roads and, to get over things like rivers, we need bridges.

I was looking at a VERY BUSY bridge on Friday. Well, the bridge was more of a backdrop as I tried to envision what the land AROUND the bridge might be. What it might be for the public.

To facilitate the vision quest, a nice man who has a hard job keeping the roads and bridges functioning stood in a dry tributary of the Clark Fork while two armed private security guards stood by.

Signs are important. The geography we scanned for opportunity is currently off limits to the public, as noted by signs that clearly state NO TRESPASSING.

But–if things happened with deeds and contracts and, most importantly, money–that could one day change.

It’s important to understand how quickly things can change. I experienced this first hand when I was told the event that had a sign stating “open to the public” was, in fact, a private event.

How did this strange alchemy occur? Something to do with a magical safe space and difficult questions from an obnoxious mouth (mine) which is white. My mouth, that is. My soul is any fucking color I want it to be.

Since realizing I might have magical powers that can change public things into private things, I started wondering what other things that I was doing that was, perhaps, magical.

Could remembering things be a kind of magical power? And how about not just remembering it, but doing something with my mind that makes it somehow relevant to the HERE and NOW.

Is that time travel?

No, but I am getting ahead of myself, because this whole post is actually a short story, which is actually just a reminder of the magically monetarily beneficial things that can happen when something of value that’s “public” goes “private”.

This story is an especially important story for those who might be sad that their crisis levy is in jeopardy. I hope they listen closely.

Once upon a time there was a hospital. That hospital was a thing that helped people, which meant that it held immense value to the community where it allowed this good work to happen for the people.

For the public people.

Then one day something changed. The hospital was still the same, but instead of being a thing that generated value for the public it served, it had become a thing that benefited other people. Private people.

To make this happen a great collection of numbers was created and put into something called a foundation, which still exists to this day.

What is the name of this foundation with the big numbers that should go to help out the public? The name is The Headwaters Foundations, and it is there that the worriers of the struggling mill levy should go if the public says NO in November.

The end.

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A Closed Gate Opened A Divine Synchronicity On A Beautiful Saturday Morning In Zoom Town

by Travis Mateer

I’m feeling particularly blessed this Saturday morning.

First, a family pet on death’s doorstep made a miraculous recovery after prayer warriors did their thing. You may not believe that has an impact, but I do (though I didn’t always).

Second, this last week featured the kind of timed occurrences that validate some of my thinking on synchronicities and what’s going on with them.

Then (third) I was driving downtown when I noticed the gate to the bridge to nowhere was closed, which irked me, since it was 10:30am on a gorgeous Saturday morning in Missoula.

I’ve been waiting for the right time to disclose my discovery that the private security firm, Black Knight, is the one contracted by Parks and Rec to open and close this gate. Well, I thought, JACKPOT! So I stopped and did my thing, which you can see below.

Right as I was finishing up my report, I made eye-contact with fellow follower of synchronicities and we had a delightful conversation about what’s going on in this weird part of the universe.

It was divinely appointed meetup and if you don’t think that’s possible, I feel sorry for you.

Tune in tomorrow for a great story about the magic that exists between “public” and “private” things. It’s almost like a bedtime story for a very specific audience.

Thanks for reading!

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On Raising Kids In A “No Threat To The Public” Narrative Control World

by Travis Mateer

When the story of the five homicides that were actually just one homicide finally came out, this is what got reported (emphasis mine):

The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office reports one woman is dead after an assault in Clinton on Sunday.

Deputies responded to a report of an assault in the 5600 block of Donovan Creek Road just after noon.

On scene, deputies found Delphine A. Farmer, 88, unresponsive. Farmer was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Officials say a person has not been taken into custody in relation to the homicide and there is no risk to the public at this time.

While I’m glad the mouthpiece for the Sheriff’s Office thinks the as-yet-to-be-detained assailant who allegedly beat an old woman to death doesn’t pose a risk to the public at this time, I’m going to remind readers that the Sheriff’s Office is led by an elected official, which makes the determination of “public risk” a political one, not one based on consensus reality, where us regular people live.

Irregular people, like the homeless sex offender (and the Sheriff’s Office who has been protecting him these last few years through non-enforcement) is what I went on KGVO yesterday morning to talk about, and TALK I DID! It was so nice to be back in the studio with Nick and Peter. You can click here and listen for yourself…I believe my part starts around the 26 minute mark.

On the raising kids front, it’s been particularly hard for a lot of reasons, and some of those reasons I discussed with Debra of the Debra Gets Red Pilled podcast earlier this month. It’s episode 152, titled It’s All Legos! which I think is more than appropriate.

I’ve had my own podcast on the back-burner for too many months now, and that needs to change, so hopefully that will be coming soon, in some form.

So stay tuned, and thanks for reading! It’s been quite a week.

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