Vague Story of a Woman from Troy Who Sent Senator Tester a Loaded Gun Hints at Larger Problem

by William Skink

Pete Talbot has a good catch here about a woman who was criminally charged after sending Senator Tester a loaded gun in the mail. It’s a good catch because the story is vague and it’s placement (for those older peeps who read actual newspapers) on page two of the Montana section does kind of obscure its significance.

The reporting hints at prior law enforcement involvement, some kind of investigation, and the temporary removal and return of the same firearm sent to Senator Tester. That is disturbing. And Montana, like too many states, is terrible at sending information to the national database that could, if used, be better at keeping guns out of the hands of people with serious mental illnesses.

Getting that information reported may be an incremental improvement, but in the meantime, what are people to do with a broken mental health system, anti-government sentiment among much of the state population and guns everywhere?

I’m probably not the best person to answer that question. Experiences I’ve had, up close and personal with the mental health system and it’s intersection with the criminal justice system, make me very biased. Over the last few years I’ve gone through a transformation that many readers of the old blog saw as a giving in to fear, and maybe they’re right, but ultimately I felt it was time for me to become a responsible gun owner.

What I don’t buy is the logic that more guns will stop gun violence. I’m not advocating for that at all. I’m just privy to the reality of how difficult it is to truly be preventative when it comes to mental illness and gun violence, and because I’m exposed to sometimes potentially dangerous people, I feel like I need to know how to safely handle and maintain firearms.

That’s particular to me, and not something I can explicitly justify. What I will say is things are improving, especially at the jail. Sometimes it’s good to have a new Sheriff in town. I’m actually cautiously optimistic that Missoula will get its shit together.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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9 Responses to Vague Story of a Woman from Troy Who Sent Senator Tester a Loaded Gun Hints at Larger Problem

  1. Eric says:

    It was obviously attempted murder – after all we’re talking about Jon Tester, our laughing stock Senator who actually cut off his own fingers. Sending him a sharp object, and a loaded weapon was a dangerous thing, and the Postal Service probably saved his life by intercepting the package.

  2. steve kelly says:

    We build prisons, which, together with armed police, represent the core of our commitment/investment in social order. Arrest and incarcerate naturally follows as the go-to control mechanism for everyone who can’t afford an attorney. It’s the system that’s funky, and not in a good way, funky.

    “Our capitalist system callously discards surplus labor, especially poor people of color, employing lethal force and the largest prison system in the world to keep them under control. ”

    “…This is by design. All penal reform, from President Truman’s 1947 Committee on Civil Rights report to the Safe Streets Act of 1968 to the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 to contemporary calls for more professionalization, in effect only hand more power and resources to the police. It does nothing to blunt police abuse or reverse mass incarceration. It does nothing to address the bias of white supremacy.” – Chris Hedges

    More from Hedges’ article: “Change, Murakawa said, requires us to formulate a very different vision of society.”

    “We should follow Angela Davis’ call to ask the question: What is it we have to imagine if we abolish the social functions of police and prisons?” she said. “What is it we have to build if we can no longer jail people who are mentally ill or suffering from long-term addiction or homeless? We are going to have to build a lot.” – Naomi Murakawa, author of “The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America”

  3. Big Swede says:

    That’s the problem with liberals.

    They themselves have guns or armed bodyguards they just don’t want you to own any.

  4. Big Swede says:

    Here’s a thought.

    Who kills more American’s the mentally unstable with guns or illegal immigrants?

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