by William Skink
The resurgence of meth has received so much media attention in the past week that even Pete Talbot at Intelligent Discontent felt obliged to acknowledge this harsh reality:
Lots of meth news in the last few days. Use of this nastiest of drugs is on the increase despite an anti-meth campaign costing millions of dollars.
The Billings Gazette quotes Police Chief Rich St. John on the near record number of murders in the Magic City, “There’s a common denominator, and it’s usually methamphetamine.” Meth-related crime is up in Missoula, too, according to KECI-TV.
Last Best News, Reptile Dysfunction and the Missoula Independent are asking the question, could the Montana Meth Project money be better spent?
Missing from this acknowledgment is the inconvenient fact that the Governor’s wife sits on the board of the failure known as the Montana Meth Project. It would be nice if the Governor spoke out on what he will do if reelected to address this crisis, but this cynic isn’t holding his breath.
While the meth crisis simmers beneath the surface of this election season in Montana, alcohol abuse gets the partisan treatment from Montana Cowgirl with this ominously titled post: A Troubling Political Anniversary Looms. From the link:
Remember back when people told us Uber would help reduce drunk driving? CBS News is reporting that this time its guy who is in court for driving while impaired after his car struck a party bus in San Diego.
California doesn’t have a monopoly on this problem, to be sure. Our Montana GOP lawmakers believe drunk driving is a way of life in Montana (literally.)
This problem is widespread. Generally, Republicans have had a long and difficult romance with alcohol in Montana— what with the heavy-drinking Congressman and his many drinking escapades, the Secretary of State who ran for office from rehab in 2010.
Next week marks the anniversary of the day Rep. Scott Boggio, a GOP legislator from Red Lodge, on March 17, 2007 ran up on a curb while driving around with another repub, Elsie Arntzen, and got pulled over, and turned out to be massively drunk – with a blood alcohol content of 0.14 percent.
I’m not sure it’s smart for the online mouthpiece of Montana Democrats to be making alcohol abuse a partisan issue right now. To bring a little equity to this issue, I certainly don’t have to go back to 2007 to find an example of dangerously drunken behavior from an elected Democrat in Montana:
Augare, who is a member of the governing Blackfeet Tribal Business Council, was pulled over May 26 on U.S. Highway 2 on the Blackfeet reservation after the Glacier County Sheriff’s Office received calls of an erratic driver.
Augare had been drinking in a Cut Bank bar earlier in the evening with his family and left the bar with his mother, an FBI affidavit filed with the charging documents said.
During the traffic stop, Augare identified himself, said the deputy had no jurisdiction and that he was going to leave.
State and county officials generally don’t have jurisdiction to arrest an enrolled tribal member within the boundaries of a reservation.
The deputy ordered Augare to turn off the ignition, and the officer reached in and placed the gear shift into park, according to the FBI affidavit.
The deputy tried to grab the keys and told Augare, “You are highly intoxicated,” the affidavit said.
Augare revved his engine in response and a second deputy pulled the first officer back as Augare sped off, the affidavit said.
This is despicable behavior for an elected official, but he’s a Democrat, so don’t expect any of the partisan blogs to remind their readers of this, or the other alcohol-related run-in Shannon Augare had with tribal police.
In Missoula, city council member Pam Walzer was arrested in 2010 for driving under the influence. That was news only because Pam was caught. From what I have heard, there are other Missoula politicians who are lucky they haven’t been caught yet.
Alcohol and drug abuse is not a partisan issue, but if partisans want to try and make it one, they better check the glass walls in their house before throwing stones at others.