A Suggestion To Local BLM Activists: Do Some Research Before Making Demands Of Our Missoula Community

by William Skink

At Monday’s City Council meeting BLM activists continued their call to defund the police. This is how the Missoula Current is reporting what happened at the virtual meeting:

Calls to defund the Missoula Police Department grew a little louder on Monday night with a handful of callers blasting the city for “siphoning off” money to equip officers while ignoring mental health, the city’s needy and “life giving Mother Earth.”

They also questioned the actions of the City Attorney’s Office in its choice to file misdemeanor charges against a legally armed individual accused of posing as a security officer without a license and unlawfully restraining a demonstrator.

That case has been filed in Missoula Municipal Court with a notice for the defendant to appear prior to July 31.

Several commentators on Monday night suggested local police intentionally sided with so-called vigilantes who were present at a BLM rally at the county courthouse on June 5 and in doing so, ignored the “culture at large.”

I have a hard time reading this without getting incredibly frustrated. Maybe that’s because I spent a decade of my life trying to understand the systems of neglect that leave mental health issues untreated until they become a crisis and people without homes languishing on the streets until they either die or move on.

As I continue to read I get more frustrated. These activists wanted charges against the white man with a gun, but when the city complies and charges the man with a crime, it’s not good enough.

You want felony charges, BLM activists? People are being LITERALLY MURDERED in our community, and the killers are facing NO CHARGES.

When the BLM activists claim law enforcement “intentionally sided with so-called vigilantes” they omit that a BLM organizer was present and actively escalating the situation with the unnamed black teen. Who is this BLM organizer? Is this person still involved with the protests? Was this organizer coordinating with law enforcement?

BLM activists are throwing all they got into this unlawful detainment situation because they think it’s the wedge that gets their foot in the door, so I guess awkward facts should just be ignored as they disrupt a Monday night City Council meeting. Here’s more from the link:

The June 5 incident has yet to go to court and the facts have yet to be litigated. But callers on Monday night were united in their call for City Council members to use the “collective power” of their office to defund the Missoula Police Department and press higher charges against the alleged vigilante.

One Monday night caller interrupted a number of council members and other callers in pushing his agenda. Other callers urged the city to move money from law enforcement to subsidized housing and mental healthcare.

“The people’s money is being siphoned off to don the police department with military grade gear and tactical vehicles that only contribute to street intimidation and show off cool tactical gear among each other,” one caller said.

No member of the City Council defended the police department during Monday’s call-in session. But several defended themselves against what they saw as slanders and falsities presented by one or two members of the public.

Again, it’s hard reading this. Why? Because these activists are just spouting off without any real understanding of what they are asking for.

Take the caller who claims “The people’s money” is being used to obtain military grade tactical gear. If this caller had spent ten minutes doing some research, like I did this morning, he/she would have discovered that Bullock signed an anti-police militarization bill FIVE YEARS AGO:

Gov. Steve Bullock surprised a Republican lawmaker Thursday by signing a bill that limits what state and local police forces can take from the Pentagon’s warehouses of surplus military equipment.

The new law bans receiving weaponized drones, combat aircraft, grenades, grenade launchers, silencers and militarized armored vehicles from the Pentagon’s 1033 program. It also requires agencies to publish their requests within 14 days.

Since I was young and naive myself once, maybe I should try to be a little more sympathetic.

I can remember being horrified at the wars launched by a Republican president after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. I was in my early 20s and very much anti-war, which is I voted for Jon Tester for the Senate in 2006, and Barack Obama for president in 2008.

I can also remember being horrified at the rampant corruption of Wall Street during the economic crisis of 2008. I had just started working at the homeless shelter in Missoula, and my first child was born that same year. I had high hopes for President Obama as he entered office on a wave of exuberant optimism.

I no longer have any hope that our two party political system is capable of being responsive to the actual needs of its non-billionaire citizenry, and that’s not a bad thing, because it allows me to put my energy into things that I find more satisfying and worthwhile.

BLM activists are wasting their energy right now appealing to local officials for radical reform. Every naive call to DEFUND THE POLICE will further isolate them from the public support necessary to move progressive agendas forward.

And BLM activists are also wasting time. If their relevancy is contingent on media attention (and I think it is) then I suspect that attention will be maintained right up until November 3rd, when America’s quadrennial Dear Leader ritual is held.

After that, if Dementia Joe is the victor, the politics of placation will commence. Expect lots of vacuous speeches by dubious tokens like Al Sharpton.

Before the most consequential vote of all mankind in all the universe happens on November 3rd, is it too much to ask our local BLM activists to at least spend a few hours researching the things they are demanding of their local community?

There are about 80,000 people living in our little valley, and if a good portion of this population doesn’t agree with the demands being made, then it’s not going to happen.

Take this from someone who spent a decade of his professional life trying to make positive changes happen in his community. What I got instead was lip-service and an education in corruption.

If you would like to schedule a Missoula history lesson with me, hit me up at willskink at yahoo dot com. I currently only accept the following forms of payment: Legos, silver coins and certain calibers of ammunition.

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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5 Responses to A Suggestion To Local BLM Activists: Do Some Research Before Making Demands Of Our Missoula Community

  1. Here’s a simple question for BLM Missoula: How much do we fund the police for now?

    I doubt a single protester knows that answer. It’s $892,000 for the upcoming budget. My…that’s really not that much money, considering the city’s total annual budget is over $61 million. Yep, the police amount to a ‘whopping’ 1.4% of our annual budget.

    I have a feeling we spend more to service our debt each year than we do to fund our police, but that’s not an issue. TIF ‘revenues’ certainly exceed the police budget. We spend more to bridges to nowhere over Reserve than we do on our police. Dog statues get more money than our police.

    And now a bunch of young leftists that probably won’t vote anyways want us to give them less money?


    Protest all you want, but the answer’s still gonna be no. Don’t like it? Too bad – go grab your placard and head to the courthouse. See what good that does you.

    The city/county can find the money for it’s passenger trains and federal office buildings somewhere else besides the police, which we need much more than either, especially since they’re set to bulldoze the homeless camp, forcing dozens of people from their ‘homes’ and ‘back onto the streets.’

    But hey, at least the downtown businesses that still exist can call the new public health defender force.

    • BLM says:

      The BLM organizers of Missoula officially support Greg Strandberg’s request to fund MPD at $892,000 per year.

      • if you are not just trolling and actually involved with organizing, can you provide any clarifying information on the BLM organizer who allegedly joined the vigilantes and demanded the teen show his face?

  2. Sorry for the mistake. The police budget was $19 million last year and the mayor/police want to give them an additional $892,000 next year. The department probably needs more money than that. The police budget is 31% of total budget spending, which was $62 million last year.

    We’ve only added around 10 officers to the force over the past decade, yet service calls have gone from 41,000 in 2010 to 51,000 last year. And it’s not like the police are harassing the public – citations went from 25,000 to 16,000 over the same period of time.

    I don’t think voting, property tax-paying Missoulians are going to warm to the idea of defunding police.

    • hey youngsters, see how this adult is modeling accountability? he made a mistake and apologized for it.

      now, what about this BLM organizer who escalated the confrontation with the teen in the alley with his phone and his demand to unmask the kid?

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