by William Skink
Last August I emailed the Executive Director of United Way, Susan Hay Patrick, about Project Safe Neighborhoods. The reason I reached out to her is because this article indicated United Way would play a coordinating role with Project Safe Neighborhoods. Here is the quote I excerpted in that post:
“Meth is overwhelming our courtrooms, our jails and our hospitals, it’s devastating families and kids, and it is nurturing the next generation of criminals and addicts,”Susan Hay Patrick CEO of United Way of Missoula County said. “We can and must break this terrible cycle by providing greater access to effective treatment and prevention.”
Later in the article, US Attorney Kurt Alme had this to say:
Alme said cracking down on violent crime is only the first step. Moving forward, he said drug treatment and prevention is the next step to address the issue.
Over this past weekend, a big meth bust was announced, which I wrote about here. And today, quickly following on the heels of that announcement, there is an article about a $248,000 grant to do what is always done in Missoula with any difficult problem–STUDY IT!
Before getting to that, it’s important to frame the problem, and thanks to the pandemic, the trend we were being told about these past two years by Aulme’s office–that violent crime IS GOING DOWN–has suddenly been reversed.
That last link is to an article from last June, three months in to the pandemic. Now, five months later, this is what we are being told about violent crime in Montana (emphasis mine):
A new substance abuse prevention coalition has been awarded $248,000 to get its members, more than 40 in total, on the same page and into gear, the U.S. District Attorney for Montana said last week.
The grant comes at a time when violent crime in Missoula is up 40% since the beginning of the pandemic earlier this year, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office. Law enforcement agencies have almost universally attributed methamphetamine use as the fuel to violent crime.
Now that we suddenly have a meth-fueled violent crime problem in Missoula, what are we going to do about it? This is where money and a community fixer like Patrick comes in.
The methods of placation in Missoula when it comes to intractable problems, like addiction and homelessness, are well-known to fixers like Patrick. And since I spent a decade of my life working in this world, I am VERY familiar with what happens next.
The first thing to do is FORM A COALITION. It’s important to insulate your efforts with a bunch of well-meaning non-profit do-gooders, and since they are usually money-starved and grant-dependent, they won’t criticize your efforts, even if they’ve seen this show a hundred times before.
Next, after forming the coalition, talk about how you are going to study shit like GAPS IN SERVICES. This sounds very professional and creates the impression that once gaps are identified THEY CAN BE FIXED. From the link (emphasis mine):
The coalition will first look to gather information from every angle it can acquire through its new network, so that the landscape becomes clear and gaps in resources can be addressed.
“There’s a lot of data out there that hasn’t necessarily been synthesized in one place to determine where are our gaps in treatment,” Hay Patrick said.
The Missoula money/study regime keeps pulling this shit because it works. Just look at homelessness in Missoula for a similar example.
Speaking of homelessness, there’s new news on that front as well, but readers will have to wait until tomorrow for a breakdown on our illuminated brain trust’s latest efforts to address that intractable problem.