Why Is The Montana Human Rights Network More Interested In A Broken Window In Kalispell Than The Death Of Sean Stevenson In Missoula?

by Travis Mateer

The Montana Human Rights Network has a new incident to exploit up in Kalispell. Apparently a window in a bookstore was broken and because it was the window displaying a pride flag, then it MUST BE A HATE CRIME!

When I see the Montana Human Rights Network take up an issue like this on Twitter, I like to remind them that I’ve been trying to get them to listen to my interview with Sean Stevenson’s sisters for months now. When I commented on their tweet, I got this response:

So, the response I got is that no one at MHRN has gotten information about this “situation”. Since it’s entirely possible that I’m the one confused here, I checked to make sure that Travis McAdam is connected to MHRN, since he’s the one I most recently sent the interview link to, and sure enough, McAdam is the “Director of Combating White Nationalism and Defending Democracy at Montana Human Rights Network”.

Having confirmed that Travis McAdam is indeed a staff member at MHRN, I will now share a screenshot of a portion of my email exchange with him. This email exchange happened all the way back in early May:

It is becoming increasingly obvious to me that non-profit organizations like the Montana Human Rights Network are actually political organizations LARPing as non-profits. If this organization actually cared about the life of a black man cut short in Missoula, then it wouldn’t be so damn difficult for me to get their staff to spend 90 fucking minutes to listen to an interview with Sean’s sisters describing what the previous year of searching for answers has been like for their family.

It only took a few days after a window was smashed (and a hunch from the proprietor that it was hate-related) for the Montana Human Rights Network to spring into action.

In contrast, it’s been OVER A YEAR AND A HALF since Sean Stevenson was assaulted at the Poverello Center, taken to St. Pats hospital, then removed from life support two days later WITHOUT HIS FAMILY EVER BEING NOTIFIED!

If Sean Stevenson had been killed in a conservative community, instead of a liberal one like Missoula, would the Montana Human Rights Network actually give a shit about his life?

I don’t want the answer to that question to be yes, but it sure looks like the MHRN is more interested in playing politics (to benefit one party over another) than they are in helping Sean’s family find the truth about what actually happened to their loved one.


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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8 Responses to Why Is The Montana Human Rights Network More Interested In A Broken Window In Kalispell Than The Death Of Sean Stevenson In Missoula?

  1. Is William Skink the only human being in Missoula with decency, honesty, a heart ❤, a brain and courage and dare I say the cajones to stand in the face of the continuing cover-up and demand answers. GOD BLESS YOU SIR !!

  2. J. Kevin Hunt says:

    I don’t know about MHRN; perhaps it is Travis Macadam’s screw-up. I’d probably call him before whacking MHRN, but without question the phenomenon you describe is quite prevalent.

    For example, Brandon Bryant’s trial commenced Tuesday in the Fourth Judicial Distirct Court. You wrote about that case more than once. To understand what this has to do with your observations about MHRN, your readers first need some background, which this somewhat lengthy paragraph will provide. Bryant became a regular attendee at Msla. City Council meetings, testifying against outlandish, wasteful TIF projects that enriched the wealthy and made our housing emergency worse while putting our retiree longtime homeowners in jeopardy of being property taxed out of their homes, and he likewise testifed against rezoning to permit demolition of older affordable housing in order to build high-end condos for transplanted millionaires. At one meeting, Brandon was holding his beautiful walking stick. In a rather disjointed oration, he used the stick as a metaphor to explain how TIF is a tool that can be used for good or evil, just as his stick could be used as a weapon to kill. He became emotional and alarmed the Council President. Shortly thereafter, a former superior officer to Brandon in the USAF drone program sent a highly-edited video Brandon had produced, in which Brandon railed against corruption and at one point alluded to elimination of local gov’t elected officials. That former superior officer had resigned his commission in protest of the drone program, and appears to be quite miffed and obsessed with resentment that Brandon has received much international publicity as a whistleblower about the program — attention Btrandon’s former superior officer has not received. He has posted dozens of videos and screeds trashing Brandon. His transmittal to the City of the abridged video made by Brandon caused a reaction by Mayor Engen and several Alderpersons leading to Brandon’s arrest and jailing in lieu of $100,000 bail, on charges of making terroristic threats. The ultimate madness from this was the imposition of martial law in downtown Missoula and deployment of snipers on the courthouse roof, when bitter cold caused the rear window of a police car to pop (which has happened before and is not particularly unusual), and hours of lockdown and sniper deployment followed despite the ease with which it was readily determined that the cop car rear glass was not shot out. This was after months of SRO Council meetings packed with a broad alliance of Missoulians livid over the City’s perversion of New Urbanism and exploitation of the housing crisis for the enrichment of the rich and displacement of the lower econimic half of our residnents. The spark for that was the infamous sweetheart deal by Mauor Engen for $16.5 million TIF subsidy to mutimillionaire Wisconsin transplant Nick Checota for The Drift, a luxury hotel and concert venue to expand Checota’s already monopolistic music venue empire. The Mayor abruptrly rescheduled the hearing on the Checota subsidy, moving it from its scheduled regular Monday evening council meeting, to a date five days earslier at 2:15 pm when working class folks coild not attend, catching even the council off guard. I stumbled upon the rescheduling, rushed to the hearing and was the only regular citizen there. I testified against the deal and objected to the Mayor’s attempt to stifle public input. My letter to the Editor about this was published in the Misssoulian and the movement erupted out of that.

    Judge Vanatta, over defense objection, has limited public attendance of this trial of Brandon now in progress, to six persons.

    What is of interest in terms of the phenomenon you describe, is that four City Councilpersons called for Brandon’s release and dismissal of the charges. The first was Heather Harp. All the other Democrats supported the prosecution. The other three, whio were the most ardent in demanding dismissal of the charges against Brandon, were Libertarian Republican Jesse Ramos, and Republicans John Contos and Sandra Vasecka (the three nicknamed “Team Liberty’). They released an eloquent written statement and made statments to the press saying they did not feel threatened by Brandon, that the video had been transmitted to the City not by him but by someone else (his obsessed former superior officer), that they refused to be characterized as victims, that they had viewed the unedited full-length original video and that in that context, it was clear that Brandon was not threatening anyone but was expressing deep frustration as part of a spiritual and deeply held desire to change unjust policies. Alderman Ramos said he was very concerned about the chilling effect Brandon’s prosecution would have on citizens’ exercise of the their constitutional right to comment on and participate in local policymaking, alluding to the specter of years of social media posts being dug up to intimidate those disagreeing with City policy. That letter and statements to NBC Montana may be read here:


    And just yesterday, a kerfuffle arose on Missoula Rising’s FB group about DSA’s planned informational assembly at the federal courthouse at noon today, calling for release of Julian Assange and dismissal of the trumped-up espionage charges against him, now that the FBI’s paid informant — the gov’t’s sole ‘smoking gun’ grand jury witness — has recanted, admitted to fabricating his testimony, and confessed to embezzling $50K from Wikileaks, all while being a paid FBI informant. The Blue No Matter Who crowd parrots neolib talking points, calling Assange a traitor, a rapist and (egads!) someone who attacked Democrats while ignoring Republican misdeeds! This stems, of course, from neolib Clintonites’ anger over Assange’s publication during the 2016 Dem Nat’l Convention, of hacked DNC emails leaked to him, corroborating the Clinton/Wasserman-Schultz/DNC corruption and rigging that stole the nomination from Bernie Sanders. This was a very important story and Assange’s muckraking was excellent. He exploded the myth that the Democratic Party (since its co-optation by corporatist neolibs) is the squeaky-clean party of electoral integrity and popular will. Of course, Clinton had been trashing assange for months, for publishing ecidence of U.S. war crimes, including the revelations from Chelsea Manning. The rape allegations have been dismissed with prejudice. Aassange, in the tradition of the great muckraking journalists, strives to, in H.L. Mencken’s words, “comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.”

    The generally politically illiterate public (it not being the public’s fault that this is so) is programmed to see a right vs. left, liberal vs. conservative political dichotomy, and the neoliberal Democrats and Republicans in power mutually benefit from maintenance of this model, because it prevents the people from getting hip to the real struggle, which is the class warfare being waged by the very wealthy upon the lower and middle classes. Engen and the other City Council Democrats are, with a couple of partial exceptions, in the neoliberal camp whether they realize/admit it or not, but the mainstream media and party mantra is that Engen and the council majority are “left-leaning.” The Democrats villify collaborative progressive candidates who ally with Jesse Ramos on the issue of TIF abuse and subsidies to 1%ers such as Checota and Stockman Bank.

    It sometimes also happens that a human rights organization will manifest bias toward zealous protection of LGBTQ rights, while falling down in the same zealous advocacy on behalf of BIPOC rights, and vice versa. I’m not saying that’s the case here, but it happens.

    All I can say is KEEP UP THE MUCKRAKING and INCISIVE JOURNALISM on behalf of SEAN STEVENSON, BRANDON BRYANT and the other afflicted members of our community, without regard to party.


    • thanks for the comment, lots to think about, but as for talking to the MHRN, I’m not interested in hearing any more words from this institution because their talk is cheap and, I suspect, VERY dependent on the liberal donor class.

      • The murky cover-up of the murder, RESUSCITATION and eventual euthanization of my son Sean’s certainly NOT the stuff or substance of MUCKRAKING in any way shape or form. I’m grateful beyond words that Mr Skink represents the best of humanity in Montana and is unwilling to go “quietly into the night” as if the cover story concocted out of whole cloth had even one scintilla of truth to it. But whatsoever is done in darkness WILL come to light. Keep on shining the light on this Skink the “cockroaches” are starting to scramble!

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