On Taking A More Active Role Promoting Public Safety In My Community

by Travis Mateer


The phrase “public safety” is constantly thrown around by our elected leaders–usually as a precursor for some shiny new government service or staff position–but public safety doesn’t have to be some government-controlled concept brought into existence by cops and other extensions of local government.

For example, on July 23rd, around midnight, I ran into a person I’m familiar with from my shelter days. This guy was in such a rush to meet someone at a local bar, he was going to leave a small portion of crystal meth behind, on a concrete step. I implored him to scoop up the meth and take it with him, which he did.

While I was asking this guy stuff, like if he cooked up the meth himself (he didn’t, claimed he’s getting supply from out-of-state), I was aware of a man watching this interaction from an alley.

After declining the offer to accompany the meth dealer to the bar, I pretended to walk off, then doubled back to speak with the guy who had been watching. Turns out he’s the door guy for a local establishment, so I gave him some context to what he had witnessed, and promised to follow up with an image of this guy.

Before doing that I wanted to talk with law enforcement, which I did last week. The member of the drug task force I spoke with indicated he was familiar with the meth dealer I was talking about, but considered him a small fish.

Personally, when it comes to meth, the figurative “size” of the dealer shouldn’t matter, but it does. I assume this is primarily due to how resources are deployed in our corrupt criminal justice system.

Since law enforcement didn’t seem overly concerned with this particular meth dealer who was arrested with a drunk 11 year old in his tent during Occupy Missoula, I decided to take a more active role in promoting public safety in my community by circulating the following picture of John Skinner from his discharge from jail a few months ago.

Here’s the pic:

I would like to see people get the help they need, but some people have no interest in changing. I don’t know if John Skinner is one of those people, but right now I consider him a menace and a danger to public safety, both downtown and at the Reserve Street camps, where I first ran into him back in June (right when the fires started kicking off in earnest).

Because of my concern for public safety, and my belief that we citizens need to take a more active role in promoting safety in our own communities, I have decided to publicize and circulate this image of John to raise awareness that he’s dealing meth and doesn’t seem to give a fuck about who his meth dealing hurts.

Thanks for reading.


Two days after posting this, John Skinner was arrested for several failure to appears. In investigating this Missoula street person I have even more concerns that in addition to dealing meth, he also has an interest in child porn. Here’s the booking pic I screen-shot:

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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4 Responses to On Taking A More Active Role Promoting Public Safety In My Community

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  2. I updated this post after learning a few days ago that John Skinner was arrested just two days after I brought attention to his possession of meth with intent to sell in the downtown area.

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