by Travis Mateer
While parents like me are being demonized for questioning school mask mandates for our children, tens of thousands of people in Missoula crammed into a football stadium and an amphitheater on Friday night to see Guns N Roses and Sheryl Crow.
In the reporting of the GNR show I haven’t seen the word DELTA mentioned anywhere, which makes sense, considering there’s money to be made.
So, instead of pushing FEAR to manipulate public opinion in support of mask mandates, we get “reporting” like this from the Missoula Current:
“You know where you are?” said Axl Rose while rolling into Welcome to the Jungle. “You’re in Montana, baby, and you’re gonna … ”
The group was scheduled to play last summer before the tour was delayed at the height of the pandemic. Still, around 20,000 fans filled Washington Grizzly Stadium and stayed to the end, where Guns and Roses closed with hits like Nighttrain, Patience and Cold November Rain.
It opened with Mr. Brownstone and was the first stadium concert of the season in Missoula in 2021.
Across town, Sheryl Crow was playing the Kettlehouse Amphitheater, marking a busy night of music in a city working to grow its standing as a musical hub in the Pacific Northwest.
I bolded the important work our city is doing to GROW an industry that benefits wealthy transplants like Nick Checota because a year ago I was REALLY WORRIED about Nick and the implosion of his Tax Increment Financed project he named THE DRIFT.
Since Nick Checota has an ENTIRE CITY behind him AND he was picked by Governor Bullock last year to be on the task force that directed over a BILLION dollars in CARES Act funding AND he also RECEIVED over a million dollars of that money, I think Nick Checota is doing just fine.
Not only is he doing fine, Nick Checota is also protected by the “friends” he has who are willing to violate their professional boundaries with a paying tenant because that tenant’s journalistic efforts got interpreted by this ED as “attacking her friends”.
From my vantage point (making art and doing the citizen journalist thing in downtown Missoula) the alcohol is flowing like spring runoff and making the money machine go KA-CHING!
But what about PUBLIC SAFETY!
I know the contrast of a vibrant bar scene and packed stadium full of nostalgia seekers is a difficult thing to reconcile with the image of my kids in masks, but it’s only difficult because people aren’t cynical enough about the all-pervasive power of money in the PUBLIC SAFETY equation.
Today I’m going to be working on a pretty explosive post I hope to have ready tomorrow or Tuesday about public safety. It’s the culmination of a very interesting week in which different strands of my work as an artist and journalist have become entangled in ways that gave me new insights into our local power structures.
To all the people I’ve talked to this past week–both new allies AND those who have been helping me understand our murky Missoula for years–THANK YOU!
I feel incredibly encouraged by all the positive activity I see happening around me as more and more people realize they are not alone in their experiences, thoughts and feelings.