by Travis Mateer
Naming groups of animals can be fun. A gaggle of geese, for example, or a parliament of owls. But can we apply the same kind of naming fun to other things, like grants?
Martin Kidston says YES HE CAN in an article about how Missoula’s crisis team is going to look at data (not corpses) because they got a SUITE OF GRANTS to do so. From the link:
A suite of grants directed toward mental health and incarceration in Missoula could fund the data collection needed to improve the way law enforcement responds to crisis situations, and help the homeless obtain housing.
On August 29th there was a crisis situation west of Missoula with a homeless man by the name of Johnny Lee Perry and a machete. The Sheriff deputies who responded ended up “helping” Johnny find permanent housing six feet under ground.
It’s nice the Crisis Intervention Team is looking at data. I’d like to look at some data as well, like the names of the deputies involved in killing Johnny Lee Perry, and I’m not the only one.
On September 27th, the Montana Racial Equity Project released a statement regarding this lethal use of force by the Missoula County Sheriff’s Department. Here it is:
The Montana Racial Equity Project (MTREP) mourns the loss of yet another person of color at the hands of police. On August 29, 2021, Johnny Lee Perry II, a black man, was shot and killed by the Missoula County Sheriff’s Department.Perry was a son, father, and fellow Montanan deserving of human dignity. Regardless of race, class, housing status, or state of mental health no one deserves to die at the hands of police. This was a tremendous loss to the community. Johnny Lee Perry II deserves transparent justice and accountability.
The media has released a booking photo to portray Perry as a criminal even though he was never prosecuted for a crime. This is an example of the continuous perpetuation of shameful stereotypes about BIPOC people. It also serves as a racist justification for his summary execution. Perry’s past incident has no bearing upon the incident which led to his death. The Missoula County Sherriff’s Office should have used their prior contact with Perry as evidence of the need for the local crisis response team.
MTREP is demanding the release of any dashcam or bodycam footage of the incident along with the names of the Missoula County Sheriff’s deputies involved in this shooting. MTREP also demands a full and transparent evaluation of the events leading to the death of Johnny Lee Perry II. BIPOC across Montana deserve justice, accountability, and freedom from discriminatory policing.
So, the Crisis Intervention Team is focused on DATA, and the Montana Racial Equity Project seems focused on Johnny’s mugshot.
Hey, I have an idea! Let’s focus on the REALITY of what’s actually happening. Can we do that?
When I was younger and more naive, I may have pointed to the role of journalists in interpreting the on-the-ground reality for their readers, but it’s clear journalists in Missoula are nearly worthless in describing what’s actually happening.
To exemplify this point, here’s what came back when I searched the Missoula Current for the name of Johnny Lee Perry:
I am not surprised there is no content that matches my criteria. Kidston is too busy describing what a SUITE OF GRANTS can do:
The grants include $65,000 to fund a mental health coordinator at Partnership Health Center, and $66,000 for an outreach coordinator at the Western Montana Mental Health Center.
But it’s an $80,000 grant to the city and county that got local mental health advocates talking this week. The funding, good through this fiscal year, will provide the data analyst needed to track Missoula’s fledgling Crisis Intervention Team.
I’m glad there is money coming in to allow the professionals to study the data. And I’m glad there are stenographers like Kidston to somewhat coherently relate that information to readers.
The important thing is to not get bogged down by the obnoxious critics of reality, like me, pointing to the inconvenient corpses of black men undermining all the lofty liberal claims of the compassion clique. As long as THAT REALITY can be effectively ignored, I think things will be just fine in our Zoom Town.
Thanks for reading.