Oblivious Candidate Michael Burks And The Monumental Failure Of Public Protectors And Non-Profit Helpers

by Travis Mateer

While the days go by without a positive ID of the body thought to be Rebekah Barsotti, I’m turning my attention to the political arena where former protectors (like Bill Burt) and non-profit helpers (like Lowell Hochhalter) position themselves for opportunities.

One opportunity for Lowell Hochhalter’s organization, the LifeGuard Group, is to affix onto a political figure like HD 97 candidate, Michael Burks. I recently reached out to Burks to confirm what I thought was the obvious support his campaign was getting from the LifeGuard Group’s head honcho, Lowell Hochhalter, but maybe I misread this Facebook post:

Since Michael Burks has obviously met the Hochhalter’s, and is SO excited to LEAD THE FIGHT against human trafficking, I was a little confused about my text exchange with this political candidate.

I wasn’t sure what to expect after sending Burks the link, but I got a pretty hilarious response about the graffiti’d dollar that greets readers at the top of the blog. I guess using an image of a defaced piece of fiat currency lowers my credibility in the eyes of some political candidates.

If I was Michael Burks I’d try to focus on something other than my oblivious response to a journalist about an organization I have obvious ties to as well.

One would think a philanthropic-minded candidate like Michael Burks would be more attuned to the helpers associated with the Missoula County Sheriff’s Department, helpers like chaplain Lowell Hochhalter, who also runs the LifeGuard Group.

Heck, a former Missoula County Sheriff’s Deputy turned documentary filmmaker even made a film about Michael Burks and the philanthropic group he flies for, Angel Flight West. From the first link (emphasis mine):

An award-winning, short documentary film called “Angels Do Fly West” was released nationwide on Friday, and it was made by a Missoulian.

The film brings awareness to a volunteer-driven organization that arranges flights for people with serious medical conditions who might otherwise not be able to get the treatment they need.

The film’s director, producer and creator Joe McNeal worked at the Missoula County Sheriff’s Department for 25 years before he retired.

Isn’t that fantastic? I bet you didn’t know our local Sheriff’s Department had such talent. That’s probably because you don’t watch old episodes of Live PD like I do.

On this Memorial day weekend I’d like to give a special thanks to the protectors and helpers who heed the call to aid and assist the public in times of crisis. These brave Americans sworn to serve and protect would never restrain desperate parents from trying to save their children from a psychopath with a gun, or shoot a young black man in the back after a half hour of pretending to deescalate him.

It’s easy to be impressed by the exemplary work being done these days by proud members of law enforcement to the point I wonder if I should start emulating their swagger?

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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