by William Skink
Pete Talbot has a good catch here about a woman who was criminally charged after sending Senator Tester a loaded gun in the mail. It’s a good catch because the story is vague and it’s placement (for those older peeps who read actual newspapers) on page two of the Montana section does kind of obscure its significance.
The reporting hints at prior law enforcement involvement, some kind of investigation, and the temporary removal and return of the same firearm sent to Senator Tester. That is disturbing. And Montana, like too many states, is terrible at sending information to the national database that could, if used, be better at keeping guns out of the hands of people with serious mental illnesses.
Getting that information reported may be an incremental improvement, but in the meantime, what are people to do with a broken mental health system, anti-government sentiment among much of the state population and guns everywhere?
I’m probably not the best person to answer that question. Experiences I’ve had, up close and personal with the mental health system and it’s intersection with the criminal justice system, make me very biased. Over the last few years I’ve gone through a transformation that many readers of the old blog saw as a giving in to fear, and maybe they’re right, but ultimately I felt it was time for me to become a responsible gun owner.
What I don’t buy is the logic that more guns will stop gun violence. I’m not advocating for that at all. I’m just privy to the reality of how difficult it is to truly be preventative when it comes to mental illness and gun violence, and because I’m exposed to sometimes potentially dangerous people, I feel like I need to know how to safely handle and maintain firearms.
That’s particular to me, and not something I can explicitly justify. What I will say is things are improving, especially at the jail. Sometimes it’s good to have a new Sheriff in town. I’m actually cautiously optimistic that Missoula will get its shit together.