Set the music free
Much thanks to Paul Simon for kicking off the official start of summer with a quintessential Missoula concert! A perfect night indeed, except for the folks that were removed from the rail tracks and hills enjoying the concert from outside the fences—a common practice at most Osprey Field events. I think I can state for most Missoulians that we as a community do not mind paying over $50 for tickets, which can then provide free music to other members of our community, to help offset steep ticket prices. Shame on the security guards and/or police to deprive members of our community from enjoying some of the wonderful music that comes to our beautiful home. But back to Paul: Thank you, good sir!
I heard the Trump boys were wanting a couple of griz heads for their walls ("Zinke announces final delisting rule for Yellowstone grizzlies," June 22). Nice of Zinke to arrange for them to be delisted so Donald Junior and his brother Eric can now go kill a couple and maybe a spare, just in case Barron wants one, too. It's so hard to find something to give guys that have everything. Good job, Zinke! Remember to get one for yourself so you can brag at the next Boone and Crockett Club meeting.
Mari von Hoffmann
The great divide
I'm a "liberal," and like many liberals in Montana I am for the right to bear arms and protect yourself ("Shooting back is just as violent as shooting first," June 22). It is the same neoliberal regime that runs both parties at the top that pushes the divide amid the populace with false control, racism (historical classist division struggle), etc. When people fail to see beyond that and label each other, they have nothing to blame but their own nihilistic greed, apathy, and idiotic grade-school intelligence, with consistent name calling to blame.
Dang, that's probably the dumbest thing I've ever heard! ("Shooting back is just as violent as shooting first," June 22.) You'd probably just lie down and let a grizzly or mountain lion eat you.
Guns not needed
I think an important point is the difference between in-town among humans and the backcountry, where the predator animals are ("Shooting back is just as violent as shooting first," June 22.) Human animals are advantaged with pre-frontal lobes and opposable thumbs, the places in our brains and hands where we are capable of a kind of creativity that other animals don't have. If you go into the backcountry, it's dumb not to have a gun, and there are certain types of guns that make good sense out there (clue: not AK-47s). It is in fact the height of stupidity to have a lot of undisciplined blowhards walking around town with pistols feeling like the Big Sheriff. Much cooler, much better living environment for everyone and everything when people are most interested in getting together and being creative with our planetary problems. There's plenty to do. Figuring out how not to waste beautiful children to accidental gun deaths, making it very difficult for criminals to get guns, choosing and training cops who don't shit their pants and shoot every black person they see, building a human economy where no one is so desperately poor that crime is attractive for "survival." I mean, there's plenty to get done, and sitting back saying, "Impossible—humans will never do that" is literally the only thing in the way of it actually happening. We don't "need" guns. We choose guns because we are lazy and afraid.
Eyes wide open
You stepped up to bring the matter to their attention ("At the Sunrise Saloon, a painting sparks debate," June 22.) It's up to them now. So many of us are blind to the images with which we are bombarded every day. Thank you for being mindful and aware—a lesson for us all.
Wendy L. Cohan
No gun left behind
Robbie [Liben] would be a lot more credible in his piece if he stated that when he hears the noise of someone breaking into his home at 3 in the morning he will demand of the 9-1-1 operator that the police leave their guns at the station house before they come to investigate.
Cause for concern?
[Yolanda] Garcia "has been a Sunrise Saloon patron for years" as the article states ("At the Sunrise Saloon, a painting sparks debate," June 22). She never encountered racism from the staff, owners or its patrons during all that time. She didn't even notice the painting in question until it was pointed out to her. Yet she and affiliates now claim that the establishment, employees and patrons are suddenly racist and violent. I believe this is just a child crying for attention and creating a problem when there wasn't one.
The organization boasted how it "strategically chose a night when a band would be playing" to host their protest. Yet they renamed their protest as a celebration of diversity and moved the location of the event away from the Sunrise Saloon. They claim one reason for this is that they feared violent confrontations and had received threats. The truth is that the cause is not highly supported. Instead, the community has chosen to support the establishment and recognize it for what it contributes to the community: paying jobs for staff, bands, entertainment companies, fundraising and a friendly place to gather. If, in fact, threats were actually made against Garcia or her affiliates, they certainly do not represent the nature of this community, this establishment or its supporters. I would suggest reporting threats to the police and refrain from slandering businesses and their customers.
Lastly, I would warn that protesting just for the sake of attention is irresponsible. It dilutes the effort to bring attention to larger-scale concerns. A more worthy cause would be to advocate fair wages for minorities and women. This is a cause that could improve lives, as opposed to removing a painting because it made someone sad.
The next whiskey bar
I don't think I want to drink with people that are OK with a painting of a lynching on the wall ("At the Sunrise Saloon, a painting sparks debate," June 22.) Plenty of other bars in town pouring the same drinks.