Wednesday, March 29, 2006


The Slog: Montana created Kyle Huff

I admit it: my Montana blood boiled a little when I read Eli Sanders’ post on Slog about the recent shooting in Seattle. In the post, Sanders tells of his contacts with Whitefish police about an incident involving shooter Kyle Huff six years ago in which Huff shot a fiberglass moose with a shotgun. The basic gist is this: the Whitefish police let Huff off the hook, enabling him to six years later to go on a murderous rampage in Seattle. This is, of course, completely useless speculation. Even if Huff had been convicted of a felony in the moose-shooting incident and, therefore, had two guns used in the Seattle shooting taken from him, it’s probable he would have gotten more guns. It’s also silly speculation: shooting a roadside plastic moose is hardly worthy of a felony conviction. Sure it was stupid – but it’s hardly worth anybody’s while to stuff jails with teenagers for crimes like vandalism. But if the post weren’t bad enough, delve into the comments. There you will see the Huff shooting depicted as a clash of cultures, between “red” and “blue” Americans. Commenter “Daved”:
Gun nuts: We that live in the city are not attacking your piece of crap farm. You that lived in rural America are attacking our cities. You attack it with your dumb[*]ss redneck psychos like Kyle Huff, you attack it by voting for dumb f[*]cks like George Bush, you attack it by leeching tax money for projects only a handful of people need. Meanwhile cities generate the economic might of this country, and the thanks we get is you sending dumb f[*]cks like Kyle Huff into our communities downtown with his intolerant redneck "gotta blow sh[*]t up cause thats all I know how to do" shit. Then you defend this culture like its some high achievement, bubbas and beer and pickups and football. Did it ever occur that the reason we live in cities is we wanted to get the f[*]ck away from this stuff? Tell you what, when armed gangs of ravers and gays and metrosexuals drives out to BFE and starts shooting at god fearing law abiding redneck losers, whose only crime was voting for George Bush, then you can have reason to gripe or feel like you're being persecuted. Right now, you stupid f[*]cks, its you that are attacking us, you made America dumber, more likely to invade other countries, and more likely to be able to go off for no reason like Kyle Fat Country F[*]ck Huff went off. I don't own a gun. If I lived on a farm, I'd own rifles for hunting and THATS IT. There was no legitimate need for the guns Kyle Huff was allowed in this society to own. Stop defending the system when the system you support was, just like your president, a miserable failure.
Admittedly, this is the most extreme post of them all. Most of the accusation against Montana in this incident has been subtle. Sanders’ post, for example, implies that Montana has lax policies towards guns and encourages gun behavior and, therefore, homicides. But basically the gist is the same: Montana created Kyle Huff. This is, of course ridiculous. Montana is just like any other place on the planet: its citizens are human. Some of its citizens are mentally ill, a few might be even be capable of mass murder, like Kyle Huff. But the same is true of any place, any where. The real problem is the attitude expressed, not only in Daved’s comment and by other city residents, but by Montanans here in Montana, too. How often do you hear – or say – that Montana’s problems are the result of Californians moving to the state? How much of right-wing hyperbole blames the effete qualities of blue-state big-city dwellers for our country’s problems? Newsflash: as someone who’s lived in rural and big-city communities (yes, I lived in Seattle and San Francisco) Americans across the country are more similar than different. Yes, big-city folks are more tolerant of racial, ethnic, and sexual-preference differences; yes, small-town folks form closer communities. But in the end, virtually no one wants violence or mayhem in their or anybody else’s communities. The people that do are sick, like Kyle Huff. Period. Ultimately, we can place blame for how this perception of "cultural warfare" got started. Blame domestic religious fundamentalists and their GOP supporters. Daved's rhetoric is ultimately radical conservative logic that claims that any conflicting ideology (i.e., liberalism) is "infecting" our culture and must be eliminated. This is the language that was introduced into the mainstream at George W Bush's inauguration in January of 2001. Daved's response is obviously an outbreak of frustration at being the recipient of such language for the last six years. That, or he's a total *sshole. Or both.
Well said.
Yeah, when I lived in Billings I dealt with rural crap. Living in Seattle now I deal with urban crap.

I'll favor the urban crap any day, but it's still just crap. Lots of angry people need to make themselves feel better by railing against "the other." Those people live everywhere and will readily embrace their own community as superior to others.

If I have to live among:
a) People who rail against homos, abortion, secular humanists, government, taxes, feminists and collectivism, or
b) People who rail against SUVs, guns, meat eaters, Republicans, fur, logging and globalism,

well, maybe my own choice is a little easier than it is for others.

Kyle Huff was a product of his environment to more or less the same degree as each of us.
I've spent most of my life in big cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. I suspect that careful studies and statistics are needed to better answer the question, but from my own anecdotal experience, 'blue state' urban areas are just as capable of 'creating' people who commit acts of senseless violence.

seattle's urban crap would have had this kid's firearm license revoked because he shot the stupid moose under the influence of alcohol.

just sayin'.
We're talking about a kid so deranged he killed six people. You think not having a firearm license would mean anything to him?
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