Support Local Journalism


Subscribe


After the contentious election of George W. Bush in 2000, a young man in Utah put a bumper sticker on his car that read: "King George — Off with His Head." Evidently his humor was not appreciated by the FBI. Agents busted into his home and arrested him for questioning.

Fast forward to 2021, a man yells, “Shoot ‘em” in a crowded church. His response to a question regarding local school superintendents who insist on mask mandates. “Shoot ‘em,” he says. The crowd at Crosspoint Community Church in Missoula erupts into laughter.

The man says he was joking. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Elsie Arntzen responds, “It is so challenging, adults again, make statements that however can be misconstrued, or however can be stated, that it’s incumbent on government to rebuke that.” Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

While the “Shoot ‘em” man’s humor is protected speech, intent to murder is not. Thankfully, existing law makes it difficult to plan a violent takeover of public education. School boards have the authority to make rules such as mask mandates. But Arntzen hopes to find a legal way to allow parents to opt-out. She said, “We are researching the authority given to my office via law, as well as what extended authority there could be moving forward.” It’s not clear who “we” is or who gives extended authority.

Arntzen insists that public comment is the key to changing mask mandates. She said, “We need to have all of Montana’s voices listened to and recorded in a very public manner.” She may assume that all parents agree with the anti-mask agenda. And those who don’t, well their opinions will be duly noted and on record for the “Shoot ‘em” mob to do with what they may.

Kelli Gannon

Belgrade

Letter Policy

The Chronicle encourages letters from readers who reside in our coverage area. Letters should be no more than 300 words and must include the writer’s first and last name (no initials), home address and daytime phone number. Addresses and phone numbers may be used for verification but will not be published. Letters may be edited for grammar, taste, brevity and libel. Due to the volume of submissions, the Chronicle cannot publish every letter it receives. The Chronicle reserves the right to reject letters based on content or length, and will not knowingly print letters sent to other publications. Thank-you letters, letters written in poetic style or dominated by scripture quotations and those written by students as class assignments will not be published.

Support Local Journalism

To see what else is happening in Gallatin County subscribe to the online paper.