Yesterday I received some photos from a local resident showing handbills posted in Great Falls promoting a ‘White Lives Matter’ agenda.
I’ve included the pictures in this piece.
I was troubled by the pictures. Just as I was troubled by some of the incendiary and hateful messages at the ‘Defund The Police/BLM’ rallies in Great Falls in 2020 with signs that read ‘Fuck the Police’ and ‘ACAB’ (All Cops Are Bad), referring to our own Great Falls police officers.
Even though the message on the handbills is controversial and divisive, as it’s obviously intended to be, it is protected speech so that is not what bothered me the most.
At first blush my concern was that someone in my community, OUR community, would take the time and effort to so thoroughly stir up such division and racial animus.
But then I saw an article in the Helena Independent Record reporting that the White Lives Matter group staged a rally in Helena on Saturday as part of a statewide ‘Day of Action’ and that the participants ‘…drove in from other parts of the state‘ and that out-of-state groups have been ‘…hosting WLM rallies and engaging in WLM flyer distributions across the nation since 2015.’
So it appears fairly certain that this is not a homegrown Great Falls effort.
That makes sense to me, because I know my hometown and the people here. We are a good and decent community filled with kind and loving folks who treat each other with respect.
Sure, there are dark corners and hateful ideologies on the far fringes of both sides of the political/cultural spectrum here, but the overwhelming majority of our Great Falls family wants nothing more than to live and let live, lend a helping hand whenever possible, and raise our kids in a safe environment.
So my message to any out-of-towners coming here to whip up trouble, regardless of political ideology: We don’t want or need you here. Stay away.
By the way, the handbills have been reported to the police – not because of the message but because plastering handbills without permission is defacement of someone else’s property.