Our Own Private Idaho
By Edgar J. Steele

July 27, 2001

    What IS it with Idaho, anyway?  You know.  Ruby Ridge.  Aryan Nations.  McGuckin kid standoff.  And now, Lonny Rae.  That sort of thing.
    I get visions of redneck fascist hordes, Idahuns if you will, in white sheets, riding horseback through the streets of Boise.  Idahuns burning crosses in downtown Sandpoint.  Idahuns stringing up blacks across from Coeur d'Alene's city hall.
    Problem is, so do a lot of other Idahoans who aren't well connected to  reality.  I suppose it's kind of like having an embarrasing relative that you can't hide.  Fat, sloppy old Uncle Daryl who got drunk before every family gathering, especially weddings.  "Well, he's not really part of the family, except by marriage, you know.  I dunno who invited him today.  Have you met cousin George?  George just finished his Phd at Yale."  We've all got an Uncle Daryl in our family.  Arkansas used to be America's Daryl.  Today, Idaho takes that honor.
    Idaho's Uncle Daryl is the Idahun. 
    Like Rome in its decline, America loves a good spectacle.  And TV delivers the goods far better than the Coliseum ever did to its rabble.  Imagine Uncle Daryl falling into the cake while trying to kiss the bride, live with Regis.  Then the camera pans to you.  What do you say?  "Unhhh.....we're putting Uncle Daryl into rehab tomorrow.  Have you met cousin George?"
    That's why a runaway jury tagged Richard Butler, of Aryan Nations fame, with a $6.3 million verdict last year, bankrupting him and taking away his family home ("everything but the shirt on his back," as Morris Dees put it), for a two-bit assault by followers who were off duty, off property and drunk.  Imagine holding city hall liable for a couple of cops who rob a service station in the next town when off duty, out of uniform, on a bender and using a personal hunting rifle.  Now imagine them getting away with nothing while putting a good scare into the attendant.  Now imagine those same cops serving several years hard time in the state slam.  But the attendant still wants several million bucks from the city for his hurt feelings.  Yeah, right.
    That's why the Boundary County Commissioners just yesterday voted to drop the criminal prosecution against Lon Horiuchi, of Ruby Ridge (and Waco) fame, despite the appellate opinion which reinstated that suit by saying the state could prosecute a federal agent for his illegal acts.  Horiuchi is the same professional marksman who claimed to be able to hit a dime at a hundred yards, but who missed a whole person and "accidentally" shot a mother with a babe in arms, square in the head, from less than a hundred feet.  Lt. William Calley wishes he had come from Idaho, I bet.
    That's why Bonner County officials quickly dismissed JoAnn McGuckin's supporters as being "white supremacists," and conned her into going along with their agenda, so that she ended up losing her home, her family - everything, in fact, just days after burying her husband.  And kept her in jail on trumped-up charges, while they sifted through her home for plumbing and electrical code violations to justify prosecuting her.  And still want to try her for criminal child neglect.  Because she home schooled her six kids.  Because they were "malnourished" (but pronounced in "good condition" by the hospital that examined them after that so-called standoff).  Because her dogs were in bad condition and starving (also pronounced in "good condition" at the pound when taken in, yet only yesterday fourteen of those dogs were put down, every one of them a mere puppy, allegedly because of illnesses they contracted at the pound). "We're from the government and we're here to help you..."  Enough to make one want to get the gun and let the dogs loose (that's just what 15-year-old Ben McGuckin said when the "standoff" began).
Now comes Lonny Rae.  You haven't heard about Lonny yet, but you will.  Lonny faces a five-year sentence in the penitentiary for using the N-word.  For a so-called "hate crime."  For defending his diminutive wife from a hulking black man who had grabbed hold of her from behind in an attempt to take away her camera.  And he simply yelled it at the building into which the black man had disappeared.  Once.  "Get that N--- out here, cuz I'm a gonna kick his butt!"  Then he and his wife called  the cops and demanded the black guy be charged with assault and battery.  He never was.  But Lonny was Charged under Idaho's hate crime statute, adopted in forty states throughout America but only just now being applied to its citizens.  Since then, Lonny and his wife lost their jobs over the "hate crime" and couldn't get work, then they lost their home because they couldn't keep up the payments.  Then Lonny got his ankle broken by the town ruffian during a scuffle resulting from his, once again, defending his wife's honor over the black eye the town got from the "hate crime."  Uncle Daryl....er....Lonny Rae.....goes on trial in Adams County in just two months.
Have you met cousin George yet?


"I didn't say it would be easy.  I just said it would be the truth."
            - Morpheus

Copyright © Edgar J. Steele, 2002

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