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Police in Missoula, Montana, are requesting a quarter-million dollar grant from the Department of Homeland Security so they can buy a "mobile command unit" -- an RV fitted out with communications equipment and computers and stuff -- that will be used, among other missions, to keep an eye on this year's annual Rainbow Family Gathering. That's a national roaming hippie convention that's been terrifying small towns for decades, because they like to smoke weed, get nekkid, and lay in a big ol' pile. Missoula officials say they need the vehicle to help with emergency responses to natural disasters like avalanches, accidents like train derailments, and, just to jazz up their grant application and help move it to the top of the DHS pile, to deal with "extremist groups" such as the Hells Angels and the Rainbow Family.


Or maybe, if you want a blog post out of it, you could write a headline like this: "Group Promoting Peace and Love Labeled As Terrorists, Surveilled by DHS and Police." And you could write a lede that says, "According to the Missoula Police Department, peace and love are extremist views, and promoting these ideas could be a possible sign of terrorist activity."

Can we just say a plague o' both your houses? Missoula's kind of silly for elevating the Rainbow People from an "annoyance" -- they tend to leave a hell of a mess behind, as would any gathering of 10,000 to 20,000 people -- to a potential "extremist group." On the other hand, no, "Free Thought Project," whatever the merits of the Missoula PD's application, the truck isn't going to be dedicated solely to crushing the spirit of peace and love, and no, the DHS hasn't designated them a terrorist group.

Mostly what the Rainbow people do is create a peaceful loving pain in the ass for whatever Forest Service district they end up camping in; the last time they were in Montana, in 2013, the administrative costs for the Forest Service came to $177,821. The cost of law enforcement boosted the total to over $573,000. The crime wave mostly consisted of public nudity, plus some DUIs and lord knows how much smoking of the ganja; there were all of two arrests. The local Forest Service office was overwhelmed and had to bring in additional officers, with lots of overtime costs, but no, no terrorism.

According to the Most Authoritative Source On Earth, the biggest problem at Rainbow Gatherings tends to be waste management. Ten thousand people in the woods shit a lot, and since they aren't at developed campgrounds, they dig latrine trenches and then cover the mess with "lime and ash from campfires," which leaves their campsites rather a mess after a month. Still, it beats your average agribusiness.

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The Missoula PD says it named the Rainbows in the grant application mostly because of the yucky:

"When they have their gatherings, they historically have created a mess that needs to be cleaned up," Brodie said.

To that end, he said the communications unit would help if multiple jurisdictions were headed to the cleanup effort. A Rainbow gathering could involve the Forest Service, police, deputies, fire departments and other agencies.

"The command center could just coordinate and speed things up, get it done faster. It's a coordination tool is what it is," Brodie said.

So obviously, the whole "extremist group" thing is a red herring. The Rainbow Family should have been categorized as a potential toxic waste spill. And don't even get us started on the damned drum circles.

[The Missoulian via Free Thought Project]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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