For the past seven years, I have had the pleasure of serving
on the Rocky Mountain Information Network (RMIN) board, the past
three as chairman. Montana law enforcement, I believe has benefited
greatly from many of the resources provided by RMIN including
financial support of our regional training efforts. The chart
below is one example of how RMIN's efforts have helped Montana.
As you can see Montana has received substantially more financial
resources for training than any of the other RMIN states. If you
get the opportunity to thank RMIN for their support please do
so. Montana's RMIN Field Coordinator Dean Mahlum has obviously
served Montana well. Thanks should also go to Montana's other
RMIN board member Custer County Sheriff Tony Harbaugh for his
continued support of RMIN in Montana.
New Mexico $30,185.77
Montana Freemen Supporters Involved
in Bombing Plots
Kevin Ray Patterson, 42, and Charles Dennis Kiles, 49,
were arrested on December 5, 1999 by federal agents. It was alleged
that Patterson had masterminded a plan to blow up a propane facility
in Sacramento, California. The facility stores 24 million gallons
of propane and supplies 15% of the propane for the state of California.
A threat assessment report by the U.S. Department of Energy's
Lawrence Livermore Laboratory concluded that a successful attack
on the facility "would likely result in a firestorm that
could reach as far out as 14 kilometers from the site and could
cause a fatality rate as high as 50 percent up to 5 miles away."
Court documents indicated that Patterson and Kiles planned
to blow up the facility and wanted to bomb several other Northern
California sites to help a militia overthrow the federal government.
A search of the suspects' homes turned up "items associated
with the making of bombs" as well as guns, ammunition and
ingredients for methamphetamine.
Patterson's militia activities included joining other members
For Law Enforcement Use Only
Rainbow Family To Gather In Montana
Since 1972, the Rainbow Family of Living Light has held
national and regional gatherings on National Forest System lands.
The climax of the national gathering is a day of honoring Mother
Earth and praying for world peace. According to the Rainbows,
the first attendees were Vietnam veterans who had a difficult
time reentering mainstream society because of their war experiences
and people who were part of the 1960s hippie and environmental
movements. Early gatherings were much smaller; an estimate from
the 1986 gathering at Queen's Creek/Heart's Content near Warren,
Pennsylvania was 5,000 attendees. At more recent gatherings attendance
has been estimated high as 24,000 for the 5-week event.
Information has indicated that the 2000 Gathering will
take place in Montana with as many as 25,000 individuals attending.
Traditionally the Rainbows have picked a location on National
Forest in a sparsely populated county. The Rainbows have expressed
an interest in the southwestern and northwestern parts of the
state. They do not announce the exact location of the Gathering
until two weeks before the start. As additional information becomes
available it will be forwarded to the appropriate agencies.
In the Rainbow philosophy, "everyone is a Rainbow,
some just don't know it yet" and "anyone with a belly
button can be a Rainbow". They are of all ages and from all
parts of society. The Rainbows espouse and teach their concept
of Constitutional rights. It is anti-authoritarian and conflicts
with the requirement to obtain a permit for a large gathering
on public lands and enforcement of federal, state and local laws.
The Rainbows also call their selected national gathering site
their church and resent law enforcement presence in the area.
Core Rainbow Family members state they are bound together
by their common belief and desire for peace, love and respect
for planet Earth and all its inhabitants. This collection of core
members reflect a great deal of diversity. Some members are regularly
a part of mainstream society and some still live the hippie life-style.
Some are college or graduate level and educated with professional
or technical skills. Some are high school dropouts who only work
sporadically, and some are chronically homeless.
The Rainbow Family states they have no formal charter or
organization, all Rainbows are equal and no one speaks for the
entire family. Rainbow family decisions are made at council meetings
which occur throughout the year at regional and national gatherings.
Family issues, decisions and actions are discussed at councils
with decisions made only if consensus is reached among those attending
council. Even with a decision, no Rainbow will sign a written
version of the decision such as a rehabilitation plan. Their decisions
can change at any time through a council meeting and consensus.
In recent years, however, gathering attendees barely reflect
the original founders of 27 years ago. The gatherings appear to
have a much younger demographic with the majority of attendees
25 years or younger who come to "party." Some present
and former gathering attendees contend the core Rainbow group
has lost control of this younger crowd. There was more garbage
such as foodstuffs, trash and clothing left behind at the 1999
gathering, ostensibly for the clean up crew of Rainbow Family
members to address. This incident to support the lack of "pack
it out" ethics in these younger attendees. There is more
observable conflict as the core Rainbow group tries to influence
the behaviors of these younger gathering participants. Some younger
people attracted to the gatherings are juvenile runaways.
Recent gathering are also attracting more of a criminal
element. Rainbows claim to love everyone, and criminals are in
need of healing. As a result, there are no detrimental consequences
to criminal activity outside the gartering. Although the Rainbows
try to separate themselves physically and philosophically from
the use of alcohol, they believe marijuana and mushrooms are healing
herbs and the use of hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD, methamphetamine
and others is common. The separation of alcohol users and abusers
adds a dangerous and erratic presence to the gartering. Rainbow
Family members are approaching law enforcement officers more frequently
with complaints about "A-Camp," but seem unwilling to
approach the alcohol users themselves.
Significant criminal activity, which has occurred at past
gatherings, includes homicides, sexual assault, theft, stolen
vehicles and the distribution and use of controlled substances.
Ironically, the Rainbows attempt to self-police using a group
called the Shanti Sena (peacekeepers), but they become ineffective
as the gartering swells in number. The Shanti Sena has turned
individuals over to authorities in past gatherings, but they selectively
enforce rules and laws according to the general beliefs of the
Rainbows. In 1999, two fugitives from other states were
recovered with no involvement by the Shanti Sena.
The resource impacts on National Forest lands also presents
an interesting conflict within Rainbow philosophy. The Rainbows
teach respect for Mother Earth and offer low impact information
on their web page. However, they welcome all attendees, and resource
damage grows as the numbers swell. As one Los Angeles Times reporter
wrote, "Within the various camps, signs are posted regarding
respect for the streams, forest and grasslands. But, these messages
are invariably affixed by nails hammered into trees. 1/
Typical Rainbow Family Gathering resource impacts include
large areas of soil compaction from thousands of small camps,
parking areas and the development of new trails, large fire pits
and makeshift structures built for the camps and kitchens, holes
dug for slit trench latrines, degradation of the forest roads
accessing the gathering, damage to riparian areas and effects
to water quality. Since the national gathering is also held in
June and July, fire danger can be an issue at sites in the western
United States. Some Rainbows stay behind to help in rehabilitating
the site, which generally takes two weeks to a month.
The Forest Service, as lead agency, is working with various
state and local agencies to plan for this event. Special Agent
Bill Fox will be the Incident Commander for the Forest Service.
If you have any information regarding the Rainbows and their plans,
please contact S/A Fox at (406) 329-3114 or Agent Bryan Costigan
at (406) 444-3070.
Additional information about the Rainbows can be found
at their homepage at: www.welcomehome.org
1/ Rainbow Family Encampment Tests Meaning of "Public
Lands," Los Angeles Times, July 4, 19998