by Lt Col (ret), US Army, Darin Gaub
This first appeared in Darin’s blog on April 29, 2023. It is republished here with the author’s permission.
Whenever a veteran recounts a war story from their military days they often start with the phrase, “So there I was.” Though I am retired from the military and back home in Montana there are still times when I feel the need to start a story off right.
So, there I was, sitting in the front row of one of the gallery wings of the Montana House of Representatives, surrounded by the kind of people I do not normally hang around. People masked up, covered in fake rainbows (real rainbows have seven colors, not six) listening as they whispered curse words and slurs to each other during the House floor proceedings. What followed was expected as the normally quiet gallery area erupted into a mini-riot with people hurling objects onto the House floor while screaming at the top of their lungs.
How did I end up here?
The week prior the House debated amendments to Senate Bill 99, a bill that simply prevented minors from attempting to surgically change from one gender to another. If they wanted to do that, they would have to wait until the age of adulthood. During the debate, Representative Zooey Zephyr of Missoula said, “I hope the next time there’s an invocation – when you bow your heads in prayer, you see the blood on your hands.” The blood on your hands comment is not unusual by itself. This was different, in that Rep. Zephyr directed his slur at people of faith. This is against the rules of the House, rules that apply equally to all members.
Based on this statement, House leadership decided that Zephyr’s right to speak would be suspended until an apology was issued. Apologies in the House are common when a legislator says or does something they should not, or that they simply regret saying. But alas an apology would not come and the process of transitioning Zephyr from legislator to pretend martyr continued into the weekend.
That weekend I received updates from trusted people about a rally at the Capitol scheduled for Monday, April 24 at noon. Many of the attendees also planned to occupy the House gallery at 1 pm in a show of support for Zephyr. Knowing how they would likely act, I decided to attend the rally and move to the gallery ahead of them, making sure I could see as much as possible. I was there on purpose.
The rally outside started as most do, with people gathering slowly while those running the show prepared for the appointed hour. I overheard conversations about Nazis, fascists, transphobes, and many other things I cannot repeat here. There were several signs that cannot be shown either, most of which ended up as litter on the Capitol lawn. (The picture below is one of few safe to share) They are in the back seat of my car now. Some Democrat legislators or staff from the House were among them and saying the same things. The speeches were typical boring red meat for a bloodthirsty crowd, but what piqued my interest were the comments made near the end. The organizer provided recommendations for how to protest when in the capitol building.
1. Cover your mouth with duct tape as a symbol of being silenced. I thought this was a great idea and would have helped if I could.
2. Use the flashlight function on cell phones and shine the light in the face of Speaker of the House Matt Regier during floor proceedings.
3. Do whatever feels right. (What could go wrong?)
After recording these statements, I moved inside the building, warned the Sergeant at Arms about what was said to the crowd of about two hundred people, and went to the House gallery.
The gallery slowly filled with people as one pm approached. On each side, there were additional members of the Montana Highway Patrol positioned, who have the contract for Capitol security. The Sergeant at Arms was also present. The area around me filled to the point where the seats on either side of me were occupied by agitators. No doubt words would have been exchanged if they knew what I was doing. Before business on the floor began I had time to photograph most of the gallery area in case proof of people’s presence was needed later. I expected it would be needed and was proven correct.
At one pm the proceedings began, with the first chess move made by the Majority Leader when she motioned that the bill calling for a ban on children attending drag shows be moved to the bottom of the order. The motion passed. There were many bills to be heard and some people began to leave after nearly two hours of debate and voting. You could sense the impatience of those remaining. The drag queen bill was still down the list when Zephyr pushed the white button. The white button is how the Chair, or the Speaker, knows who wishes to speak. I then heard the rustle of the people around me and a couple so bold as to tell people to get ready as “this is the signal.”
As expected Zephyr was not recognized and the Minority Leader stood to object. The Speaker called for a vote of the body to confirm whether the House wanted to continue to enforce the rules of decorum. The vote passed overwhelmingly and that is when those in the gallery simultaneously began to throw their collective tantrum. The people around me all stood at the gallery railing yelling “Let her speak!!” repetitively while also stomping, swearing, and throwing red surgical gloves on the floor.
Futile efforts by the Speaker to gavel the rioters to silence followed and the Montana Highway Patrol began to clear out the crowd. They met with resistance in the way of pushing, and shoving, and some punches were thrown, so additional help was called in wearing riot control gear. While they cleared one side of the gallery I moved to the entrance and witnessed more rioters beating on the doors that the Sergeant at Arms had closed. In front of me were multiple people jumping up and down, stomping on the floor, and yelling “Let her speak!!” This was the common refrain the entire time these children were throwing their tantrums.
Zephyr took this moment to stand in the middle of the House floor, pander to the crowd, and egg on the riot. All House members had been directed to move to the side, but he decided to once again ignore the directions given and make the situation worse. Montana’s new party of “Zephyrcrats” supported these actions in a variety of ways. Kim Abbott, the minority leader of the Montana House, applauded the protesters going so far as to say, “Today we saw Montanans show up and engage in the democratic process, and some of those Montanans were arrested. To me, it’s an incredible statement in support of the trans, nonbinary, and Two-Spirit community — and against the Republican agenda that would strip our neighbors of their basic rights, dignity, and humanity.” It did not matter to Abbott that this had nothing to do with who Zephyr claimed to be, but the fact that he did not follow the rules of the house that apply to everybody equally.
Some even took the opportunity to draw other comparisons.
In the mix was the normal handcuffing of the belligerent, finger wagging in the faces of the police, and the occasional threat to both the police and the Sergeant at Arms. I witnessed one child in his mid-twenties (below) threaten a Sergeant at Arms by telling him that if he did not move he would just go through him. The Sergeant at Arms responded appropriately and said, “You can try.”
The person who threatened the Sergeant at Arms
I was surprised that the glass on the windows of the main entrance did not break as the group outside in the hallway continuously pounded on them chanting “Our house.” One Highway Patrol member looked at me as I stood with my back to a wall capturing as much video as able while also preparing to help in the worst case. He nodded, I smiled, and we got back to the business at hand.
As the worst of the fighting passed by me, I sat in the bleacher seats to continue observing the events while not hindering the efforts of the riot control police. I did not want to put them at any greater risk by being in the way. The same consideration was not provided by the media representatives from the Montana Free Press who waded into the middle of the fight and became part of the problem. One of the Sergeant at Arms team then called out to me and pointed to another exit I could use so I followed his direction, despite wanting to stay for the whole thing. From there I was able to wade through the crowd that was blocking the other entrance made of the glass/wood doors.
As things settled some I learned there were seven people arrested who were carted away to provide what were allegedly fake Montana addresses to local Law Enforcement Officers. Knowing how most media will spin the truth and create a reality of their own I quickly compiled all the videos and pictures I had and shared them around the country. I wanted to ensure what I personally observed was out in the public fast.
This riot was premeditated, and this is the evidence that made it clear to me.
1. People in the gallery talked about how they saw the agreed-upon signal and got ready to make noise.
2. There was a GoFundMe page already built and funded to provide bail money. I would guess travel money for some as well. (See Below)
3. People came from out of state.
4. The outside organizer provided recommendations, including using flashlights, which would also have resulted in being removed from the gallery.
5. There were former legislators and families of legislators present who started recording the chambers once Zephyr pushed the button.
6. I fought in counterinsurgency environments for twenty-plus years, and I trust my instincts.
7. This is what leftist agitators do.
These specific actions combined with the full weight of my personal observations on the event from start to finish left me with 100% certainty that this was all scripted and planned for maximum public exposure. It worked, but it is also backfiring as people see more truth each day.
As of 4/29/2023
There is a lot coming out about Zephyr and his partner. Having done a fair amount of research myself, I’ll recommend you read this article on Montana Talks as my team in Helena found the same information and will confirm the statements made by Jeremy Carl (@jeremycarl4). Montana Talks with Aaron Flint has some other articles that tell the truth about this event and are worth your time. To see a video that will also help, click HERE.
All of this is because one legislator refused to do the mature thing and apologize for violating the rules of the House that all legislators are required to follow. In fact, Representative Tanner Smith (Republican) of Kalispell stood up at the beginning of the same session and apologized for something he said the previous day. It was not a big deal and business continued.
There is a lot the people of Montana can learn about what is happening here and nationwide when it comes to the dangers and realities behind the agenda of those pushing warrantless surgeries on defenseless minors and the subsequent effects on them as they grow into adulthood.
I would like to finish by stating that Montanans should be proud of their Highway Patrol, the Sergeant at Arms members, and the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff. Despite being shoved, punched, insulted, threatened, and much more, they maintained their poise and discipline and prevented a dark day in Montana from getting worse. Montanans should also know to never elect an agitator and pretend martyr like Zephyr to public office.
Lt Col (ret), US Army, Darin Gaub is a Co-founder of Restore Liberty, an international military strategist, foreign policy analyst, executive leadership coach, ordained Bible minister, and serves on the boards of multiple volunteer national and state level organizations. The views presented are those of the author and do not represent the views of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, or its components. He can be contacted at email@example.com
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.