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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Shooting While Drunk

Posted by on March 28 at 17:02 PM

Yesterday I posted about a strange incident in 2000 in which Kyle Huff fired 12 rounds into a fiberglass moose in Whitefish, Montana.

For those keeping track of the complicated debate over whether Huff should have been charged with a felony for the moose shooting—a charge that would probably have prevented Huff from keeping the shotgun and pistol he later used in the Capitol Hill murders—I’ve been given some additional information today that changes things.

Although the Whitefish Police Department told me yesterday that the estimated damage done to the moose by Huff came in at over $2,000, the Flathead County Attorney’s office told me today that a later, more accurate estimate put the damage at around $750. This is significant because in Montana, according to the County Attorney’s office, a person can’t be charged with felony criminal mischief unless the mischief costs more than $1,000 to repair.

So forget, for a minute, about the question of whether Huff ever did his required community service in the incident. It’s still not clear that he did, and if he didn’t do it, it speaks a bit to his character and lax enforcement in Whitefish, but it doesn’t have much to do with whether he should have been given a felony. It appears the authorities could never have made a felony criminal mischief charge against Huff stick, because he didn’t cause enough damage.

However, here’s something else that’s interesting: the Seattle Times has a reporter in Whitefish who has dug through all the paperwork on this incident and come up with this letter of apology Huff wrote about shooting the moose.

In the letter, Huff admits to having been drunk at the time of the incident. Washington Cease Fire tells me that in this state, admitting to being drunk during such an incident would be enough to get a person’s gun license revoked.

Perhaps this is getting very nitpicky and academic, but the gun rights folks always talk about enforcing existing gun laws rather than making new ones, so I wonder: Would the existing gun laws of Montana have required Huff to give up his gun license after he admitted to firing a shotgun in Whitefish while drunk?

It’s now too late in the day in Montana for me to find out the answer to this question. Any Slog readers think they know the answer?

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Montana doesn't have enough jails to hold everyone who fires off a shotgun while drunk. There were probably thirty of them just last night. Check the stop signs.

Seriously, you're not going to get anywhere with this angle. It was an exceedingly minor offense. A bunch of yahoos pulling a stupid prank. Police everywhere, not just Flathead County, have limited resources. They did what they could reasonably have been expected to do.

oh, hey, they're planning to build a Temple - a memorial to the dead from the shooting - meeting on Capitol Hill at 7 pm Wednesday night - think info is at:
and the person to contact is Chuck Harrison at

Fundraiser party on Saturday April 1st. Hope Stranger puts it in their Events page.


I wouldn't put too much stock into anything Washington Ceasefire says. For example when talking about someone's "gun license," are they referring to a Concealed Pistol License? That is the only type of license issued in WA State. No license is required to purchase or own a rifle, pistol, or shotgun, only to carry a pistol.

Secondly, while being drunk is grounds for confiscating any weapon used or carried at the time, it is not grounds to bar ownership of firearms. One must be convicted of a felony or crime of domestic violence.

If this drunken moose incident had happened in Washington, and if it did not meet the monetary threshold of a felony, the shotgun he used would have been taken from him. That wouldn't have stopped him from buying another.

While his actions were abhorrent, I don't think the State of Montana or the City of Whitefish will be blamed for this asshole's actions. BTW, when do we find out if he was on Zoloft?

No, but the broadcast media has all the answers.

Whooops ... media HAVE, not media HAS. Let that be a lesson to all.

MOOSE SHOOT HOOT - You Seattle fags need to talk to some of us Montana fags.

We own guns, play with them, shoot suff and game as well, choice venison year around - - this is an extra Big Empty Place.

This story is drivel. The cops know every high school kid in Whitefish by their first name - have you guys forgotten how rural America works?

Kyle Huff went nuts. Sad all around. Maybe some very bad crappy Seattle rip em off shit cut down party drugs?

for the love of christ, kyle. you were 22 year old, for crying out loud. you had a full year to write that thing and this is what you come up with? type the damn thing out and use spellcheck!

by the way: "i was drunk" is the worst excuse for anything, ever.

now THAT'S bad journalism...


Hi, been a long time since you have been to a good rave or a house party, I take it.

Hard working, hard partying. Intersting how the morality police alway throw in their two cents.

Lax law enforcement is behind all of this. Homeland Security needs a database including every infraction no matter how small - parking tickets on up.

I am glad to see The Stranger siding with law enforcement with this one. It's possible this incident could be just what we need to convince the public to accept more surveillance, keeping even minor criminal matters permanently on an individual's record, and most of all a one strike and you're out policy.

If "liberals" like The Stranger are now ready to put even a white guy in jail for a teenage vandalism incident. It'll finally be a chance to arrest black teenagers for something like spray painting a bus stop and make sure they go to jail for a very, very long time.

Keep pushing for tighter law enforcement, especially in the current political environment, you'll find plenty of support. We need Homeland Security to include teenage vandalism on their domestic terrorist list.

After all if Kyle had been labeled terrorist after shooting that fiberglass moose, none of this would have happened.


nothing could be further than the truth. i like to have fun like the next person, and prior to moving into an apartment, i used to throw very large houseparties. everyone does stupid things when they are drunk. its normal and even a rite of passage. however, the "sorry, i was drunk" card can only really acceptably be pulled when the action involved can only happen because of alcohol. for example: puking on someone's sofa. losing your friend's borrowed jacket. accidentally spilling everyone's drink because you stumble against a table in a bar and accidentally knock it over. but there's a line you cross where you can no longer attribute your poor behavior on booze. pulling out a shotgun and blowing up a piece of public art (no matter how cheesy it may be) is destructive and the impulse to do such a thing probably exists without the aid of alcohol. alcohol simply aids in pushing that impulse into fruition. how about taking responsibility for your actions, no matter how shitty it makes you look. the same goes for the assholes who get into barfights, drunk drivers, and fuck friends' spouses. and if you can't control your destructive impulses because you've had a few too many, maybe you should, i don't know, lay off the sauce?

"puking on someone's sofa. losing your friend's borrowed jacket. accidentally spilling everyone's drink because you stumble against a table in a bar and accidentally knock it over."

Jeez, I said I was sorry like a million times, OK? Jeez.

I for one am getting tired of Capitol Hill Seattle being the crap collector for the entire northwests shitbag loser reject visitors.

WTO what happens, bunch of punks from everywhere show up and break windows in my neighborhood. Locals might have protested, but they didn't commit vandalism, it was overwhelmingly "Anarchists local 666 from Eugene."

This damn homicidal asshole, same thing.

Why dont the losers stay out in BFE and let the smarter, richer, better people that can hold real jobs here and succeed at this more challenging difficult ecomomy stay.

I'd be for background checks before you would be allowed to move to a city. Red state asshole gun owners need to stay out in nowhere, blowing shit up, BBM each other, and in general staying the fuck away from the cities, where you DO NOT BELONG.

No wonder Kyle Fuckwit Huff snapped -- he had been here four years of being a fat redneck in a very non forgiving environment. The best job he could manage was pizza delivery boy. His apartment sucked, the only people that liked him were old men, and his coping skills were near zero, but he had enough money to buy a fucking Dodge black truck and outfit it with a small arsenal. Nobody's posted it yet, but I bet he owed tons of money, adding to his self hatred that he kept bottled up for years then exploded with out.

Its just sad that he took the cowards way out, taking out innocent people instead of just shooting his poor worthless pathetic ass alone, so we'd all get to feel sorry for him instead of hate him and his loser fat ass redneck family forever.

Or why the fark wasn't this jerk in a uniform in Iraq if he was jonesing for a purpose in life so bad? Too fat for the military but there was still Blackwater and Haliburton. Anything he could have done would have been better than how he went out, which was as a coward, a loser, a no life, and a fucking asshole.

I hate him and I hate everyone that ever knew him and didn't realize what a ticking time bomb fucking idiot he was.

Jail all white rural rednecks til they prove they deserve to live in civilized society. They're no better than terrorists.

this is quibbling. the fact is the difference between a morally upstanding citizen and a guy who went completely apeshit nuts in a moment of psychopathic rage is nothing more than hindsight. you can't predict the snap, you can't force people to be sober, you can't have enough rules to sort wheat from chaff. it's psycho to stockpile a small arsenal and play with doomsday or ok corral fantasies, WHETHER YOU ACT THEM OUT OR NOT, whether you are a felon or not.

I think all this is quibbling as well. The REAL reason Huff lost his shit could be explained here. The guns were only a vehicle. Taking them away doesn't solve the real problem in our society.

WF - Are people psyco for having food, water, first aid supplies, and tools on hand in case of emergency? A gun (and yes, a supply of ammo) is just one element of a sensible emergency kit.

DAVED - Should we also "Jail all black urban homeboys til they prove they deserve to live in civilized society.?" After all, "They're no better than terrorists."

the moral reasoning that says a sensible emergency kit can include the kinds of weapons stockpiled by kyle huff is rotten to the core. how do you know the difference between someone like kyle and a supposedly sane person who just happens to prepare for an apocalyptic collapse of law and order in his/ her spare time? only when it's too late.

The kinds of weapons he had (stockpiled as you would say)? As in a pistol, a rifle, and a shotgun? Sounds like a good starting point. Would you prefer a slingshot and harsh language? Maybe an 1800s musket and a blackpowder revolver? What is your idea of a sane weapon? I doubt there is such a thing in your mind.

As far as apocalytic collapse goes, does Katrina qualify? It's not about the apocalypse as it is about an unforseen natural disaster. If anything should be learned from Katrina it's that the only ones you can rely on are yourself and your loved ones. I have no fear of a Tsunami or Earthquake striking Western Washington. How about you?

As a gun owner, I could probably be described as "one of those gun nuts"... but I tell you, if you commit ANY crime, no matter how small and petty, involving a gun--your rights should be immediately stripped away.


So, I saw the posts yesterday about blog entries getting censored, and I believed the answers about the software sometimes getting a little hung up and taking a while to process posts, but now I'm concerned. It's been over eight hours since I looked up, and provided the links to, the relevant Montana and Washington statutes that answered what I had hoped was not simply a rhetorical question, but my original post has yet to make it to this blog topic. I certainly hope I'm not getting censored just because I post accurate information that reflects a tiny bit of intellectual effort.

email me the links, please.

Gun nuts:

We that live in the city are not attacking your piece of crap farm.

You that lived in rural America are attacking our cities.

You attack it with your dumbass redneck psychos like Kyle Huff, you attack it by voting for dumb fucks like George Bush, you attack it by leeching tax money for projects only a handful of people need.

Meanwhile cities generate the economic might of this country, and the thanks we get is you sending dumb fucks like Kyle Huff into our communities downtown with his intolerant redneck "gotta blow shit up cause thats all I know how to do" shit.

Then you defend this culture like its some high achievement, bubbas and beer and pickups and football.

Did it ever occur that the reason we live in cities is we wanted to get the fuck away from this stuff?

Tell you what, when armed gangs of ravers and gays and metrosexuals drives out to BFE and starts shooting at god fearing law abiding redneck losers, whose only crime was voting for George Bush, then you can have reason to gripe or feel like you're being persecuted.

Right now, you stupid fucks, its you that are attacking us, you made America dumber, more likely to invade other countries, and more likely to be able to go off for no reason like Kyle Fat Country Fuck Huff went off.

I don't own a gun. If I lived on a farm, I'd own rifles for hunting and THATS IT.

There was no legitimate need for the guns Kyle Huff was allowed in this society to own. Stop defending the system when the system you support was, just like your president, a miserable failure.

Actually, the damage did come to more than $2,000 - $2011.35, according to the police report. That's the true cost to repair the replica which sold eventually for $13,000. Though the repairer donated his time, cutting the balance to $650, the prosecutor could have made a case for a felony using the actual repair cost.


If the reason you live in a city is to escape violence, you're in the wrong place.

I'm also concerned that you view the act of voting for president "a crime."

Why don't you just put up a big sign in your yard assuring your neighbors that you are an UNARMED SUBJECT. Oh, maybe that would invite some unwanted visitors. Do you realize that you benefit from those that are invisibly armed?

Uh, as a Montana liberal trying to turn this once-red state blue (and doing very well, thank you very much) I am a little dismayed about the blame some of you commentors are putting on Montana for the shooting.

Believe it or not, Montana contains a fair number of people. Just like in Seattle, or even New York City, these people are of all different varieties. We have jerks, we have cool people, we have fags and fag-haters. We have liberals and conservatives.

Kyle Huff's homicidal tendencies are not a "product" of Montana. (If so, Montanans would be shooting people all over. We are not. At least, no more than your average US citizen.) Believe it or not, mass murder is frowned upon here this state.

Don't make this a clash of culture. It isn't. It's one sick f*ck who did something terrible. Period.

I love how so many term this fearful debate "intellectual". I call it circling our twisted, horrifying, bloody morality and poking it with a stick. It's not Montana. It's not guns. The posts here are just as bitter and empty and dangerous as the words and deeds of the strange hands that led Kyle to that doorstep. I suggest you holler into a paper bag, if that's all you have the stomach for. What a waste - all around.

Charles - I'd like to address your questions listed here:

Who was this Jared Hope dude? How good of friends were they? Did the two Huff brothers talk about it? What did Kyle say? Did it bother him? Did he ever talk about Jared Hope?

Jared Hope was a manic depressive kid that quit taking his medication, flipped out, shot his parents, and then himself. He was around the same age as Kane and Kyle. They did hang out in the same circle of friends. People are forgetting that Whitefish is a small town. Everybody knows everybody...
That murder/suicide hit the town very hard - EVERYONE was talking about it. But, I really don't think that it had anything to do with what Kyle did. I didn't know Kyle well - I had maybe 3 encounters with him where we spoke to each other, but one of my best friends knew him better. Over the last few days, talking with her, we have our own theory of his motive -

He never had his own identity. Neither one of those guys were ever seen as an individual. And yes - in high school, they were what you might consider loners, outcasts, or losers. They only had about 3 close friends that I can think of. Kyle followed his brother everywhere. Eventually he followed him to Seattle, probably because he would never have known what to do on his own. The more I think about this, I think thathe finally decided to leave his brothers shadow - and then he snapped. Everyone keeps talking about the moose incident being some early sign of voilent behavior. I disagree... I know for a fact that there were at least 3 other people involved. Those type of pranks happen all the time around there... kids really have nothing better to do. I think that was even the same year that Whitefish made national news because of riots (caused mostly by our friendly Canadian tourists)on New Years Eve. Like I said its a small town - it's a party town and a major tourist attraction. It's not a breeding ground for psychos.

Whitefish Native wrote: Everyone keeps talking about the moose incident being some early sign of voilent behavior. I disagree... I know for a fact that there were at least 3 other people involved. Those type of pranks happen all the time around there... kids really have nothing better to do. [...] It's not a breeding ground for psychos.

Let me get this straight. You believe that someone getting drunk and destroying his neighbor's artwork by firing a gun at it is the natural result of him living in your community where there's little else for kids to do? And you do not recognize that a community which writes off such behavior as "pranks" is likely to be a breeding ground for psychos?

Whitefish native -You make great sense.

That explains the NOW - a break out mindset / moment for him. At that moment killer and death were not horibnle but a mechanism to self power and identity, a few moments of - exalted like - of self importance. Payback for his psyche misery. Killing strangers is more OK than family or neighbors.

Others have posted that Kane was the stronger personality.


Phil One -

You are such a priss - I grew up in far Eastside - still rural, King County.

Me and my friends shot up everything in sight with our 22's - ages 12-16.

Never close to homes, you can't be that much of a blowby.

About 15, I killed a bird, quite by accident, never touched the rifle again. Left it at home when I moved out.

But your shock at how rural teen aged boys act out is --- prissy granny nanny to the max.

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