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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of March 27 - April 2, 2002

  Opinion Column

So, Gov., what was the ‘threat’?

Commentary by PAT MURPHY

Now that Gov. Dirk Kempthorne believes the "threat" to life and property at the state Capitol seems to have passed, and he’s dismantling his wartime fortifications, do state legislators have the spine to demand an explanation for the five-month closing of State and Jefferson streets and stationing of round-the-clock armed National Guardsmen and Idaho State Police?

Kempthorne has never revealed details of the "threat" that prompted what seems to have been excessive precautions as well as unnecessary daily inconvenience to thousands of motorists negotiating downtown Boise, plus costs the state can hardly endure during its budget shortfall.

Revealing the "threat" at this late date isn’t likely to jeopardize the survival of the United States. After all, if the threat was real and not fanciful, it surely was no secret to those behind it—if there was one.

Kempthorne only adds to suspicions of his motives and judgment by removing the Capitol’s defenses even as President Bush continues to bombard Americans with chilling visions of future terrorism.

So, Kempthorne should explain, and allow the public to judge whether he acted in panic because of some imagined terrorism; got caught up in the theatrics of pretending we were at war, or had genuine grounds for concern.

Boise is an unlikely target of terrorism, especially the Capitol, whose paperwork and personnel are relatively unimportant strategically to the function of the state or the nation.

But then, the way Gov. Kempthorne and lemming Republican legislators have willy-nilly squandered the state surplus and thrust Idaho into a budget crisis, frittering away hundreds of thousands of dollars on questionable Statehouse protection is merely more of the frivolous easy-come, easy-go mindset that prevails in the state capital.

If the governor disagrees, now’s the time to call the hand of doubters and convince them there was indeed a "threat."

Parents the world over recoiled in horror at Andrea Yates’ mass murder of her five children in Houston, leaving some of us wondering how come husband Russell Yates got off so easy.

Mind you, Andrea Yates was known to be suicidal and haunted by mental devils. She was only marginally capable of being a trustworthy parent, despite her professed love for children and reputation as a caring mother.

Yet, Russell Yates seemed indifferent enough to not only burden his wife with successive pregnancies, but seemed never to lift a finger to intervene to protect his children from risks of an unstable mother.

As he makes the rounds of the national TV talk shows excusing himself, Russell Yates points fingers at doctors for not sounding the alarm about his wife’s instability.


No one is more sensitive to a wife’s needs than a husband. And no one is more aware than a husband of dark impulses in a troubled wife and mother.

Surely, parents everywhere will agree that Yates seemed aloof to the safety and well being of his children in the hands of a mother demonstrably flirting with madness.

Perhaps Yates is a father who mindlessly believes "God will provide" without any human effort.

One wonders what we’ll hear of Russell Yates in the near future, with his wife doomed to at least the next 40 years behind bars (until she’s in her 70s) and he no longer has any responsibility for children and the Texas prisons system is responsible for his wife.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.