A MAN HITCHHIKING across America to write a book titled "Kindness in America" was shot in rural Montana Saturday. Fortunately for the author, the shooter was from Washington. Locals in Montana usually don't miss.
Ray Dolin, 39, approached a vehicle outside the small town of Glasgow, Montana thinking he was being offered a ride. Instead, a man from Washington, allegedly under the influence, fired at Dolin as he approached. Dolin was hospitalized with a wound to his arm.
According to an article in the Missoulian, the alleged shooter, Lloyd Danielson was returning from Washington to work in the North Dakota oil fields when he paused in Montana long enough to shoot Dolin. He is being held on suspicion of felonly assault with a weapon and DUI.
Dolin apparently was on his way to Washington after riding a bus from his home in West Virginia to eastern Montana. Apparently he planned to work himself westward while taking photographs for the memoir. Tuesday, Dolin was in the Glasgow hospital.
I have not spoken to Dolin but I am interested in how he will address all of this in his book on American kindness. I just hope he makes it clear that while the shooting took place in Montana, neither of the people involved in the incident were from or currently live here.
Montanans shoot straighter than that. Montana is a state where there are four guns for every person and youngsters learn how to use them at school. Our legislature has passed, and our governmeor has signed, laws informing those in Washington D.C. that their federal firearms regulations don't always apply here.
This is the turf of the Freemen and the Montana Militia. This is where Unibomber Ted Kaczynski came and stayed (until taken away by every law enforcement officer in the Lower 48). This is a place where people live as they want and let others do the same. So in Montana, locals typically don't stop to shoot at hitchhikers (in part because they are afraid the hitchhiker will shoot back).
Dolin was right to come to Montana to write about kindness in America. I'm sure he encourntered lots of it while be treated at the hospital. As for Danielson, if convicted of the charges, he may wish he had stayed in Washington. Montana State Prison is not for the weak of heart - nor is it for those with a bad aim.