Hey, remember Matt Shea?
Sure you do. He’s the Spokane legislator who appeared at a 2009 Idaho “Freedom Festival” with a clutch of antigovernment fanatics that included Schaeffer Cox, the militia leader who last month was found guilty of heading a conspiracy to kill, kidnap, and terrorize Alaska law enforcement officials.
Well, Shea’s still in office, and these days he’s gunning for a third term in Washington’s legislature.
That’s not all he’s gunning for. According to documents recently unearthed by the Spokesman-Review, the bellicose Tea Party darling last November pulled a gun on another motorist during a “road rage” confrontation in Spokane.
Apparently, Shea was among several drivers to call 911 to report “erratic” and aggressive driving by a Chevy Lumina in Spokane on Nov. 23. Meanwhile,
Leroy Norris, the driver of the Lumina, called police to report he had been driving on Monroe when a pickup truck cut him off and he had to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision. He honked his horn, made some “aggressive lane changes” with the pickup, and the driver of that vehicle “flipped him off.” The driver of the pickup pulled a handgun from the passenger side of the car and pointed it at him, he said. He “freaked out” and drove away “crazy” because he thought his life was in danger, he added.
Norris called the police at Monroe and Fourth Avenue and said he lost the pickup at about 14th Avenue.
Shea also called police to report the driver of the Lumina, and the investigating officer contacted him several hours later. Shea said he “may or may not have cut someone off” but said the driver of the Lumina at one point made a beeline for the front of his vehicle. He gave the officer the same license plate number for the Lumina as Jasper did.
Shea “thought he was being targeted due to his work,” the officer wrote in his report, and admitted pulling a handgun out of the glove box, which the other driver could have seen.
The officer asked to see the gun. “During our conversation, the defendant admitted to letting his concealed weapons permit expire several years ago,” the officer wrote. Shea asked about the law on carrying concealed weapons and the officer produced a copy for him to read, then told him it was illegal to have a loaded gun in his vehicle with no permit.
“His mouth became very dry (Cotton Mouth) as we continued to discuss the violation,” the officer wrote. “It was obvious to me he was extremely nervous …”.
The gun was seized, the article says, and at the time Shea was cited for two violations: “having a loaded gun in his vehicle without a valid permit and drawing a firearm ‘under circumstances and at a time and place that warrants alarm for the safety of other persons,’” both misdemeanors in Washington.
For some reason, he’s only been charged with the permit violation, which will reportedly be dismissed at the end of the year if he has no more criminal violations before then.
Oh P.S., did I mention that, according to the Spokesman-Review, Shea “serves on a committee with jurisdiction over most firearms legislation”?
Or that in 2010, he earned the endorsement of the Gun Owners of America Political Victory Fund, a fanatical pro-gun lobby that’s been described as “eight lanes to the right” of the NRA?
Or that in 2011 session, he sponsored two gun bills – HB1990, “exempting a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition manufactured and retained in Washington from federal regulation under the commerce clause of the Constitution of the United States” and HB1060, legalizing the use of silencers?
Well, I’ve mentioned it now.
And since I’m talking Shea, I’d also like to note that this is not the only time the jumpy Tea Partier has overreacted to a perceived threat. In May, he freaked out after vandals spray-painted swastikas on his campaign signs.
While some saw the incident as the product of bored teenage vandals, Shea described it as an “anti-Christian” “hate crime” and “an attempt to threaten, harass, and intimidate my family” – possibly inspired by his friendly relationship with the local Messianic Jewish community and his opposition to “same s*x marriage.” (Yup, he put the asterisk in there his own self.)
In a statement to the media, Shea wrote,
“It appears I was targeted by members of the violent and radical progressive movement for my conservative consistent stand for limited constitutional government and my religious beliefs.
“To the person or persons who sought to silence my voice through intolerance and intimidation, let me be perfectly clear: I am not moved. I will not bow to what appears to be a threat on my life with the skull & cross bones, concertina wire, and cross-out symbol depicted on one sign. And as a combat veteran of the Iraq war and so soon after Memorial Day, I think it is important to speak directly to those on the radical left who would seek to divide us and this country: YOU WILL NOT dishonor the memories of our fallen heroes with your hate or intimidate me into submission. We can disagree on reigning in spending in state government and same-s*x marriage but the outright physical attack on those who disagree with you is un-American.”