Most Saturdays since the beginning of June, Emily Good spent a few hours walking a slow circuit around the crosswalks at Idaho and Main Street, Kalispell’s busiest intersection, dressed in black, including a black headscarf, with white letters on her shirt reading “Out of Iraq Now.”
The 23-year-old moved to the Flathead in March to do work for the Montana Conservation Corps.
The reaction to her protests, she says, runs the gamut from approving cheers to angry jeers.
But on Oct. 7, she got her strongest reaction yet.
Shortly after she began her protest, she says, a group of teenagers assembled in a nearby parking lot and made signs that read “Support Our Troops” and “This girl’s a freak.”
They then followed her around the intersection.
“That didn’t really bother me at all,” Good says. “They were drawing a lot of attention to me. It was like a parade.”
But it seems they drew a little too much attention.
According to Kalispell police, 41-year-old Kalispell resident Mike Shipley approached Good shortly after 6 p.m. and began yelling obscenities at her.
Good says she ignored him, waited for the crosswalk signal, and started across the street.
She says she heard a scuffle behind her, and then Shipley struck her in the head.
“I broke out of my walk and said ‘Get away from me. Don’t touch me,’” Emily says. “He spit in my face.”
Because she was wearing a headscarf, she took the brunt of it in her eyes. Shipley then stalked away and Good, who was shaken but unhurt, figured that with no cell phone and no car, she couldn’t do anything about it.
But a couple who witnessed the incident followed Shipley back to his vehicle and called the Kalispell police. After interviewing Good and her counter-protesters, who volunteered as witnesses, police arrested Shipley. He now faces felony charges of malicious harassment. Shipley has not entered a plea; his arraignment is set for Oct. 19.
As for Good, she says she remains undeterred, and plans to continue her Saturday protests, albeit with a protection order against Shipley.