Most people probably look at the conclusion of Tuesday’s dramatic shootout with accused cop killer Christopher Jordan Dorner in the San Bernardino Mountains with a sense of relief.
If that was him in the burned out cabin in Angelus Oaks, a huge burden has been lifted from the Southern California law enforcement community and all of us who strongly support them. But it’s also hard to cheer anybody’s death, even a killer.
For me, this touches home in many ways. I’ve been skiing in the Big Bear Valley for more than 40 years. I spent Christmas there with my family at my dad’s place. (He was safe in his La Quinta home this week, thank goodness.) I usually take Highway 38 – which passes through Angelus Oaks – on my trips up the mountain. Going up 330 and cutting across on 18 is about 10 minutes faster to get to Snow Summit, but there are many more curves.
Tuesday morning, I wrote an editorial praising the law enforcement community for its efforts to protect the 50 or more people threatened by Dorner. They had no choice. This guy was well-trained, well-armed and full of hate. We also planned to support the $100,000 contribution to the $1 million reward proposed by Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit for information that might lead to Dorner’s capture. But with the standoff unfolding, we had to hold that editorial and go with one planned for the next day.
My youngest daughter was concerned because she has friends who are San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies. Sure enough, one of the two deputies allegedly shot by Dorner was the husband of a friend. Fortunately, he was not the one who was mortally wounded. Her friend texted late last night that he was out of surgery and in stable condition. He’ll survive.
I share the sentiments of Joyce Reed, Big Bear Lake Resort Association board president, who sent out this statement this morning: “Our hearts go out to all law enforcement that put their lives on the line to protect Big Bear. We are especially mournful for the deputy who lost his life during this tragic incident, and we send our deepest, heartfelt sympathy to the deputy’s family.”