Patterico's Pontifications


Shoot Him But Don’t Burn Him

Filed under: Crime — Patterico @ 6:28 pm

Someone explain to me what I am missing in this story. A guy kills a sheriff’s deputy, holes up in a shed in the California High Desert, and continually fires at deputies over the course of eight hours.

If they shot back, they would be trying to kill him, right? And that would be okay, right?

Instead, after numerous other unsucessful efforts to force him out with a battering ram and tear gas (during which he continued to fire at him), they tried to force him out with road flares.

He died, and his charred body was found in the shed. The coroner said he died of “multiple firearms wounds with other significant conditions as probable effects from thermal burns.” (That sounds to me like he was shot to death — which we already agreed would be fine — but let’s assume that the fire “contributed to his death” as the article asserts.)

Numerous experts are quoted as saying this is horrific.

What am I missing?

9 Responses to “Shoot Him But Don’t Burn Him”

  1. You are missing absof*ckinglutely nothing. When I hear “high desert” it always means the same thing: crystal meth. Sh*t someone cooks up in a bathtub, or on a stovetop. Then ingests for the one solitary reason, that they didn’t have to buy/pay money to someone else, to get the drugs. And then after ingesting, go completely out of their minds. It doesn’t really matter that the only use for crystal meth is by a long haul trucker going from San Diego to Bangor in three days. Yes, treatment does have it’s place. Which would be before they are high, or after. But, not while they are both high and armed. I would prefer detox or diversion, or even maintenance to the current war on drugs. But I cannot abide the murder of anyone, whether the perpetrator was high or not. Maybe in a century or two, we will have sorted the whole thing out?

    Elmo (8b0169)

  2. Lets all step away slowly and quietly. Elmo’s having a moment.

    Patterico, I don’t get it either. Horrific is the fact that a sheriff’s deputy is slain and probably leaves behind a grieving family. The deputy’s death is worth grieving over, though I’ll pray for both dead men, firm in my belief in a just God.

    MexRep (1cc509)

  3. Perhaps I wasn’t clear? I can’t abide the murder of the law enforcement official. The murderer high, or otherwise (and now dead). Yes, another victim in the war on drugs, but he won’t be missed by me. To those that knew him? Either before he was an addict, and who can remember the human being he may have been? Or perhaps in recovery as a tortured soul? But this endless sympathy for murderers is shit. It smells. And no, I’m not having a moment, sorry :-)

    Elmo (8b0169)

  4. I rarely find myself on this side of police/criminal issues, but I too find it disturbing that police would resort to burning down a building to get at a shooter. Certainly there is no question as to what they were intending. We are not talking about tear gas canisters that might accidentally start a fire. Road flares? Burning someone to death does not quite fit my image of the lawman acting for society. And if they did it to avenge the murdered sheriff, all the worse.

    Mike (45f0a1)

  5. “Certainly there is no question as to what they were intending.”

    Certainly there *is*.

    If they simply intended to murder the guy, why did they try a battering ram (borrowed from LAPD) and tear gas first?

    It appears clear to me that they were trying to drive the guy out of the building.

    Nor is it clear that they burned him to death. Rather, it appears that he was shot to death.

    Mike: if they did shoot him to death, was that okay? Being shot at, were they allowed to shoot back, with the intent to kill?

    Patterico (f7b3e5)

  6. Yes, it would be OK to shoot him to death if he is shooting back. That is not the same as burning him to death, which is my point to begin with. I don’t know how to explain to someone who does not feel that instinctively, but burning to death is a cruel way to go and whether or not he deserved to die does not change the fact that most Americans, regardless of their leanings on criminal issues ( and mine are pro-police ) don’t want the police to use such tactics.

    Mike (8d1c79)

  7. My point to begin with is that they didn’t necessarily intend to burn him to death. I don’t know how you conclude otherwise with such certainty.

    Patterico (f7b3e5)

  8. Just thought I would let you know I received the following email as a result of posting here. Since I did not email I am wondering why I received it at all. Is this some kind of spammer ploy that is victimizing posters or is it legit?

    A message you recently sent to a user with the subject “[Patterico’s Pontifications] New Comment Posted to…” was not delivered because they are using the anti-spam service. Please click the link below to confirm that this is not spam. When you confirm, this message and all future messages you send will automatically be accepted.

    This is an automated message from
    Please do not reply to this Email.

    Looking for a free anti-spam service?
    Visit us at to find out more”

    PS Regardless of our differences of opinion regarding the incident, I appreciate that you are actively maintaining your website to the point of responding to a months late reply. Best wishes, Mike

    Mike (c587da)

  9. Thanks for letting me know about this. It’s legit, but it just means that I have to change my e-mail filters. Short answer: the combination of enabling e-mail notification of new comments and the anti-spam software I use resulted in your getting the e-mail. Sorry for any confusion.

    By the way, I would not approve of the tactic of deliberately burning the guy alive — just so that’s clear. I’m just not so sure that’s what they did.

    Patterico (de8053)

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