A Nice Sunday Hike (Murder and Arson Included)

Posted on 08/29/2012


Today the wife and four year old joined me for a hike up the Twin Falls trail near North Bend, WA.  It was a surprisingly great hike with awesome views and well maintained paths.  I never knew of the place before this morning when my wife was online looking for trails that are easier for families with youngins  .  That means: a hike you can take a four year old with minimal whining and minimal miles of the guaranteed having to carrying said whiny child on your shoulders.  Typically this lends more to flatter trails, and this one had a couple flat spots (filled ith deep mud), but it was mostly lots of Up.  I need to say, even with the relative hardship of the hike my little one did a fantastic job – at least up to the point where she tried to casually step down from a wooden viewpoint rest bench and ended up falling flat on her face.  Needless to say it was hard to motivate her to continue after that.

We didn’t realize it until we got there, but the trailhead starts right next  door to the place where some psycho murdered his wife and daughter and then lit the house on fire (and unsuccessfully burned it down thanks to North Bends well-trained fire dept.!) before making his way to an underground survivalist bunker a couple miles away on the Rattlesnake Ridge trail.  Apparently he had spent the last eight years building this thing and in the meantime lost his mind.  It kind of makes me want to take a closer look into the eyes of  people who truly seem to feel that their beliefs and ideas are more correct than most especially when they take it to a fanatic level.  You know the type.  They give you an uncomfortable feeling even when a lot of what they say jives with what you personally believe, yet something about them is beaming: I AM FREAKING CRAZY!

Seems like I run into one of these types everyday.  Some of them I have to deal with on a daily basis as a matter of business.

Yesterday SWAT teams made their way into the bunker after spending a the night in the rain hoping this guy would give himself up so they didn’t have to go in and get him.  Because it was assumed that the fortified bunker was booby trapped(*1) the logical solution would be to wait it out, but at some point action is required.  Eventually they got in and found that the shithead had blown his brains out.  I think anyone could appreciate that he’d saved us the taxpayer dollars to prosecute and imprison him, however I almost wish it hadn’t ended this way because I wanted to know what was going on in his screwed up head.

If I can be honest here, I want to know what happened.  Not because I think he might have been innocent, but because I don’t like unanswered questions when serious and sickening crimes are committed.  Maybe it comes across as selfish and voyeuristic, but seriously… what the hell happened?  How did this seemingly normalish husband and father go from productive member of society to deciding to live in a hole after murdering his family?  I cannot fathom the mentality and there’s definitely something to be learned there about humans.  One thing that’s always interested me is behavioral psychology and why we are the way we are as well as how we may have gotten that way.  On the flip side, I truly am glad he’s dead.  It is unfortunate that this coward had decided to take his own life rather than allowing our esteemed SWAT members do it for him.  He never gave his family the option and he shouldn’t have had it either.

Earlier in the week before the Sheriff’s Department found his underground hideout the press had printed that he was a self-trained survivalist and was likely hiding out near one of the many public hiking trails near North Bend.  Somehow they had come to the untrue idea that search and rescue units were out hiking these trails alerting folks and stapling up signs warning about the fugitive.  Didn’t happen.  These were police officers and park rangers.  SAR (Search & Rescue) does not get paged to do such tasks.  It just happens to be too much paperwork and county money when one of them gets murdered while performing a police function.

See amore complete article in the Seattle Times here: http://mynorthwest.com/646/669678/Exclusive-The-mantracker-who-found-a-murder-suspects-bunker

(*1) I’ve always wondered where the term “booby trap” came from.  In fact I’ve wondered since I was probably five years old when someone had pointed down a dark trail and warned me that it was booby-trapped and that I should never venture down that path.  The term conjures up a lot of scary and confusing images when you’re that age and even when I knew what boobs were and what they looked like.  I remember imagining a swarm of breasts coming from behind a large pile of logging debris and attacking me as best a breast could.  It was far more disturbing and scary back then than it is today.  Today it sounds like a foreign strip club since in Washington the strippers have to keep a two or three foot distance between themselves and you.  And I think I’d rather take my chances with the trap.

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