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#238527 - 01/03/12 03:11 PM tragic events in WA
Finn Offline
Member

Registered: 08/04/11
Posts: 173
Loc: Colonial Heights, VA
To begin, my thoughts & prayers go out to the grieving families in Washington.

In light of the still-unfolding events at Mt. Ranier, I'd like to examine and evaluate the media releases about the situation.

"A plane searching the remote wilderness for Benjamin Colton Barnes, 24, on Monday discovered his body lying partially submerged in an icy, snowy mountain creek with snow banks standing several feet high on each side.

"He was wearing T-shirt, a pair of jeans and one tennis shoe. That was it," Pierce County Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said.

Barnes did not have any external wounds and appears to have died due to the elements, he said. A medical examiner was at the scene to determine the cause of death. Troyer said two weapons were recovered, but he declined to say where they were located."

It had been reported that the young man had survival training and was hinted that he may have had "survivalist" ties.

If the man had training beyond that from the Army, his mental condition prevented him from utilizing it. As an Army veteran, most of my survival training was very basic and directly linked to specific environments (jungle, desert, etc.).

Can we appeal to our government to provide better care for our veterans?

Is there anything we can do to disassociate what we do from media perceptions?

Again, I am very sad to see a veteran brought so low and that he so badly affected the lives of others.
_________________________
People don't like to be meddled with.
~River Tam

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#238535 - 01/03/12 03:41 PM Re: tragic events in WA [Re: Finn]
Finn Offline
Member

Registered: 08/04/11
Posts: 173
Loc: Colonial Heights, VA
Nighthiker,

Hello again!

Yes, I am also concerned that we might see a replay of the "Crazed Viet Nam vet" syndrome in the media. There does seem to be a slightly more responsible handling these days.

Oh yes, the exercpt came from a Yahoo news story.
_________________________
People don't like to be meddled with.
~River Tam

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#238538 - 01/03/12 03:49 PM Re: tragic events in WA [Re: Finn]
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1914
Loc: Washington, DC
That he was so lightly attired when they found his body brings to mind the tragic fate of James Kim (the 2006 saga in which he and his family were stranded with their vehicle in the southern Oregon mountains). James Kim was found dead having shed much of his attire - apparently a common action in the final stages of hypothermia.

The Rainier NP killer may also have been lightly attired because before he killed the park ranger he was in the process of eluding police after shooting four people at a New Year's Party near Puget Sound. Overnighting on the volcano probably was not his original plan when he left home. But he did have his arsenal in the car (apparently it was gun show and tell at the party).

Little to nothing is publicly known at this point about what kind of person the killer in Mt. Rainier NP was before he joined the Army. It is premature to conclude that his murdering impulses were due to PTSD. The seeds of his path of destruction may have been planted well before his relatively brief military service. Maybe military service was fuel on the fire, we just can't know at this point - and may never know.

I haven't seen that he was in combat situations when he was in the service - I did read that he was in "communications." But the facts are still just trickling out so we don't know what we don't know. Maybe we'll know more this afternoon and next week and next month.

99.99999% of military veterans don't murder people when they get out of the service.

Very tragic for the 34-year old park ranger he murdered and her loved ones. Harrowing for the other people on the mountain - visitors and staff.

Thank goodness he didn't run across some unknowing hikers or backpackers who he may well have slaughtered for their gear. (poor cell phone service so people recreating on the mountain at the time were oblivious to the presence of a killer fugitive)

There's a contingency I don't plan for on wilderness hikes -- running into a fugitive murderer. Could you get to the bear spray in time....






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#238539 - 01/03/12 03:52 PM Re: tragic events in WA [Re: Finn]
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1914
Loc: Washington, DC

Here's a first-person account (replete with photos) of a group of backpackers and how they were awakened and warned by a police helicopter that a killer fugitive was in their midst:

http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7995972





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#238542 - 01/03/12 04:19 PM Re: tragic events in WA [Re: Finn]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
My heart aches for Ranger Anderson and her family and friends. From her picture her face is familiar to me, I didn't know her but I recognize her from day trips to Paradise last summer. Park Rangers are almost always pretty happy people, but Ranger Anderson was clearly living my dream of being in the outdoors every day and helping people, which she did right to the end. My deepest condolences to her husband and two little kids.

This Barnes person is a suspect in an earlier shooting south of Seattle of 4 people at a house in Skyway. There's speculation about what he was doing heavily armed on the one-way road to Paradise, a destination for visitors, tourists, backcountry campers and skiers and snow cave builders, with a lodge with about 100-200 people in it most weekends. That speculation considers that he may have been on his way up to Paradise to kill as many people as he could. Regardless of where Barnes thought he was going or what he might do, Ranger Anderson's road block stopped him from doing it. Its not hyperbole to consider that her actions and presence stopped a far greater tragedy.

I don't know and don't care if Barnes was a 'survivalist', except if any group he may have been a member of exists, I'd like to know they don't share his particular anger and violence. There are certainly more than a few survivalist groups in the backwoods out here in the PNW, but mostly these guys are too far gone, they tend to be loners or loosely associated with a few other f-ups.

So he had his fire fight with Park Rangers, and escaped with his life - ill equipped - through waist-high snow. If he had survival gear or survival training from the military, he would have found his situation quite dire. You don't last long wading through Cascade concrete in tennis shoes and t shirt. It sounds like he got about a mile along Paradise Creek, probably by escaping the snow and wading the freezing creek - or maybe he just slipped and fell in (getting out with a 40 inch snow bank is pretty tough, especially in tennis shoes). Maybe his reptilian brain was sending him the only place he had a chance, downstream, downhill, but its a long way to get below the snow line from Barn Flat's where the shoot out occurred, and the creek is certainly terribly cold, and beyond difficult to navigate on foot. He may also have been heading up stream towards Paradise lodge, but that's an even harder path. Sounds like he died face down in that creek, hypothermia. Either way, it doesn't matter to me - the mountain got him in the end.


Edited by Lono (01/03/12 04:39 PM)

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#238543 - 01/03/12 04:24 PM Re: tragic events in WA [Re: Dagny]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4901
Loc: SOCAL
Originally Posted By: NightHiker
... From a strictly preparedness & survival standpoint it sounds to me like Mr Barnes just snapped and that nothing was planned out beforehand. The media frequently applies the "survivalist" label simply because it carries an element of sensationalism. ...
My thoughts exactly. No plan -- not much of a survivalist. Media ratings hype.

We may want to step back and realize that while the departed was a killer/murderer, he may also have been a deranged victim with mental issues who just went berserk. PTSD or otherwise, what he did was irrational by any measure. I/we really know nothing of what made this kid tick. Maybe LE has a better idea.

Read Dagny's link. Coffee cup communications smile Low tech works, always have a plan B. I've only seen "Cruisin Coffee" in WA.

OT: 30 Statistics That Show That The Middle Class Is Dying Right In Front Of Our Eyes As We Enter 2012 -- Food for thought.

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#238548 - 01/03/12 05:06 PM Re: tragic events in WA [Re: Finn]
Glock-A-Roo Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 1076
Wow, just wow. Thanks for the NW Hikers link Dagny.

I know in a statistical sense such an event in the backcountry is very very rare. But for right now at least, it makes me think about all the time I've spent solo in the hills without my pistol. Ugghh.

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#238550 - 01/03/12 05:12 PM Re: tragic events in WA [Re: Finn]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2014
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: Finn
Again, I am very sad to see a veteran brought so low and that he so badly affected the lives of others.

Are you mourning for this murderer because he was a veteran? I say good riddance, one less murderer we have to worry about. Being a veteran does no justify/explain his actions, nor do his actions make other veterans look bad. Veteran status has nothing to do with it.

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#238560 - 01/03/12 06:28 PM Re: tragic events in WA [Re: NightHiker]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2014
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: NightHiker
And although it may not make other veterans look bad to you but there are others out there who a quick to lump us all together thanks to the "one bad apple" philosophy - the same thing with gun owners.

Good point. So far, I haven't seen anything said mentioning veterans in regards to this event (except in this ETS thread). Our Denver Post article (probably cloned from some national news organization) included in the last paragraph that "loaded guns have been allowed in national parks since 2010", as if that has anything to do with this. So you're right - morons will draw idiotic conclusions to suit their agendas. Although I can't think of any groups that have an anti-veteran agenda (except for that stupid "church" that protests at military funerals).

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#238585 - 01/03/12 10:36 PM Re: tragic events in WA [Re: haertig]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6538
Loc: southern Cal
I can assure you that as an NPS retiree, this incident really hit home. I am heartsick. I do think it is way too soon to stereotype about "survivalist" and "PTSD" until more is known. If necessary, I certainly hope more meaningful care will be rendered to veterans.

This lady is not the first ranger to die in the line of duty, nor will she be the last. It isn't always fun and games out there in the pines and crags.
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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