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Forests of Northern California may be safer for awhile….

Aaron Bassler, who was wanted for two murders in August in Mendocino County, has been roaming the northern woods of California for the last 36 days. Yesterday, three Sacramento sheriffs spotted him and shot him dead without a word spoken. There was no “shoot-to-kill” order in effect. Bassler, who was wearing black clothing and carrying a large backpack, a fanny pack, and an “assault rifle” (a common term in California news, which lacks precise definition). Bassler, who according to the sheriffs, :-) raised his weapon which was loaded and not on safety, toward the law enforcement officers. Sheriffs fired on Bassler who was about 40 yards away and 25 feet uphill, striking him in the torso with “about” seven rounds.

Bassler, who was considered to be “armed and dangerous” is believed to have engaged in a gunfight two days ago with other law enforcment officers from Alameda County. Bassler was wanted for the murder of Jere Melo, 69, a former mayor of the city of Fort Bragg and a councilman there at the time of his death. A witness identified Bassler. Bassler was also wanted in the August 11 murder of Matthew Coleman in Westport, which is jut north of Fort Bragg. According to Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman, DNA evidence linked Bassler to the latter killing.

“I fully support the manner in which this happened,” the sheriff <Mendocino County Sheriff  Tom Allman> said, responding to inquiries that the suspect was killed without any warning or having fired a shot. “There will be no more lives endangered by Aaron Bassler.”

Well, THAT seems pretty certain.

Some 15 3-person teams, some with dogs, had been tracking Bassler through the woods. More than 40 law enforcement agencies have been involved. Bassler, meanwhile, had been burglarizing cabins for food and guns.

Of course, another BIG reason that the woods of Northern California may be safer for awhile is a huge collection of marijuana-growing operations that were recently “busted.”

Meanwhile, the shooting of Bassler raises some other questions, like, “Did the group of sheriffs ATTEMPT to take Bassler into custody? … at all?” The very brave men and women of law enforcement are often “people of action,” who prefer to leave the fine points of the law to be settled by the Judicial Branch, sometimes posthumously. :-) I actively support the war on terror, for example, but see domestic surveillance as extremely dangerous. I even support the recent drone strike that killed an American al-Qaida leader in Yemen. (I don’t think that anyone could have “rehabilitated” him! :-) ) So tonight, I started to wonder where I draw that line. Would I have supported a drone strike on an American terrorist in rural Nevada or Iowa? (They probably already HAVE them in Texas! [Just kidding! :-) ]) What about in Boston/Atlanta? Exactly WHERE do I/YOU draw the line with regard to individual American rights and “due process?”

Since all of the witnesses to Bassler’s death were from law enforcement, we’ll see whether such questions are even RAISED in the death of Aaron Bassler.

-Bill at

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