As those of you who have been following my blogs already know, I live in Big Bear, California. Big Bear is a mountain resort that became “famous”
in February of this year as the place chosen by Ex-LAPD police officer, Christopher Dorner, to hide out from police after a murderous rampage that left several people dead and others wounded. Later, Dorner left Big Bear and was surrounded by officers in a mountain cabin located several miles away. What followed was a siege that lasted several hours and a fire that completely consumed the structure. Dorner’s remains were later found inside with a single gunshot wound to the head.
Although the cabin where the police surrounded Dorner (a place I have decided to call Dorner’s Last Stand) is not far from where I live, I had never been there before last Wednesday. There are two main routes that go from Big Bear to the southern side of the San Bernardino mountains where Los Angeles and the Inland Empire are located. One of these is Highway 38 where Dorner’s Last Stand lies. This is the less traveled route but, partially on a whim–and partially because I wanted to buy some truly exceptional beef jerky from a country store located along the route–my wife and I decided to take Highway 38 home from a doctor’s appointment she had in the city.
On an equally impulsive whim, I decided to veer off the road on our way home and take a look at the place where Dorner made his last stand. The cabin itself is not located on Highway 38, but is situated off a side road which goes from the highway down to small resort. We found it with no trouble–the ruins are completely surrounded by a chain link fence, but are right off the main road. I was able to snap the picture shown below with my cell phone which isn’t the best, but will give you an idea of the layout.
You know, there’s not a lot that happens in Big Bear and, with the exception of winter ski season when the status of the snow is extremely important to the local snowboarders and skiers, we don’t often make the news out of L.A. The situation with Dorner was an exception, however. Not only did we make the local news, but the events associated with his manhunt were reported nationally. I remember talking to a woman at a call center in Atlanta while all this was going on and, when i told her I lived in Big Bear, she immediately knew where I was and wanted an update on the situation with Dorner.
It was pretty exciting around here for a time and, although there were reports of Dorner being fairly close–the condos where he hid out briefly are only about two miles from my house–none of us were very frightened. We’re mountain folks after all–a tougher breed you know. Actually, we’re all mostly transplanted Angelenos but most of the people around here won’t admit to that. There’s something that happens to you once you’ve lived a few seasons in the mountains. You shovel your own driveways, buy a four-wheel drive vehicle so you can get around without having to “chain up”, and you pretty much get accustomed to living out of the smog and traffic. You no longer feel like a Southern Californian, although Big Bear is really only about an hour and a half away from shopping and all the other things the Southland is known for.
When the Dorner thing was going on I was reminded of another manhunt in the mountains I had heard about once. It was in a different mountain range–the Sierra Nevadas which lie roughly a hundred miles northwest of Big Bear–and it was in another century, but it was a manhunt none-the-less, and it was in the mountains. The incident I’m referring to had to do with an escape from a prison in Carson City, Nevada that happened in 1871. A shootout later ensued in the area now known as Convict Lake (which takes its name from the incident). It’s an interesting story and the parallels to our own “Convict Like-style” incident are intriguing. It seems like things never really change that much: bad guys are still bad guys and there are still shootouts between cops and robbers.
Anyway, enough of all that for now. Hopefully, the above was interesting little side note and who knows, one day I may write a more involved story about the whole thing. In the meantime, speaking of stories let me remind you all about my novel, ZION’S WEB.
I’m still running a promotion until May 15th whereby the first fifty people to order the book from my website will get free shipping. Just go to www.michaelsnowauthor.com and enter the promo code of Bfree50 when prompted. I’m also looking for feedback about the novel, gleaned from previous posts I’ve made, information on my website, or anything else you can gather. The person providing me with the most meaningful feedback between now May 15th will earn a fee copy of the book.
Good luck, and I’ll see you all on the web.