NOTE: Law enforcement in Grand County is maintained by three agencies:
the Utah Highway Patrol, which enforces state and federal highways, the
Grand County Sheriff's Office which deals with all law enforcement problems
outside the Moab City limits, and the Moab Police Department which is confined
to the town. Each of these departments is administered independently, but
they often provide assistance to each other in the course of their work.
The quoted comments by officers and witnesses in this story come, for the
most part, from direct police reports and interviews conducted by the Grand
County Sheriff's Office...JS
In the summer of 1981, Moab, Utah had a new police chief and his name
was Lester Stiles (no relation to this writer). Stiles had big city ideas
about law enforcement in a small town and was appalled by what he considered
an under-equipped police force. The new chief requested and received additional
funding for his department and soon an assorted array of state-of-the-art
law enforcement gear and equipment was in the hands of the Moab P.D.
One late afternoon a few months later, a disturbance was reported at
Woody's Tavern on Main Street. A motorcycle gang had stopped for refreshment
and some of its members had begun to get rowdy. A few had even carried their
beer outside, a violation of Utah law.
Within minutes, the Moab Police department arrived in force, decked out
head-to-toe in much of the newly acquired gear. Wearing riot helmets and
shields and with 12 gauge shotguns nearby and at the ready, the officers
practically surrounded the little bar. To passersby, the scene looked like
About then Sheriff Jim Nyland passed by, saw the congregation of officers
and police cruisers around Woody's and stopped to see what the commotion
was all about. Nyland thought he knew a couple of the guys inside and he
sure knew Woody, so he did what none of the Moab P.D. officers had been
willing to risk---he walked inside and had a chat.
The sheriff told Woody the bar was closed, he told the drunken would-be
troublemakers to empty their beers or he would empty the bottles for them.
They resisted and argued and threatened and Nyland kept talking. Finally
he just wore them down. The 'incident' ended. No arrests were made.
Today, when I ask Sheriff Nyland about that afternoon, he shrugs and says,
"Oh...that was no big deal."
He's right. But it could have been.
On the evening of November 24, 1997, Moab resident John Dinsmore was shot
and killed by Moab City Police Sgt. Mike Wiler. He and other officers responded
to a 911 call by John's wife Holly, who told the dispatch operator that
her husband was threatening to kill himself. Not long after Wiler arrived
on the scene at 8:56 PM, John was in the driveway of his home, belligerent,
very drunk, and waving a kitchen knife. In the minutes that followed he
mostly threatened himself, but at times he acted aggressively toward the
police as well. When he made a threatening gesture and began to move toward
Wiler, the officer fired once with a 12 gauge shotgun, hitting Dinsmore
in the upper abdomen. He dropped instantly, officers cuffed him and an ambulance
that was standing by rushed him to Allen Memorial Hospital.
The mortally wounded and still cuffed Dinsmore was met at the emergency
room by Dr. Steven Rouser. The time was 9:08 PM---just 12 minutes after
Moab P.D. officers first confronted Dinsmore. John died in the operating
room less than an hour later.
Wiler was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the
Grand County Sheriff's Office under the supervision of Chief Deputy Doug
Squire. County Attorney Bill Benge reviewed the evidence and ruled two weeks
after the shooting that the use of deadly force was justified under the
circumstances. Wiler was returned to active duty and the incident was put
But the 'incident' has not gone away and many questions still linger. More
than any other...why? Why did this happen? Why wasn't there another way
to deal with a man threatening mostly to harm himself? Why did John Dinsmore
have to die?
PRELUDE TO A TRAGEDY
The seven months that preceded his death were a living hell for John Dinsmore
and his wife Holly. In May 1997, their 14 year old son had been removed
from their home by Juvenile Court Judge Scott Johansen. John and Holly went
to court that day believing he would most likely receive 30 days in the
youth detention facility in Blanding and then probation. So they were stunned
when Judge Johansen ordered him placed in a foster home outside the community.
Their son was removed from the court room and then returned to the Blanding
detention facility in shackles.
For the next six months, the Dinsmore's boy was shuffled from one foster
home to another and from one town to the next. At one point, even John and
Holly weren't sure where he was. Persistent and unrelenting efforts by the
Dinsmores to regain custody were futile and by November, when they finally
got to spend a weekend with him, John was at the end of his rope.
On Monday afternoon after work, John passed the Rio, a popular Moab restaurant
and bar, and spotted his friend Ned Robinson's car in the lot. Ned was John's
accountant and something of a computer whiz; John was having trouble with
his own computer and thought this might be a good time to ask for some help.
He found Ned inside and, while they drank a couple of beers, John described
his computer problem. Ned proposed they go to John's house and take a look.
So at 6 PM, John and Ned found themselves hunkered down over the computer,
trying to understand Windows and perhaps looking ahead to an evening of
Monday Night Football and a few beers. Instead John produced a bottle of
Crown Royal whisky, given to him by his father, shortly before his death
almost a year earlier. "Ned," John said, "The seal on this bottle has never
been broken and I'd like you to have the first drink with me."
It was a mistake.
All of us carry demons on our backs of one sort or another and some of
us fare better with them than others. John Dinsmore struggled with his own
pain and grief and, most of the time, he could stay on top of them. But
alcohol turned the demons loose inside John's head and on this evening,
with each glass of Crown Royal, he sank deeper and deeper into a black hole
of bad memories and frustration and despair. The bottle reminded him of
his own father, of the unresolved relationship that kept them at odds with
each other for most of their lives, and which now could never be resolved.
He thought of the unresolved relationship with his own son, hundreds of
miles away in a foster home. In a foster home. He wasn't even deemed fit
by the government to take care of his own son. John picked up the bottle
of Crown Royal and flung it at a picture of his parents. The bottle shattered
a window and John cut his hand on a piece of the broken glass.
John walked to the kitchen and pulled a knife from the drawer. "Holly...call
911. I'm going to kill myself." Holly had seen John drunk before and tried
to laugh him off. But he persisted. Again and again he demanded that she
make the call.
"Call 911. Make the call. I'm going down and I'm taking someone with me."
Finally Holly picked up the phone and dialed the three numbers.
At about 8:53 PM, Sgt. Mike Wiler responded to a call from dispatch, advising
him of a possible suicide threat at 455 Huntridge. The subject was drinking
and had a knife and was outside the house with a friend. Wiler was at police
headquarters at the time and, with Officer Eddie Guerrero as backup, drove
immediately to the address. Three minutes later, he and Guerrero arrived
at the scene. Officer Robert Montague and Deputies Louis Manson and Steve
Brownell of the Grand County Sheriff's Office had heard the broadcast and
responded to the call as well. All five vehicles and their occupants, in
fact, arrived within seconds of each other. According to Sgt. Wiler, "our
arrival was almost simultaneous, at the same time."
Then according to Wiler, "upon arrival in the area of Aspen and Huntridge
Drive, I parked short of the residence and exited my patrol unit. Prior
to closing the door, I could see John waving a knife and yelling at the
top of his lungs. Because of John's out of control behavior, I chose to
un-rack my shotgun and remove it from my vehicle." Wiler carried a sidearm,
but decided that additional firepower was necessary to control the situation.
However, Officer Robert Montague had a different recollection of their
arrival: "On exiting my vehicle I could see Officer Guerrero and Sgt. Wiler
approaching the south side of the residence and I could also hear yelling
from the area.
"I moved to the south side of the residence and observed a man yelling
and lunging at Deputy Manson in an aggressive manner. Deputy Manson had
parked on the south side of the residence next to the driveway. Deputy Manson
was standing north of the dirt path of the yard.
"John was on the dirt path of the yard when he was confronting Deputy Manson.
I observed John move from that dirt area jumping up on to the driveway that
(is) west of the dirt area. The driveway was about two feet higher than
the dirt area.
"When John reached the driveway, I observed him pull a knife from behind
Officer Eddie Guerrero's recollection was similar to Montague's: "Sgt.
Wiler, Officer Montague, and I approached the residence at almost the same
time. During this time John was yelling and appeared to be very agitated.
John and Ned (Robinson) stepped up onto the concrete driveway, near a white
Suburban. At this point, John said something about dying and pulled the
knife from the small of his back."
The first officer to approach and make contact with Dinsmore, Louis Manson,
made this observation in his report: "Dinsmore was walking with his hands
stretched out to the sides shoulder high. The first words that I could make
out were 'what are you going to do, shoot me.'
"Dinsmore made a slight turn to look at or say something to someone else
and when he did, I could see a knife handle sticking out of his pants in
the middle of his back."
So while Sgt. Wiler recalls seeing John Dinsmore "waving a knife" as he
was exiting his police cruiser, neither Guerrero nor Montague nor Manson
remember seeing him wave a knife until they approached the house with Wiler
on foot and saw Dinsmore climb onto the concrete driveway.
It was about 8:57 PM. Deputy Brownell arrived and noticed Dinsmore on the
driveway, now waving the knife. Wiler stood in the street by the curb directly
in front of Dinsmore. To his right was Officer Montague and on the far right
stood Deputy Manson. Officer Guerrero assumed a position on Wiler's left.
John raged at the officers. "Why have you taken my son?" he screamed. "I
want my son back! You cops are corrupt! Shoot me! I'm going to die tonight
and one of you is going with me."
Behind John stood Ned Robinson. According to Robinson, Wiler yelled, "Get
him out of my line of fire!" and Deputy Manson moved in and pulled Robinson
from the driveway. Robinson was instructed to take a position across the
street and out of their way.
Dinsmore continued to slash and wave the knife, threatening mostly himself.
He put the blade to his neck, then ripped open his shirt and pressed the
point against his stomach. But at least twice, he acted as if he intended
to throw the knife, particularly at Deputy Manson.
In the background, standing on the front porch was Holly. Wiler instructed
Guerrero to remove her from the house. As Guerrero approached the porch,
he called dispatch and requested that an ambulance be put on standby. Holly
ran across the intersection of Huntridge and Aspen and stood by a police
Deputy Manson continued to attempt to calm John down, but with little success.
According to Manson, "I remember some of my conversations with him basically
that, you know, calm down, let us---let us try to help you here. And he
continued to scream at the top of his lungs at us that we stole his kid,
we had him for eight months. And I said, 'Well, who?' (And he said) 'The
courts have taken my kid for smokin', for truancy, and you've just taken
him for eight months."
Manson persisted. John looked at Manson and said, "Do you have a son?"
Manson nodded and John yelled, "How would you like it if someone took your
Meanwhile, by his own recollection Wiler told Dinsmore to drop the knife
"probably 20 to 30 times---It was many times I ordered him to drop the knife,
and he refused." Later, Wiler recalled in an interview that, "I remember
my voice was tiring from yelling at John to drop the knife."
From across the street, a neighbor could hear the cops yelling at John
to: "Drop the knife!" or "Lose the knife!" Then John said, "Oh...now you're
going to shoot me? Well go ahead mother fuckers, shoot! Go ahead! Do it!"
It was about 8:59 PM.
Now Ned Robinson came across the street and tried to squeeze between Manson
and Montague. Before he could reach the driveway and Dinsmore, Montague
shoved him back and Wiler yelled for Robinson to be secured. According to
Guerrero, "I holstered my weapon, took control of him and was walking him
to my patrol car. He made statements, 'You're gonna have to arrest me and
put cuffs on me.' I said, 'Fine."
Deputy Manson moved along the dirt path just east of the driveway. Now
Wiler yelled to him, "Get out of my line of fire!"
Dinsmore continued to pace back and forth in the driveway. He would make
threatening gestures at himself, then raise the knife and move toward the
officers. Wiler described the final moments in his report:
"While the incident was taking its course, I felt John was getting more
and more worked up. I felt that John was getting more and more aggressive
in his attacks towards the officers. I felt that John was working his courage
up to carry out his above listed statements...I could see the anger in John's
face, and his body language told me that this time he wasn't going to stop
until he stabbed an officer."
Wiler stood directly in front of Dinsmore with the Remington 870 12 gauge
shotgun leveled at John. Deputy Brownell, now on Wiler's left, held a can
of O.C. spray (Oleoresin Capsicum is an organic substance derived from the
cayenne pepper plant...OC has been found to be effective in controlling
a person aggravated by psychologically or physiologically induced emotions...from
Moab P.D guidelines). Montague stood at Wiler's right with his service weapon
drawn and aimed at Dinsmore.
A neighbor heard John scream, "Shoot me motherfuckers. You'd be doing me
a favor. Shoot me! Put an end to this worthless life. Do it!"
And he yelled again, "I know I'm going to die tonight and I'm going to
take one of you with me."
Then John moved toward Wiler. According to Wiler, "John lunged at me."
Montague remembers that Dinsmore "charged at Sgt. Wiler with the knife out
in an attacking manner." A neighbor recalls that John took "three giant
steps." Deputy Brownell observed that "John began to walk forward, taking
two steps toward Sgt. Wiler, he stopped momentarily, then proceeded forward
again. This last movement by John appeared quicker than the previous steps."
Wiler says, "At the point I realized I couldn't move back fast enough,
and I realized that John was closing the distance faster than I could get
out of the area, I fired a round out of my shotgun, aiming at center mass."
Wiler added in a subsequent interview, "I got immediate effect." It was
Some witnesses claimed that Dinsmore was as close to Wiler as three feet;
others thought it could have been as far away as ten or twelve. John was
struck in the upper abdomen, spun to the left and dropped to the ground
immediately. Wiler racked his shotgun, ejecting the spent shell and loading
the tube with a live round. Montague ran to Dinsmore, secured the knife
that had fallen from his hands and cuffed John's hands behind his back.
Manson ran for a medical kit.
Across the street, Holly Dinsmore screamed, "No! No! No! What have you
done? What have you done?" and tried to run to her husband. Brownell intervened
and held her back while the ambulance that had previously been called turned
off Kane Creek Blvd. and approached the shooting scene within one minute.
Holly could hear the EMTs pleading with the officers in charge to remove
the handcuffs from behind John's back but the police refused. After three
or four minutes John was transferred, still cuffed, to the ambulance and
rushed the mile and a half to Allen Memorial Hospital, where Dr. Steven
Rouzer was on duty in the emergency room. The ambulance arrived at 9:08
but, incredibly, no officers had accompanied it. According to Rouzer's report,
"because of the handcuffs, it was difficult to hear his blood pressure because
of the flexion of the arms."
However Utah Highway Patrol officer Ken Ballantine heard the radio broadcast
that a shot had been fired and a man was down. According to Ballantine,
"Upon my arrival (at the scene of the shooting) I was requested by Deputy
Louis Manson to go to the hospital and remove the handcuffs from the subject
so that they (medical staff) could work on him." Ballantine arrived immediately
after John was wheeled into the ER, the cuffs were removed and John was
prepped for surgery.
Two Moab Police officers finally arrived at the hospital sometime after
Dinsmore went into the operating room at 9:45 PM---45 minutes after the
shooting. Dinsmore's condition continued to deteriorate; his liver was destroyed
by the shotgun blast and at 9:58 PM, John Dinsmore died.
In the State of Utah, the Sheriff's Department in each county is the legal
investigative arm of the State Attorney General Office. In Grand County,
the S.O set out to collect evidence and information within minutes of the
shooting. Under the direction of Chief Deputy Doug Squire, all the officers
involved in the incident were interviewed; so were witnesses in the neighborhood
who saw the shooting.
The fact that Sheriff's deputies were involved in the incident caused some
Moab citizens to question the propriety of the Sheriff's Office conducting
the investigation. Doug Squire disagreed, saying, "We weren't here to make
a judgement, our job was simply to collect information and evidence."
The decision-making fell to County Attorney Bill Benge. On December 15,
Benge concluded that the use of deadly force by Wiler was justified and
that no criminal charges would be filed in the incident. He said that eyewitness
reports indicated that "five or six times he lunged at the officers with
the knife. And that the last time the officers were not able to backpedal
as fast as he was advancing. That is when the shot was fired."
And Benge noted that Dinsmore's blood alcohol level at the time of his
death was .21%, almost three times the legal limit.
Sgt. Wiler, who had been on administrative leave pending the outcome of
the investigation, returned to his normal duties shortly thereafter.
In January, the Moab City Council asked the West Valley City professional
Standards Review Board to review the case and determine if any police rules
or regulations were violated. West Valley Police Chief Dennis Nordfelt concluded
that Wiler "acted within the procedures and policies of the Moab Police
department and his actions are exonerated."
From an official point of view, that was the end of it.
REASONABLE DOUBTS. NAGGING QUESTIONS...
But it wasn't the end of it. For many, the questions will not go away, because
the initial provocation, a suicide threat, and the ultimate response, death
by a 12 gauge shotgun, seem so out of balance. As time passes even more
disturbing questions arise and some of the answers are often just as unsettling...
* Who was in charge? Sgt. Mike Wiler was the ranking Moab P.D. officer
and in charge of the incident. Deputies Manson and Brownell of the Grand
County S.O showed up as backup. In a subsequent interview, Deputy Manson
was unable to say who was in charge.
* Why did Sgt. Wiler need a shotgun to deal with a suicidal intoxicated
man with a knife?
Wiler maintains in his statements that he saw Dinsmore with the knife as
he was exiting his police cruiser. His testimony is contradicted by three
other officers who maintain that, after exiting their vehicles, they approached
Dinsmore on foot, including Wiler, and saw John in the dirt path by the
driveway with his hands empty. It was only after he turned and climbed onto
the concrete driveway that he removed and brandished the knife.
Second, all the officers carried sidearms, including Wiler. Why didn't
a service weapon provide adequate firepower to deal with a knife? Of the
officers on the scene, only Wiler and Montague continued to brandish and
aim their firearms. Deputy Manson had drawn his sidearm for a while but
subsequently re-holstered it.
Finally, in a recorded statement for the Zephyr, Deputy Brownell said this:
"I'm not sure I did draw my handgun during the confrontation. It's possible
that I did when I first got there. It didn't take long to size up the situation,
so if I had my handgun out, it was just for a very short time. And then
I got the O.C. out in hopes that I might be able to deploy that, but just
from the situation I wasn't able to."
* Was Four Corners Mental Health called?
No. In crisis situations Four Corners will respond when it is called by
dispatch. In this case, the entire confrontation went down in about five
minutes, not enough time for anyone with a skill for crisis management to
respond. No one on the scene requested mental health assistance. By the
time Four Corners Mental Health did receive a call, it was to provide assistance
to John's widow.
* Other than doing harm to himself, was Dinsmore in a position to injure
any other civilians at the time of the confrontation?
No. Holly Dinsmore had taken their daughter to a neighbor's house earlier
in the evening. Holly was removed from the house by Officer Guerrero. Ned
Robinson was removed from the scene by Guerrero. A few neighbors viewed
the confrontation from a distance but were not in any danger. And no officer
attempted to move them to a location farther from the confrontation scene.
* What kind of physical threat did Dinsmore pose to the officers?
Dinsmore had a kitchen knife. It had an eight inch blade and a five inch
wooden handle. The configuration of the knife has stirred a lot of controversy
within the community and has been described as everything from a butcher
knife to a cleaver to a butter knife.
John was very drunk. A blood alcohol test at his autopsy indicated a .21
blood alcohol level. Dispatch advised officers going to the scene that the
suicidal subject had been drinking and his inebriated condition was obvious
when they arrived.
Finally, John Dinsmore suffered from chronic rheumatoid arthritis and was
legally blind in one eye. At least one of the officers on the scene, Eddie
Guerrero, was acutely aware of that fact. Almost a year before, Guerrero
stopped Dinsmore for suspicion of driving a vehicle under the influence.
The officer asked John if he had any physical problems that would limit
his ability to perform a field sobriety test. Dinsmore explained his disabilities
to Guerrero who subsequently arrested him. Six months later, Guerrero recounted
the incident and a recitation of Dinsmore's physical problems when the case
went to court (the judge threw out the charges and the case was dismissed).
On the night of the shooting, probably within minutes of the shooting,
Dinsmore threw off his prescription glasses, rendering him virtually sightless
in one eye, and severely restricting his depth perception and vision clarity,
particularly at night.
* Were any of the officers equipped with non-lethal means of control?
Police officers carry combat batons and cans of a chemical mace called
O.C. Spray. At the time the shot was fired, in fact, Deputy Brownell faced
Dinsmore with a can of O.C. Spray. Other non-lethal equipment, such as rubber
bullets and control nets, was not available to any of the officers at the
time. Since the shooting, according to Moab Mayor Karla Hancock, the chief
of police has purchased such equipment.
* How far away was Dinsmore when Wiler fired?
Eyewitness accounts by neighbors and the officers vary. One civilian, watching
from her back porch from a considerable distance, claimed that John was
as close as three feet. Wiler believed that Dinsmore was "six to eight feet.
Maybe even closer than that." Brownell's own observation was about 12 feet.
After the shooting, Deputy Walker drew a map of the shooting scene with
an accompanying chart that gives an accurate representation of distances
from fixed objects to the location of the officers, Dinsmore, and items
of physical evidence. Based on their information, Wiler was 11 feet 11 inches
from the point where Dinsmore fell to the pavement. John was still in his
Perhaps more conclusive is this. After Wiler fired, he ejected the spent
round and re-loaded. In his interview he says,"It happened so fast that
I couldn't remember racking it. But I looked down and seen the expended
shell on the ground."
According to Deputy Walker's map and graph, the shell was 10 feet 3 inches
from the 'victim rest point.'
* Did Wiler attempt to 'backpedal' as Dinsmore came at him?
In his interview, Wiler says, "...he was closing the distance faster than
we could backpedal. And at the point I realized that he wasn't gonna stop,
at the point that I realized that we couldn't back up fast enough to avoid
his attack, I squoze (sic) a round off into him out of my duty shotgun."
But no other officers mention any significant movement backward into the
street by any of the officers at the time of the shot. More importantly,
Wiler recalls that he "looked down" and saw the spent shotgun shell. The
shell was lying near the curb. The sheriff's investigation and the subsequent
map of the shooting scene shows Wiler three and a half feet from the curb.
And further, if Wiler had backpedaled any significant distance into the
street before he fired, he would have discharged his shotgun from an even
greater distance---as much as 15 to 20 feet. Dinsmore fell to the ground
at least eight feet from the curb.
* After receiving what was obviously a critical, if not mortal gunshot
wound, why was Dinsmore handcuffed?
Immediately after the shot was fired, John pivoted to his left and fell
face down on the concrete. Abrasions on his forehead confirm that he fell
in such a manner. He drifted in and out of consciousness as he lay on the
concrete, but it was apparent that his wounds were life threatening. Officer
Montague immediately cuffed Dinsmore, which is standard police procedure.
An ambulance arrived within a minute and EMTs on the scene asked that the
cuffs be removed so that IVs could be initiated, but the request was refused.
Although questions submitted to Moab Police Chief Alan West could not be
answered directly (due to the impending threat of litigation), he did tell
Mayor Karla Hancock that in situations like that, the victim can still be
a physical threat to others and that cuffing Dinsmore was therefore reasonable;
yet no Moab Police officers accompanied the ambulance to the hospital. In
fact, John arrived at the emergency entrance unattended by any law enforcement
officer. As a result, no life saving procedures could begin until UHP officer
Ken Ballantine arrived and removed them.
* Was Wiler under the influence of any drug at the time of the shooting?
Probably not. A blood sample was drawn from Sgt. Wiler late in the evening
of November 24 to test for the presence of alcohol or drugs. It was mailed
to the Utah Department of Health's Division of Laboratory Services in Salt
Lake City. The sample was received on the 28th and a in preliminary drug
screening, Wiler tested positive for amphetamines and methamphetamines.
However, the report added, "in a few instances, the confirmation test will
be negative for a positive screening test. In such instances, the final
report will indicate 'no drugs identified.'" The report was dated December
Two days later, the final toxicology report concluded that there were no
identifiable drugs in Wiler's system at the time.
According to Bruce Beck, who signed the final report, false preliminary
readings are common, particularly with regard to amphetamines and methamphetamines.
Even cold remedies such as Sudafed or Tylenol Cold tablets can cause a positive
drug screening result.
However, in a second interview with investigators, following the blood
test results, Wiler was asked about the positive reading and if he had recently
taken any kind of allergy or cold pill. Wiler adamantly insisted that he
had not used such medications in weeks. According to Beck, after that length
of time, no trace of the drug should have been found in the blood sample
and he was at a loss to explain the positive reading. However, Beck insisted
that the drug confirmation test is a much more precise and accurate means
of detecting drugs and stood by his final report. He believed that the initial
positive reading was simply a mistake.
* How could it have happened so fast?
It is the most disturbing question of all. From the time officers first
approached Dinsmore to the moment he went down, no more than six minutes
elapsed. Yet it is extraordinary how the perception of time differed between
officers on the scene---from Officer Montague, who thought the time span
was "15 minutes, maybe more," to Deputy Brownell, who was surprised that
six minutes had passed on the clock. "It felt like three or four."
The 911 call was for a suicidal man. Would a less aggressive approach to
Dinsmore have made a difference? Was there a way to contain him without
surrounding him? Did the display of the shotgun escalate Dinsmore's fury?
Were Wiler's 'verbal commands,' shouted over and over again, to the point
of leaving him hoarse, merely inflaming the situation? Could the officer-in-charge
have called for a tactical retreat as a means of giving John more time to
blow off steam?
These are the most frustrating questions. But they are questions that deserve
The Dinsmore family deserves answers. John's friends deserve answers. And
so do the citizens of this community. To ask for less is to deny our concept
of justice and own humanity...
Justice without strength is helpless. Strength without
justice is tyrannical...Unable to make what is just strong, we have made
what is strong just.