Story of Lack of Law Enforcement in Rural Counties Covered Sacramento Bee–Accounts of Trinity County Neighbors Whose Throats Were Slashed Featured

911 emergencyRural residents know that a 911 call to law enforcement may result in a several hour wait for a response. Yesterday, the Sacramento Bee posted the culmination of several months of research into the problem. Leading the article is the story of how in March of 2011 a Trinity County couple, Jim and Norma Gund, had their throats slashed by a murderer when they responded to a request from a Trinity County Sheriff Cpl. Ron Whitman that they check on their neighbor who had called 911 for help. Whitman was almost 100 miles away in Weaverville.

According to the Bee’s story, “[T]he drive — through rugged forest and over steep passes — would take almost three hours.”

According to a California County map included in the article, Trinity County has 1.1 sworn deputies per 100 square miles. Humboldt has 5.1. Del Norte has 2.4 and Mendocino County has 3.5. The article looks at how this low staffing affects response time and policing.

Today, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Twitter account referenced the article but noted, “With the help of Measure Z (now Measure O) we’ve been able to boost staffing, provide better service, increase coverage in our most remote areas, staff resident deputy positions in Bridgeville, Orick and Orleans, and more.”

The Bee’s article also brushes on the limited number of mental health professionals in rural areas and looks more deeply into how rural economies are affected by protected state and federal land (acreage not in private hands is not subject to property tax which is a mainstay for budgets in rural counties.)

The story of Jim and Norma Gund is so compelling though that the Bee also published another article simultaneously about their ongoing court cases with the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office. The article is titled: This couple was attacked by knife-wielding killer. Did their sheriff put them in harm’s way? The article described what happened in detail. One short section states,

Their killer, Tomas Gouverneur, a musician from Corvallis, Ore., shocked Norma with a stun gun as she entered the house. He also attacked her with a hunting knife, slashing her throat, head and face. The blade opened her carotid artery and cut her trachea in half, Jim said.

Jim entered the house to check on his wife. Gouverneur attacked him as well. “I had never been in a fight in my life,” Jim said. “He had a Taser, a knife, a black belt in karate and he outweighed me.”

According to the Bee, “In June, a state appellate court sided with the sheriff’s office in dismissing a suit the Gunds filed in 2012 seeking $10 million in damages from the attack. The court said the Gunds were de facto employees of the county because they had agreed to do a deputy’s duties and therefore were entitled only to workers’ compensation.”

We corresponded with Jim Gund today and he tells us, “Right now, we are in Federal court, but the State Supreme court of Calif has now called for the case to be looked at by them. As far as we know, they have never done this. They only take about 5% of all cases presented to them, so this is a big deal.”

He said that he and his wife “have turned our horse ranch into a place
where kids and adults can come and ride and learn horsemanship.” He explained,

[I]f you do not have money, you are never turned away. The kids come after school, or in the morning in summertime, it is a safe haven. No put downs or bullying, only positive attitudes. …

We use the Vaquero method of horsemanship, which promotes quiet training methods, seeing it from the horses point of
view.

We have autistic kids, ADHD kids, some who have come off their meds because of this, all different kinds of kids, which makes for a better world. The kids with no money benefit from the kids who do, the wealthy kids supply hand me downs of boots, clothing, and tack and equipment.

For instance, we have 3 strong riders, two are wealthy, one is not. The two wealthy kids were going to town one weekend to buy new tack bags, and fill them with new stuff for the horses. When they came back on Monday, there were three bags, all filled exactly the same. These are things we teach here on the Rockin G.

Read the two Sacramento Bee articles at the following links:

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49 comments

  • Humboldt Stand and Fight

    And the press always makes a big deal about cannabis farmers being caught with guns or weapons, one would have to be crazy to sit in the woods at a cannabis farm with all the google earth technology and not be armed for their own protection, that is why these mandates that cannabis users and cannabis farmers should not have weapons make a solutely no sense…… Increased penalties for protecting your private property….. give us a break!!!…You can’t trust 911 and the sheriff to instantly appear when there is a problem in these rural counties, they are HOURS AWAY!! STAND AND FIGHT , OR YOU MAY END UP THE NEXT VICTIM, LOTS OF PREDATORS NOWADAYS WITH THE ECONOMY AND ALL FALLING TO COMPLETE PIECES AND FAMILIES WITH HUNGRY MOUTHS TO FEED LIVING IN THE BOONIES WITH NO ABILITY TO PRODUCE AN INCOME ANY LONGER, Humboldt, Trinity, Del Norte And Mendo are all screwed, I recommend everybody prepare to protect yourselves, rough times have arrived, people gonna wish there was still cannabis farms with all the crime starting to take place everyday…..

    • I agree with you about some of what you said. Even if you live close to town depending on how your call is prioritized by the 911 operators. Its going to take time to get a unit to you. A 5-10minute wait even in these situations could be someones death.

      You should definitely take steps to protect yourself, even more so your family. Nobody in a sane state of mind buys a gun and goes I want to kill someone. Instead they buy a gun and go, I hope i never need to use, but If I need it to protect myself or family then its there.

      Its so easy for someone who only lives in a big city to say “we don’t need guns”. They forget that just as many people that live in big cities live in small and rural locations. Where law enforcement might not be able to get to them easily.

      Also as nice it as having someone you can call with a light, a siren, and a gun. You should always be doing what you can to self sufficient and safe. Yes accidents do happen that you can’t avoid the outcome. However the more prepared you are in advance, the better you and those around you will fare when things aren’t going well.

    • Did you know it is actually federally illegal for anyone who smokes or has a marijuana prescription to actually own a firearm.

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/wonk/wp/2016/09/07/why-medical-marijuana-patients-cant-buy-guns/

  • Wow, those Sac Bee articles were quite interesting, and well done. Thanks for the links.

  • Rural law enforcement certainly doesn’t have problems staffing convoys.

    • That is my brother jim gund and his wife Norma that that happened too. No one can ever forget the horrible thing that happens to one self

  • When secondes count…
    law enforcement are only minutes away…sometimes many minutes.
    Own and know how to safely use a firearm.

  • I’m not saying I invented the turtleneck, but I was the first person to realize its potential as a tactical garment. The tactical turtleneck! The … tactleneck. When seconds count the tactleneck is your best hope.

    • Really???!!! Unnecessary self-reference showing total lack of compassion…some sick joke in response to a tragedy.

      • Sorry Bonnie. Please accept my apology for my lack of compassion.

        Several tragedies jump out of this story. Why would anyone think it is a good idea to check on drug dealing neighbors who are potentially in distress. That task is solely for trained, armed, law enforcement. Or at best done at a safe distance. I never understood why Jim waited in the truck, and Norma entered the home after encountering a stranger outside. This is Trinity County, not freaking Mayberry RFD. When something bad happens good chance it involves drugs and or people on drugs or booze. Remember the cops had just reminded them by virtue of their request that real help was three hours away.???!!!

        The Gunds are entitled to some type of compensation for what they endured, but $10,000,000 seems extremely excessive. $3,300,000 or more would go to the attorneys, $6,700,000 to the Gunds. Put that up to for a taxpayer vote and see how it rolls. If any money is awarded it should come from Ron Whitman’s sorry butt.

        • The “drug dealing neighbors” were considered very good and gentle people. And people generally don’t meet up with homicidal throat slashers near as often as they meet up with folks who are visiting when they stop by the neighbors. I think blaming the victims is pretty harsh.

          • Sorry Kym I didn’t realize I was blaming the neighbors or insinuating that the drug dealing neighbors were bad or violent people.

        • and how much of that 6.7 did they or will they pay for medicial expences. or to get help to learn to trust others again ?

  • Where in trinity did this take place

  • Life saved by Jerold Phelps ER doctor and nurses

    • Yeah, what did they do put a towel on it and send her to another hospital capable of doing real surgery? My friend went there with a dislocated shoulder and they wouldn’t even touch it, didn’t stop them from billing him though.

      • Actually, the Dr in the ER In Garberville saved Norma’s life by doing a procedure he had never done before, kept her breathing till Davis. When you sit down with these two, it is so powerful.

  • We should get something for all of our resources they steal for all the foreigners populating the southern half of the state. California has become the biggest rip off in the country. We should call it western france!
    Our quality of life is not as good as it was 20 years ago.
    Your so called progress is bullshit.
    Fuck you in your diversity hole!

    • The Hermit of Grizzly Mountain

      As much as I like to mock the recurring plans to split California into Jefferson, Ecotopia, Elysium, Babylon and Mad Max wastelands, were the North Coast bioregion it’s own State, it could profit from selling its water and other resources to the badlands. Then again, the fish need it more.

    • That southern part Was Mexico. And since YOU never physically remove them, they and many generations are still there. Those foreigners are locals. But don’t worry, the Whites Only Mass Murders List always brings joy to the dumb conversation of who sucks more. This goes to show you, don’t help police, so since they are only entitled to workmans comp, do they get badges and is the person being tried as an attempted cop killer?

      • I grew up here I’m not talking about Hispanics. They are the life blood of the building industry and many more. I mean the others. If you go to Sunnyvale near the “mothership” apples new complex. You will be surrounded by foreigners. You rarely see anyone born here.
        It’s out of control….

  • Were gettin it with no lube

    Stand up humboldt and fight im thinking like you are, dont give a ratts Ass bout the rules im ready to blaze away at all times, better to be in trouble than dead. I’ve had to do time before it goes by,cant crawl out of the casket once your there. And yeah 17 hundred or so permits against 40000, or more folks outta a way to servive our politicians really looking out for the population.we have an opportunity in november to achieve a new congressman(dale minsing is a local boy who works every day with the people)we also can flush huffman,woods,and McGuire rite out the door.these worms are who our supervisors awnser too and they also helped scheme up this abatement rip off scheme.

  • The Hermit of Grizzly Mountain

    “I had never been in a fight in my life,” Jim said. “He had a Taser, a knife, a black belt in karate and he outweighed me.”

    Fortunately, Jim Gund studied at the Mr. Miyagi school of wax-on, wax-off, so to speak. His horsemanship must make for good self-preservation training!

    • The Angels were with him. If you have never been touched/saved by Angels, please don’t comment…it takes one to know one. Truth.

      • The Hermit of Grizzly Mountain

        I do not disagree. The Gunds’ guardians were on point that day. And he made good choices. They both did! Please don’t mistake my lighthearted comment as anything but joyful for their well-being. Peace.

  • More Than The Sum Of Our Parts

    RIP Sky and Kristina, tragically lost yet never forgotten. Our communites still grieve for these bright lights extinguished so early and unnecessarily. Such terrible, far reaching trauma. Endless thanks to the Gunds for their neighborly responsiveness, they certainly deserve to never financially worry ever again, though their emotional and physical scars will undoubtedly be lasting. Good people looking out for each other- it is truly all we have out in these rural spaces. Grateful for the recovery of this brave couple, so sweet to read of their continuing service to their community. May they, as well as the families of the deceased, continue to heal and find peace.

  • Sheriff asks me to check on a neighbor I’m taking firepower with me.

  • All these comments and no one asks about “the Gunds were de facto employees of the county because they had agreed to do a deputy’s duties and therefore were entitled only to workers’ compensation”. Really, and I thought they were just good citizens and neighbours, doing their civic duty and caring about someone other than themselves. TC has some problems, but this one is off the hook.

  • The violent crime rate in Trinity county is quite low compared to other California counties. Part of that is self-reliance and an armed community.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_locations_by_crime_rate

    • Ullr, actually i think its because Trinity is able to hide their stats.

      Mostly due to shit detectives like JOSH FORD.

      He didnt give a shit about the 71 year old who was tied, beaten and robbed….left for dead until i found him.

      We gave him evidence (because he never came to the scene) we gave him the case. We gave him names.

      Nothing but lies and ineptness. Fuck you JOSH FORD. I hope your office falls into a chasm with you on bottom.

      I dont think my neighbor was included into your stat sheet, like so many other incidents in TC.

      Thanks Sac Bee and Kym.

      • I’m sure there are lots of crimes that go unreported; or the sheriff fails at their job, but for 2016 reports there were a total of 34 violent crimes in Trinity County. Compared to LA County at 43k reports. How many were missed in the respective counties? Ten, 20, 30 in Trinity compared to, maybe, 100, 1000, or more in LA.

        “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.” -Stalin

        • I think 30 untallied violent crimes a year might be low balling it for TC. I may be off base, but i may not be.

          But per capita?

          And i dont care much about LA, I pay for the TCSO, know what i mean?

          • That’s the thing about the per capita stats in such a small county, there may be 10 extra reported crimes in a year and we have a 30% crime surge…. a veritable crime spree.

            I don’t care about LA either it just illustrates the other side of the statistic spectrum.

            “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

  • I was one of the EMTs on that call that drove Norma to Garberville. Seriously scary situation. Glad they both survived.

    • Good job Dustin, You EMT’s and other first responders deal with and experience things some of us can only imagine, and do so with low wages and seldom get recognition. I think you got left out of this conversation. A tip of the hat to you and your compadres!

  • I call BS. Love how the county after the fact says they are…”de facto employees” give me a break! Was there any signature? Was there any conversation to allude to that status? Did the dispatch say oh you’re now a defacto employee go over there and check out what’s happening. RIDICULOUS! Stooping pretty low Trinity County coming up with excuses to cover your asses!

  • NotBitterButBetter

    I received a call at about 2:30am from the company who services the alarms at my retail store. They asked me if they should call to dispatch a sherrif as they normally do, and if I would meet them at the store to let the responders inside. I said I would and got out of bed to dress when the phone rang again. It was the alarm company calling to inform me that “no sherrif will be meeting you because the sherrif’s department only had one available officer on duty and they’re 2-3 hours away.” I couldn’t believe it so I called 911. I was given the same information to which I replied “what am I supposed to do, grab a gun and go by myself?” The dispatcher’s answer was “I can’t advise you to do that but some people are more comfortable doing that than others.” I drove to the store but I was unarmed because on my 18th birthday 37 years ago, I was arrested with 1.2 grams of hash and the conviction resulted in a felony barring me from ever being able to use a gun in the course of protecting my family and my assets.

  • Were gettin it with no lube

    I think being able to defend yourself should be everyones right.regardless of some charge years ago.just another trample on the constitution.we need to show up in record numbers in november if nothing else to make a statement.there all crooks but some are a little more corrupt than others

  • Another day at the TCSO…

    “Whats that, your neighbor is threatening you with a gun? Ok, just call us back if something happens “

  • Stay vigilant. When your life matters and you like living and dint have w hours to wait to save it well then bang bang .

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