A Shooting in Santa Cruz, CA

In 2007, Mondo Cult moved its main office from Los Angeles to the Central California Coast City of Santa Cruz. We knew no one but were welcomed here with open arms by all different areas of the community. My husband David and I felt at home right away and as the years have gone by, Santa Cruz has become a place that we feel we have lived in all our lives.

We have been very happy here, and indeed, the issue of Mondo Cult that is up for all those Rondo awards was produced right here on the Monterey Bay (even with all those vampires on the Boardwalk!).

Yesterday, Tuesday, the 27th of February 2013, something terrible happened in our community. Now, all you city dwellers will say big deal—it happens every day here in NYC or Oakland or LA or Chicago—but it doesn’t happen every day in Santa Cruz. And even if it did, it would still be a big deal because lives were lost.

The loss of a life is a big deal.

In this case, the people killed were two plain clothes detectives from the Santa Cruz City PD. We didn’t know them. I have a passing acquaintance with the Chief’s wife and a couple of people on the force, but I didn’t know these people, though I’m pretty sure I’ve met Butch once or twice in the course of business.

This is the first time ANY police officer has been killed in the line of duty in Santa Cruz.

The first time.

And to add to this dismal circumstance, another tragedy has reared its ugly head and it must be addressed by all. That is what I mentioned earlier in this post. I heard today that a person who tends bar here in town commented that he is from Oakland and it happens all the time there. It shouldn’t be treated like such a big deal. People here are making too much of this situation.

It’s a damned shame that the death of the people who are putting themselves in harm’s way on a daily basis has become so commonplace that people like the bartender are immune to the shock of it. Have we, as a culture, become so deadened to the heinous waste of life that we can speak of it in such a cavalier manner? Are we truly that unfeeling that the deliberate taking of a human life is “no big deal”?

Apparently, for some, that flat acceptance of murder has become ordinary. Perhaps—but it has not for me nor for David nor for the majority of the Santa Cruz community.

The shooter, one Jeremy Goulet, has apparently had a checkered history with law enforcement both here and in Oregon. A man with a history of arrests, known for his violent outbursts and before his death in a literal hail of bullets from the Santa Cruz PD, Sheriffs and countless other law enforcement agencies and personnel—he was under investigation for “unwanted sexual advances” toward a co-worker in a coffee shop. Yet with all his background—his own father is quoted as saying that Jeremy was “a ticking time bomb”—he was still walking the streets, spreading his unwanted attentions and when detectives came to his door, he shot them dead and ran.

As my husband would say, another nut with a gun.

I won’t even bother going into the gun control discussions, as it is my belief that it’s not the guns, it’s the nuts that get them that are the problem. Take away all the guns from reasonable people and the bad guys are still gonna get them. Be that as it may…

We extend our condolences to the friends, fellow law enforcement personnel and the families of Sgt. Loren Butch Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler of the Santa Cruz City Police Department. We know there is absolutely nothing we can say or do to make this better, but we do give a damn. We do care, and we are so very sorry for your loss.

Jessie and David Campbell
Santa Cruz, CA

2 thoughts on “A Shooting in Santa Cruz, CA

  1. Cary Foster

    I don’t know why it continues to shock me when I hear someone say the taking of a human life is “no big deal” When did we lose our compassion and respect for human life? Did it happen when we stopped knowing and caring for our neighbors? Maybe it was when we no longer became outraged at the sight of a beaten and broken child. Those answers will have to be worked out by people who think more deeply than I. What I do know is that Heroes come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life. My tears, my heart, and my prayers go out to the family, friends,colleagues,and the community of Santa Cruz for the loss of these Heroes. God Bless.

  2. Lynda Williams

    You know, as I watched the coverage on the news yesterday while the community was still in lockdown as local law enforcement searched “house by house, room by room, closet by closet” to make sure there was no other suspect on the loose, I found myself wondering why the big deal with all the coverage, having moved here from L.A. in 2009. And I stopped myself – appalled at that line of thought. Of course, I never thought the deaths themselves were no big deal. It was just that I perceived the coverage as over the top and unnecessary. Shame on me.

    I’ve changed my mind about that. I know there aren’t enough hours in the day, but if the media handled ALL murders as the local Santa Cruz news stations (all of them) handled this one, perhaps our society would stop taking murder for granted and accepting it as the norm, stop being so callous about the deliberate taking of a life – any life, under any circumstances.

    Like the rest of us, I don’t know the answer. But there must be one. It’s got to change, or we’ll wipe ourselves out long before climate change gets us.

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