Brower: It’s clear Marvin Heemeyer didn’t care whether he killed

By Patrick Brower / Sky-Hi News
Patrick Brower
Courtesy photo |

(Originally published June 17, 2004 in the Sky-Hi News)

I have been deeply disturbed by several comments from locals and non-locals following Marv Heemeyer bulldozer rampage in Granby June 4.

I’m not referring to jokes about the event. I’m not referring to some of the wild rumors flying around relating to it.

Rather, I’m worried about comments by some people who believe Heemeyer was a gentle giant and a cuddly teddy bear who didn’t intend to hurt or kill anyone in his attack on Granby.

More than one person has said it to me and many others have also heard it said.

In those comments I see the cult of universal victimhood rearing its ugly head in Granby. Some people are saying things that suggest they think Heemeyer was the victim in all this. All those people he attacked, somehow, deserved Heemeyer retribution because they had “wronged” Heemeyer.

From where I have observed this catastrophe, I don’t see how anyone can come to the conclusion that Heemeyer went out of his way not to harm anyone. The idea is laughable at the core and corrupt beyond imagination.

Just because no one was killed in his rampage doesn’t mean Heemeyer didn’t try to kill people. Or, perhaps more to the point, because no one was killed doesn’t mean Heemeyer cared whether he killed or not.

Clearly, the facts of the attack show he didn’t care if he killed and show clearly that he did try to kill, but that he failed.

When Cody Docheff tried to stop Heemeyer’s dozer, Heemeyer shot at him numerous times. The bullet holes from Heemeyer’s gun in the loader bucket Docheff used bear clear testimony to the fact. Heemeyer tried to kill Docheff.

Then, Sheriff Rod Johnson reports that Heemeyer also shot at Colorado State Patrol Troopers who were attempting to battle the impervious bulldozer. When Heemeyer shot at those troopers I think it’s fair to come to no other conclusion other than that he was trying to kill them.

He didn’t hit any of the troopers, or Docheff, because it was very difficult for Heemeyer to aim his weapons effectively from inside the cab. The guns were mounted in such a way that limited their maneuverability. And by using video monitors, it would be difficult to aim effectively.

I overheard one guy say that Heemeyer’s shots were “warning” shots. I could laugh out loud at this statement because of the incredulity I felt that anyone in his right mind could reasonably believe such a foolish utterance.

Then, when Heemeyer pushed over the very concrete walls behind which troopers were standing, I think it’s only fair to conclude that Heemeyer was trying to kill them.

Which brings me to the fact of the demolishing buildings, which seemed to be Heemeyer’s primary goal in his rampage. That Heemeyer didn’t care if he killed — and perhaps proving that he he hoped to kill or maim — is best proven by the serious damage he inflicted on buildings throughout town.

If children had been reading in the Granby Library at the time of his attack, some would now be dead. If I had tripped when I ran from the building, I’d probably be dead. If someone had been sitting in Maple Street Builder’s office at the time of the attack, he or she would probably be dead. The same applies to almost all the other buildings.

I ask, did Heemeyer care one way or the other at all if 82-year-old Thelma Thompson was in her house when he destroyed it? How could he have known if she was in there or not? He couldn’t have known and he didn’t know. I can only conclude that he wanted to kill her or that he didn’t care if he did. What about Casey and his employees at Gambles? They’d probably be dead if they had fled, for instance, to the store’s basement.

If not for the excellent work evacuating the town, Heemeyer would have left a trail of corpses along with the damaged buildings.

Then there are the questions surrounding his attempt to shoot the propane tanks at Independent Gas. It’s a fact that he fired his .50-caliber rifle at the propane tanks, only to have many of his rounds deflected by the armor on his own “tank.” What could his intent have possibly been? To “warn” the propane tanks that he was coming?

Even though the likely damage from hitting the tank might not have been as devastating as originally thought, the truth is that Heemeyer must have believed differently. I think the evidence suggests rather strongly that Heemeyer wanted to create a massive conflagration that could have killed senior citizens (who live nearby in the Grand Living Solar Senior Homes) and many others; a residential area sits very close to those tanks.

Marv attempted to commit murder it’s that simple. Just because he failed doesn’t mean he didn’t try. He shot at people. Marv, the big cuddly teddy bear victim, was going to make other people pay for his “victimhood” with their property, their livelihoods and their lives.

From where I sit, Marv Heemeyer tried to commit murder. Thank God he failed.

(Patrick Brower is the former editor and publisher of Sky-Hi News.)

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