Shouldn't matter either way. It's a tragedy regardless. This is time for compassion, not cop vengeance junkies grandstanding on their soapboxes.


What led Charles to the conclusion WSP is free to release employee health care information?


Wouldn’t be a great look for the pro-vaccine movement if it turned out he was vaccinated. Careful what you wish for, it all seems like gasoline on the fire!


The state police cannot release that information.


Charles, on the 'nut' of it, your article is spot on. However, a) KING5 did note that the WSP refused to indicate whether the Trooper (he's a Trooper, not an officer) was vaccinated or not. Maybe KING5 could have delved into that aspect but I'm guessing they let it lie to give the family some peace and out of decency. Wrong call? Maybe, but it likely came from a good place in some ways. b) Since when can't a public servant die in the line of duty?! I like you Charles, but sometimes you need to put the bong down and NOT do what so many at The Stranger -including you- so often do: make shit up, selectively report facts and proselytize to the point of obnoxiousness. Just because your organization is often on the correct side of the issues, doesn't give you license to play loose and lazy with facts. BTW, non-brass WSP field personnel are referred to as 'troopers', not 'officers'. Then again, what else to expect from Mr. Let's-All-Share-Kitchens!


@5 - I read all lines, and between them as well.

Who knows, he could have had a breakthrough infection. Better to learn how to deal with ambiguity instead of being annoying just to validate a narrative.


Troopers are still police officers, and Charles is correct if he died from covid it was not in the line of duty, that term is reserved for military personnel who die on the job. It’s a disservice to the military members that you purport to respect so greatly, service members who pass due to service related problems after service don’t get that addendum. Go hump some other leg, cucks.


There's no official government or military dictate on how the phrase "in the line of duty" is applied to the departed.


@9 A line of duty death is not reserved exclusively to the military. I’m a vet and that is a crock!


I’m also a vet, and it doesn't apply to any other civilian other than cops so the same rules should apply.


I had friends die in active service but outside of duty and they didn’t get in the line of duty. So y’all can go fuck yourselves.


@12 Not true. Just because you don’t agree doesn’t make it so. Even the state of WA recognizes LODD of police and firefighters.


Lol, nope


@15 Typical puddle pirate.


Of the 298 office "line of duty" deaths reported this year nationwide, 180 of them have been from Covid-19. Covid-19 killed 243 officers last year, while gunfire both intentional and "inadvertent" killed 50 officers. The Wall Street Journal saying that Covid is now the "leading cause of death surpassing gunfire" is a massive understatement. Covid killed 5 times more officers than gunfire last year and it is on track to do the same this year. However, unlike the officers who died last year before the vaccines were available, most of the officers who die from Covid this year are dying because of their own choices.


@19: You can't draw the conclusion "dying because of their own choices" from those links.


@8, It's highly unlikely that a vaccinated 38 year old would die of covid-19, with the possible exception of that person being immunocompromised. The vaxxed people who do die from covid-19 are usually old people who are about one nudge from the coffin and a little covid does the trick.


@21: We'll never know. But we do know that a family is grieving. That should be enough for you.


@22: For many grieving families, a big priority is to save other people from dying the same way their loved one die. Especially, to keep the buddies and colleagues of their loved one from dying the same way. This is true across professions and social strata. When a police officer is killed by gunfire, the triggerman is usually the officer in question. Grieving families often want to emphasize their loved one died, not in the line of duty, but from a cause which is a major occupational hazard for police officers, in order to encourage other police officers to get the help they need, and to help society appreciate the pressures law enforcement face. Dying of covid is these days a still worse occupational hazard for first responders (more police are dying of covid than of gunfire, self-inflicted or otherwise). Fortunately these deaths can be more than 95% preventable. It's costs literally nothing, and all it takes is consciousness raising among police officers, which is a project that a grieving family might well want to take on, as a way of making the loss of their loved one's death less senseless. I'm writing as one who just lost an in-law, needlessly, to covid. His death was a tragedy, not an act of heroism, and I don't honor him or comfort my spouse by pretending it was.


multiple typos above which somehow are always
completely invisible until 10 seconds after I press "post"


@23: Well, if some want to remember your brother in law as a hero, for whatever reason regardless of his profession, just be gracious about it.


I'll try. If some want to work to have there be fewer grieving families such as the one you are advocating for, don't clutch your pearls if those efforts come across more like tough love than like graciousness.


Folks here don't understand the legal entitlements that are triggered by a line-of-duty death under Washington Work Comp rules. I don't pretend to be a full-on expert but this important nuance warrants attention and is THE reason that they are quick to make this declaration while not sharing the thinking. And be assured that the person who said this does not have the final word. It is wishful thinking and I sure hope that L & I does their job and says "prove it", which will be very hard to do.

The Work Comp system is no-fault, thus legally his vaccination status is irrelevant. In the same way that a drunk worker who falls off a ladder while on the job and fractures their femor is entitled to work comp benefits, though they may be fired afterwards for violation of work rules by showing up drunk or drinking on the job.

The issue is proximate cause of his death by virus on a more probable than not basis, or 51% likely to be caused by employment. Not knowing is not sufficient to presume yes. Evidence, science and common sense have a place in the determination, as if you were on a jury and looking at the evidence.

Unless his off-work life was in a sterile bubble and the only infected people he ever encountered were traffic stops, or he got infected at a work conference, it seems rather implausible, unlike the car accident or gunshot while working, that this is work-related. Law enforcement and fire fighters have always had a chip on their shoulder with respect to claiming work related injury or disability. Heart attacks, cancer and the many maladies that may afflict any of us, if we are a cop or firefighter, will have a union and in some cases legislators presuming or assuming work relatedness, providing a nice lifetime pension or survivors benefits that the next guy or gal who works in any other field would not be able to get.

So I smell bs here on claiming this tragic and preventable death had anything to do with work and everything to do with a decision to not get vaccinated. Condolences to his friends, colleagues and family.


@27, thanks for that post. Under that light, it would make a lot of sense for the state to require their troopers to get a vax or lose their jobs. This would be a win-win decision: good for the tax payers, and even better for the troopers, and their families.


There sure seem to be a lot of Trumpists on the SLOG these days. This dude was clearly unvaccinated, which is the only reason why the WA Troopers association is trying to cover it up. And because he was unvaccinated, not only did he choose to end his own life and ruin the lives of his family, he put the public he was charged with serving at risk. Gunderson was not a hero and the only tragedy here was his monumental and malignant ignorance.


@29: We have no knowledge of his unvaccinated status. Sorry.


@30 Whe a 38-year old person who is healthy enough to hold a job as a state trooper dies of covid, we can draw an extremely strong inference as to his vax status, as you well know. If as a society we prioritize a) privacy and b) protecting the feelings of friends and family, we pay a cost in further lives lost. Raindrop if you feel those priorities are worth that cost, then say so. I'd disagree, but ok. Right now you are just being disingenuous.


@30 we absolutely can say with almost 100% certainty that he wasn't vaccinated. His family is refusing to make a statement, and the Troopers are refusing to make a statement. It's clear, give it a rest.

Please wait...

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