I like many of you, have been watching the events unfold about Christopher Dorner. I heard words tossed around like hero and domestic terrorist, but I call this a tragedy because so many families lost loved ones. I took some time today gathering my thoughts and listening to opinions of individuals before sitting down to write this. Dorner was obviously a troubled man, and since he is now dead I doubt we will find out the whole truth how all this came about. What we do know for sure is that he worked for the LAPD and served in Afghanistan. He also wrote a Manifesto (although some believe the one available to the public online is a fake) but I am not real big of conspiracy theories. I read it and found it both disturbing and not surprising.
The LAPD does not have a good reputation but for that matter, I don’t know of any cities that have good track records when it comes to police conduct. I also will not say that all police officers are crooks or abusive. I wish Dorner would have chosen to do something else in order to get his grievances heard. Killing didn’t get the results he wanted, which was to be heard. I also don’t understand why he wanted to join the police department, especially the LAPD. I used to talk with many police officers who came in to eat at the local diner where I worked in San Francisco. I asked them why they became a cop and they all told me they wanted to help people. For most of the cops I met, I would say its a noble and at the same time a thankless job.
But law enforcement is a lot like the military — there is a code of silence among them. It’s about trust and that type of code allows bad cops to get away with bad things. Cops need to trust their partners — with their life, but what happens when the one you need to trust does something bad, like abuse their power? Dorner claims exactly that. He decided to speak out and it probably got him fired.
How many of you worked in jobs where you saw bad behavior but looked the other way thinking if you told on the person it would backfire and you would be the one in trouble? Dorner had three years to stew about being fired. Why didn’t he hire an attorney and expose the police force that way? What about writing a book? Politicians do it everyday — they love to write tell-all books after they leave office. He could have done the same thing.
Revenge is almost never a good way to go about settling grievances. Killing people definitely is not the way to go either. But isn’t that how (once again) our society likes to handle problems? We hear almost weekly someone shooting employees at a job where the shooter had been fired. Someone felt they were wronged and the way they decided to handle it was killing the perpetrators. I think the public was more upset with Dorner because he was a cop. He supposed to be the one catching the ‘bad guy’ not be the ‘bad guy’.
Dorner was trained in the military to kill the enemy. And let’s be real here — soldiers are expected to kill “on command”… no questions asked. Anyone believing they are enlisting in the military to get free job skills as a trade off, are naive. People are not called people in a war zone–they are the enemy, targets, combatants, terrorists, etc. I’m sure law enforcement has their own terms for those they see as the enemy and I am willing to bet the word ‘nigger’ is thrown around by some. Calling people names in order to de-humanize them makes it easier to abuse them, whether its in war torn Afghanistan or the streets of Los Angeles. I’m guessing Dorner believed the LAPD became his enemy when he found out whistleblowing on his peers got him fired, and he certainly had a long time to think about things before acting on his anger.
There are no winners in this scenerio and we will never know the entire story behind his manifesto because it died with him in that cabin. The public will remain divided about Dorner’s actions and those who abuse their power in law enforcement will continue to do so. And the beat goes on…until the next rampage.