Christopher Dorner: The Last Victim of His Own Fury

chris dorner

Dorner killed for his country and then started killing for himself.

One of the most popular comic book characters of the last 30 years is The Punisher.   A relentless vigilante whose sense of justice and insatiable thirst for revenge leads him to wage war on criminals.   This isn’t Spider-Man or Batman where they beat up the super villain, toss him in jail and then do the same dance over again six months later.   The Punisher puts his enemies under the ground as he dispatches his own version of  justice with brutal, relentless efficiency.

Maybe that’s what the supporters of rogue cop Christopher Dorner found so compelling about him.   Here was the man who finally had enough and pushed back–hard.   He waded in blood and gore up to his knees and struck fear in the hearts of a police force and a city until he met his demise in a firefight as the cabin in the woods he took refuge in became a crematorium.

Sure, The Punisher is despicable and not remotely heroic. So what? The criminals he goes after aren’t the bottom of the barrel, they’re what’s under the barrel. The worst of the worst. The scummiest of the scum.  But he endures because The Punisher gets shit done.

Those are sentiments Chris Dorner probably would endorse wholeheartedly.

The Punisher has built an audience because he doesn’t enforce the law, he provides justice. Swift, merciless, vicious, final. There’s a vicarious appeal to the simplicity of The Punisher and if you think that’s creepy, I get that. I think the fools who have exalted a twisted sicko like Christopher Dorner are much creepier and that is as “real life” as it gets.

The LAPD doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. They got their label as one of America’s most racist police forces the old-fashioned way: they earned it. You can go back to the 1940′s and find numerous incidents of how racist the cop shop is out there.

Big men with big guns add up to big appeal

BUT…

Every LAPD cop isn’t a racist. Every LAPD cop doesn’t brutalize suspects or act like an occupying force. I despise broad-brush thinking because it requires no thinking at all And let’s not forget that up to 2008, Chris Dorner was proud to be a cop on the LAPD.

Someone on my Facebook feed wasn’t reluctant to admit to defend Dorner.
I LIKE Dorner and appreciate his message. He seems to have been a good brother who chose a tragic path — and that started with joining the LAPD, an institution riddled with racism and corruption. I’ve been familiar with LAPD since the revelations surrounding its Rampart Division and automatically accepted Dorner’s complaints as probable facts.

His actions at least have once again raised the matter of the (routine) practices of excessive force, racism and corruption in LAPD for public scrutiny.

It saddens me that the brother is likely now deceased — and I’m saddened by the deaths of his (and LAPD’s) innocent victims.

As one of his victims was Keith Lawrence, a Black man who was Monica Quan’s fiancée, I don’t consider Dorner to be any sort of “brother.” Kill a brother and you stop being one.

I’m aware that Dorner killed a brother, and I’ve already said that he took a tragic path — tragic for him and for his innocent victims. His grievances, however, still appear to be justified. And his choices, however wrong, however illegal, however destructive have had the positive effect of heightening the profile of the inner workers of LAPD — a good thing.

I can’t split the good from the evil that evenly. Dorner’s grievances are secondary to his monstrous crimes and it isn’t a close second.

It’s not that Dorner’s complaints have no truth to them. It’s that the means he chose to bring them to light are reprehensible and unforgivable. By me at least, but then I hold my “martyrs” to a pretty high standard.

Monica Quan: a victim, not a target.

Monica Quan: a victim, not a target.

If Dorner wanted to raise the matter of excessive force, racism and corruption in the LAPD, he should have chosen another way to do it that didn’t include murdering four people. You don’t expose evil by using equally evil means to do so.

Many of those who supported Dorner’s short, but bloody run, know he’s a wrong number, but they can still rationalize away his evil deeds because he was pushed to the edge by an even more evil system. They tell themselves it was okay if he did bad things to people who did nothing to him as long he was striking fear and terror in the hearts of the real bastards: the LAPD.

In a time when it seems like the little criminals are locked up while the big ones walk, there will always be a romantic urge to embrace the lone wolf whose solution to complex problems is to take direct, forceful action. Americans love their outlaws.

Which is b.s., but that’s how rationalizations work.

Nancy Dorner, the mother of the former cop turned cop killer issued a statement after the body in the charred remains of the cabin was positively identified as her son,  “It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we express our deepest sympathies and condolences to anyone that suffered losses or injuries resulting from Christopher’s actions. We do not condone Christopher’s actions. “

Got that Dorner groupies?   You may have lost your sense of right and wrong, your common sense and your senses as a whole, but the woman who knew Christopher Dorner the best could not–would not–condone the appalling acts of her son.   What makes you think you know him better than she?   She gave birth to him and raised him.  You read a manifesto?   You don’t know him at all.

I can’t count how many damns I do not give if Dorner, the LAPD or Casper the Friendly Ghost set that cabin on afire. A bad man met a bad end and I say that’s tough.

The four families who are burying their dead have it tougher. So for anyone who is wringing your hands and squirting tears for Dorner frying up like a burnt wiener, squeeze one or two out for them as well.

They are the ones whom actually deserve them.

Going Out In A Blaze of No Glory

Today a headline.  Tomorrow a footnote.

Today a headline. Tomorrow a footnote.

Watch The President’s State of the Union or The Last Day in Chris Dorner’s Life? Both events are predictable, but only one matters.

HINT: It’s not the loser who probably ate a bullet in a burning cabin. I’m amused by those who seem to believe Dorner is a modern-day Django. Well, sorry to spoil the movie if you haven’t seen it but Django rode away with his lady-love in the end. All Dorner is going to do is give a coroner a chance to see what his dental records look like.

I’m sorry Dorner’s rage has claimed a fourth victim.    I’m personally sorry for some of the utter brain-dead bullshit that Dorner’s sadly misguided groupies have vomited  all over Facebook and Twitter.   Hatred of the LAPD is one thing, but attempting to justify the murder of innocents is absurd.   I don’t agree with it and I will never endorse such a twisted vision of race, police and justice.

Chris Dorner is not a hero.   Heroes don’t shoot an unarmed woman and man trapped in a car where there’s no escape.   That’s gutless and it’s cowardly.

Dorner going out in a blaze of no glory was exactly how this was going to go out.     As a cold-blooded, merciless killer he deserved no better than he got.

That’s not the Hollywood ending the Dorner groupies were looking for, but life doesn’t always come with happy endings.

I only regret Dorner’s death because what comes next will be the inevitable deification and martyrdom of Dorner.   He doesn’t deserve it.  Not any of it, but it’s coming.   I  wish those who have turned this killer into a modern-day Angela Davis were half as interested in ensuring the gun violence Dorner reveled in did not claim and more children in Chicago and Newtown and across this bullet-riddled nation.

Whatever truth there was to Dorner’s manifesto is washed away by the rivers of blood he’s spilled.  Four people are dead.  He terrorized an entire city.  He’s destroyed families.  Yet some weak-minded fools can justify all of that because Dorner supposedly blew the whistle.  Most whistleblowers don’t have to kill someone to make their point.

Hadiya Pendleton is a real hero.   Hadiya Pendleton and those whose lives were snatched away too soon are the real victims.  You want Christopher Dorner?  He’s all yours if you want him.

But you might need an ashtray.

Today Chris Dorner is a headline.  In a week, he’ll just be a footnote.   A killer on the run has been run to ground and both he and his manifesto will soon be history.     The whining few who laud this twisted sicko as a hero will always be recognized by the sensible majority as the villain he turned himself into.

dorner_manhunt

Could L.A’s Ugly Past Be Sanford’s Possible Future?

A whole new meaning to "fire sale."

I have never been to Los Angeles.  I don’t know anyone who lives in Los Angeles.  Everything I know about Los Angeles comes second-hand.   Yet it was 20 years ago my first gig as a paid freelancer came when I wrote about the 1992 L.A. riots after the acquittal of the police officers who beat motorist Rodney King.

I can’t read that article now without wincing.  It’s earnest and sincere, but it’s overwrought, poorly thought out and badly written.  It’s not that I regret what I said when I was in my mid-Thirties, and  I am not afraid of being angry, I’m not that angry young man anymore.

I’m gratified former Time magazine correspondent Sylvester Monroe who covered the uprising in L.A. wrote a remembrance of where he was 20 years ago and what has changed since then.

The 1992 Los Angeles riots were one of the biggest stories of my career and among the most personal. I wasn’t just a reporter covering the worst civil unrest in modern U.S. history. I was also an African-American man and father of an adolescent son ever mindful of close encounters of the worst kind with the police.

Reporting on the six days of deadly violence and vandalism following the acquittals of four white L.A. police officers tried for the brutal, videotaped beating of black motorist Rodney King resonated with me even more than the trial itself. In nearly 10 years as a Los Angeles correspondent for Time magazine, I was never stopped by the LAPD. As a young teenager, my son, Jason, was ticketed once for jaywalking. We paid a $50 fine and that was the end of it. But we both were always wary.

Twenty years later, relations between the Los Angeles police and the city’s black citizens are light-years beyond the tinderbox atmosphere that once prevailed, thanks to extensive police reforms, including a much-touted commitment to community policing, increased external oversight and more enlightened department leadership. Many black Angelenos now believe there has been so much progress that what happened in 1992 could not happen again. At least not in the same way.

One reason is that despite some ongoing racial tension, the people of Los Angeles generally get along much better than they did at the time of King’s famously plaintive plea: “Can we all just get along?”

“I do not feel it could happen again because [the police] are now accountable to us and want to be,” says Lawrence Tolliver, also black, who owns a popular barbershop just blocks from the infamous intersection of Florence and Normandie Avenues where white truck driver Reginald Denny was dragged from his truck and almost beaten to death by young black men right after the King trial verdicts. “If something like [the King beating] did happen today, it would be a lot different than in 1992. They would investigate it, and the current police chief would not let it get to that point. We have a lot more impact on the department now.”

The answer is, "Maybe, but it's not going to be easy."

That may be true for L.A., but not for every city around the nation. As Los Angeles marks the 20th anniversary of its riotous past, national attention is now firmly fixed on yet another racially charged assault. In the Trayvon Martin case, the Sanford, Fla., police did not shoot the unarmed 17-year-old black teenager. But police handling or mishandling of the case and how it is resolved in court could make Trayvon this generation’s Rodney King. For what has not changed in two decades is continued excessive force against black males (and females) by law enforcement officers and others who claim they were afraid for their lives.

If George Zimmerman is exonerated and rioting does occur, that would be unjustified and unfortunate, but not wholly unexpected. When there is one standard of justice for Whites and a separate and unequal one for Blacks and it is shrugged off as no big thing it breeds the lack of respect for the American system of justice and all its representatives that is decried by its most ardent defenders. If peaceful civil disobedience is denigrated as rabble rousing and counter-productive, then once legitimate means of redress are choked off, violent reactions become inevitable.

Americans are not people who quietly suffer their lot in life with hand-wringing and hushed voices. They raise hell about everything from high taxation without representation, unjust wars, government that becomes too big, bloated and intrusive and for civil rights and equal protection under the law. Faith in, and compliance with the rules and laws of a civilized society can only be maintained as long as they are equally and fairly applied regardless of race, color, creed, orientation, power, influence or connection.

If no one should be considered above the law then no one should be considered below the law.   That includes Trayvon Martin as much as it does George Zimmerman.

King was everything Martin wasn’t.  A large Black man with a criminal record who was breaking the law and might have been stoned then.   King was a victim of police brutality while Martin faced off with an overzealous vigilante-slash-police-wannabee and.though King was a victim, he wasn’t entirely innocent.  .

No one else should be hurt or die due to what happened one night in Sanford, Florida. The hope is justice will prevail and everyone involved will be treated in a fair and equitable way. But if anyone believes what happened in 1992 can’t happen again they have not paid attention to the bitterly learned lessons of Los Angeles very well.

Rodney King was not innocent, but he was a victim.