The Cinematic Saga of Christopher Dorner

I was not the first person to hear about elite former police and naval officer Christopher Dorner’s campaign of violence to avenge the disgrace and slander he alleges was wrongly perpetrated against him by officers of, and attorneys and officials affiliated with, the Los Angeles Police Department: acts which led to his termination as a police and naval officer and the ruining of his career and, according to Mr. Dorner, his personal life as well. I didn’t start to catch on to this story until hearing some chatter on the radio Thursday morning about a former Los Angeles police officer gone rogue, and then listened to snippets of the manifesto he posted online detailing the story behind his vendetta, as well as his arbitrary opinions on a long list of other issues and people. My interest developed, but it wasn’t until I saw Chief of Police Charlie Beck addressing the press from a secured room that I realized that there was an unusual dynamic in place in this murderous tale. The Los Angeles Police Department is scared. And with one of their own dead, downed after exchanging gunfire with the suspect in Irvine, and two other cops wounded at the hands of one of their most capable officers, they have good reason to be. Christopher Dorner remains at large. The search for him is wide ranging, fanning out now to the snowy mountains of Big Bear, where he is thought to be concealing himself in the wintry cold, though no one knows for sure. They, with the rest of the city and even the country, wait with bated breath to see if and when he strikes again, hoping only that the police find him before he does.

Of course, not everyone is hoping the cops do find him, and that is the part of this story which is most interesting to me. While the mainstream media and most people are portraying Dorner as a murderer who needs to be brought to justice, many people, and very many within the black community in Los Angeles, have more than a little bit of sympathy for the plight and crusade of Christopher Dorner. We, after all, know the dark side of the LAPD better than any other group in this massive city of Los Angeles, and the corruption and brutality of Los Angeles city police officers historically speaking is something that even they do not dispute. Dorner puts himself forward as an avenger of those who have suffered at the hands of the LAPD, as the just punisher of the sins of the department which have driven him to this point. He writes, “I saw some of the most vile things humans can inflict on others as a police officer in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the streets of LA. It was in the confounds of LAPD police stations and shops (cruisers). The enemy combatants in LA are not the citizens and suspects, it’s the police officers.”  Black people of inner city Los Angeles have little problem believing that, being the children of the Watts riots, the Los Angeles riots and Rodney King. And as I hear people talk about Dorner, not all of them black by any means but many of them, with subtle and not so subtle tones of admiration for his willingness and his ability to intimidate the most feared police department in America, I understand. I understand the historic mistrust and animosity we have towards the police, and it does not strike me as unbelievable that every word of Mr. Dorner’s testimony might be the truth. Liars are seldom so motivated by their own lies as this man is. But it does not make him worthy of our admiration. It does not erase the horror of the terrible things he is reported to have done.

Because of Christopher Dorner, the former first lady of the Church I attend has lost a step son; Keith Lawrence, the fiance of Monica Quan, both of whom  he supposedly shot to death in a car in Irvine simply because Ms. Quan was the daughter of a police Captain Dorner blamed for his misfortune; two individuals who had nothing to do with the injustices Mr. Dorner allegedly suffered at the hands of the LAPD. I can think of no greater hypocrisy than to accuse some people of treating innocent people unjustly, and then to turn around and take vengeance by murdering innocent people oneself. Had he confined his retribution merely to those against whom he may have had legitimate grievances he would still be wrong. But to expand his carnage to those so completely undeserving makes him more than misguided; it makes him as bad and worse than those whose supposed corruption has brought him to this terrible point, where he has made himself judge and jury, meting out death and punishment not only to those who may be guilty, but also to those who certainly are innocent.

I do not hate Christopher Dorner. I feel sorry for him. He is compelling because in his writings one can easily perceive the thought processes of a rational, even thoughtful individual. In reading his manifesto, I felt great remorse that such a person could be twisted by circumstances to become such a distortion of what I imagine to be his former self. The record seems to indicate that this was once a man of integrity, though he deludes himself to think he is such a man now. Nevertheless, if the culture of corruption Mr. Dorner illustrates in his manifesto is even half true, than such perversions of justice in the halls of the police department must too be reckoned with. That a man’s reputation can be destroyed for bringing to light the crimes of his fellow officers is a sin almost as serious as the crimes Dorner has perpetrated, and even worse when one extrapolates the consequences such corruption has for this great city of Los Angeles that the LAPD is meant to protect and serve. It is by no means to condone Christopher Dorner to say that if these sorts of incidents which he has described do indeed persist in our police force (and there is more evidence than this that they do) than it is right for this to be a come to Jesus moment for those who govern the force, and shape the system.

I wish the Los Angeles Police Department luck in bringing Christopher Dorner to justice. Then I wish honest officers and city, state and federal officials, as well as the people of Los Angeles through the legitimacy of the democratic process, the utmost luck in bringing justice to the criminal elements of the LAPD.

5 Comments on "The Cinematic Saga of Christopher Dorner"

  1. Bro. Malcolm Feb 11, 2013 · 11:25 am

    Beautifully written John. A concise, thoughtful, well researched and empathetic response to a situation that has way too many unanswered questions to begin to fully take sides.

  2. Jessica Snook Feb 11, 2013 · 12:59 pm

    Very well put John I agree with you completely something needs to change and very quick before other people start to snap and loose it. Me and your uncle Devon were just saying thr same thing this morning .

  3. Darryl Theus Feb 12, 2013 · 2:25 pm

    As the standoff currently takes place in Big Bear, thoughts go towards many subjects: Condolences to the families of the loved ones lost;The resources devoted to the apprehension of the suspect, the culpability of all who’ve contributed directly and indirectly, rightfully and wrongfully to the suspect’s response to his grievances. I pray that the cost to all is not in vain and that there is subsequent benefit to the people of Los Angeles with an LAPD that’s more sensitive and accountable to its populace and personnel. Mr. Wood, gratitude to you for admonishing the suspect’s actions, actions that cannot be condoned. Though many in a variety of social circles are justifying them. The shame and blame belong to many of us.Every day we collectively turn our heads to loved ones, friends, and family members who need help and might be potential powder kegs not unlike the suspect. I’m afraid this is a portent of similar events to come. We need to do our part to prevent them whether through legislation or other means.

  4. Tiffany Valentine Feb 12, 2013 · 3:11 pm

    Beautifully said,

    I think A LOT of people in black AND Hispanic communities have gotten caught up in the fantasy of it all. The idea that someone will finally stand up for us and demolish all the dirty lies and secret discrimination we have faced for years from the LAPD. This story reads as the PERFECT movie script because had this been on a silver screen Dorner would be our hero; but due to the innocent lives he has taken in reality and the idea that his revenge included the families of those that have wronged him makes his story all to real and makes his argument impossible to sympathize or empathize with. I’m a torn black American that does not want him to take another life, but wishes he never be found. Instead, I would rather he remain a constant fearful reminder that all people deserve basic respect and a justice without predjudice. And to
    think all this man asked for to stop the killings was an apology… Wow.

  5. TT Feb 13, 2013 · 12:44 pm

    I am white and also felt sorry for Chris. I believe he was a broken man and thought he had no other choice. Does not make it right to kill. Just saying I felt for him. I believed what he wrote. I also believe that they wanted him dead. They were not going to ever bring him in alive. I was stunned how the media just blew off that cops surrounded a car they thought he was in and started shooting. Never even tried to see that it was two woman in the car. The only thing I have heard the media say about it is that they are going to get her a new car. What??!!?? What about the fact that the same police force Chris is calling corrupt just opened fire on a car without seeing a weapon or even who was inside! Blows my mind. And yes I also agree that if we don’t stop this corrupt official america we live in we will continue to watch these kinds of things happen.

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