Since Chris Dorner posted his manifesto of grievances and murdered four people in his quest to “clear his name”, some in the public, including the media have given him an undeserved folk hero status. The thought process seems to be that since the LAPD has a history of racism, the actions he took to make the department “pay” are justified, including the murders of people with no ability to influence or control anything that happened to Dorner. It is a very disturbing look into the mindset and lack of moral cohesion among this group of people.
For the sake of argument, let us allow the assumption stand that nothing has changed at the LAPD since the Rodney King incident. Dorner applied and was hired at that agency to begin his training in 2006, filing a complaint against two trainees for “ethnic remarks”, with one being cleared of wrongdoing. In other words, one of them was found to have made a slur and dealt with, which means his complaint was not ignored. Further, this “racist” organization hired him.
After serving 4 months, he was called into active duty from his Navy reservist status to serve over in Iraq, then returned to the LAPD into probationary field training status. The question I have is if he felt that the culture of the LAPD was racist, why did he return? This is the first of many options Chris Dorner could have taken to change the trajectory of what happened. The LAPD is not the only law enforcement agency to work for in that area.
Next, his training officer found him crying in the patrol car, where he requested to be taken back to the station. He admitted to an investigator that he had been having issues after his deployment and asked for restoration training especially for officers returning from deployments, which he completed. This is the second option presented to Dorner to change the trajectory of events. When he perceived things going wrong at the department, there were ostensibly other vets there to utilize as a support system, something that the restoration training most likely recommended.
Then there was the arrest of the homeless, mentally ill man, in which Dorner accused his training officer of brutally kicking on July 28, 2007. Rather than immediately requesting a supervisor, any sort of documentation of the incident or obtaining witnesses identities contemporaneously to the event, he waited until August 10, 2007 to report it. Interestingly enough, according to court documents in his case, the complaint was filed after his training officer expressed concerns over his performance on patrol duties in a review on August 4, 2007. Coincidental? Perhaps.
This incident and how it was handled is significant because of his education and experience in the military, as well as his educational experiences in college. By all accounts, he was intelligent, articulate and in most aspects well disciplined. He had friends in civilian and military, as well as law enforcement circles, in other words, a support group. Even if all of his allegations were true, there were avenues to pursue outside of the department culture, that could have revealed the accusations of racism and brutality that did not lead to murdering innocent people. Surely he could have received support from the ACLU, the NAACP and a whole host of other advocacy groups. If not, why?
Chris Dorner had a long list of people he wanted to wreak vengeance upon, did any of those people end up on the list of those he murdered? The question that needs to be asked of those who consider Dorner a “folk hero” is what did Monica Quan, a young, up and coming basketball coach and Keith Lawrence, an African American, Quan’s fiancé, another basketball aficionado and law enforcement hopeful have to do with how Chris Dorner was treated. They both had bright, hopeful futures ahead that Dorner unjustly stole from them. The quote from Dorner’s manifesto stating that because he “never had an opportunity to have a family of my own, I’m terminating yours,” speaks volumes about him displaying the same sort of barbaric mentality he’s supposedly fighting against.
Let’s look at Dorner’s third victim, Michael Crain. He was a Riverside police officer with a trainee in the squad car with him when Dorner pulled up alongside their vehicle in Riverside, shooting into their vehicle. Neither Officer Crain nor his trainee who was seriously wounded had any control over what happened to Dorner, nor had they had any previous contact with him. Officer Crain was a Marine who’d served two tours in Kuwait, had a family he loved, including a daughter he attended dance recitals with and a son, whose baseball team he coached. To those who think Dorner’s actions were justified, where is the outrage over the injustice for these people who did nothing wrong and had never harmed Dorner?
In his manifesto, Dorner gives high minded quotes and noble sentiments that have apparently distracted far too many from the barbaric, brutal and unjust actions that Dorner took. When looking over his educational opportunities, his employment opportunities in the military and the LAPD and the support he did not avail himself of, in spite of the high minded values he espoused, in the end, he was a quitter and a coward. Rather than persevering through obstacles so many have faced and overcome in life, he embraced the same sort of hatred he said he was fighting against. Rather than being a hero, he is in fact an example of failure. Rather than forging a solution, he was part of the problem and so are those who consider his actions justified.
In the ashes of his life, rather than leaving a legacy like Martin Luther King, Jr. worked towards, he is merely another inmate in a prison of his own making spreading hatred and misery, failing to examine his own contribution to the hatred in the world around him. He, like so many others blinded by hatred and a victim mentality, forget there are people all around him from all walks of life, who have faced their own demons, working to make things better in the world.
The bitter irony is that in his blind hatred, he murdered four of those people. His actions reveal that he is no different than the evil people who abused their badges at LAPD, justified murdering millions of Jews, lynched African Americans and whites that were on the front lines alongside them or those who shot the 15 year old Pakistani girl for wanting an education for girls. Instead of correcting injustice and evil, he became a perpetrator of injustice and evil. Instead of helping the cause of those working to improve the LAPD, he has placed yet another obstacle to be overcome and there are no excuses in the cold light of the aftermath.
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Juli Adcock began her career in law enforcement with the Escambia County Florida Sheriff’s Office as a patrol deputy until she was injured in a riot situation. She transferred to Judicial Security and retired in 1998. Juli pursued career advancement training with an emphasis on officer survival, interviews and interrogation. She worked with a local Rape Crisis Center and in victim’s advocacy, complementing her college course work in psychology. She currently resides in New Mexico and is an instructor with The Appleseed Project (www.appleseedinfo.org). The Appleseed Project is a rifle marksmanship clinic teaching the fundamentals of firing an accurate round downrange every 3 to 4 seconds, out to 500 yards, as well as American history. She has trained military personnel at White Sands Missile Range who are certifying as Squad Designated Marksmen. Juli instructs basic handgun skills to new gun owners in preparation for responsible personal gun ownership. She also writes for The Badge Guys (www.thebadgeguys.com). She can be reached at [email protected] or through Law Enforcement Today