After six bloody days in which four people were killed, former Los Angeles Police Department officer and accused murderer Christopher Jordan Dorner’s body burned in a cabin in Big Bear.
It’s quite difficult to pick just one insane moment from his murderous rampage: Was it his merciless killing of an LAPD officer’s daughter and her fiancee, a USC Dept. of Public Safety officer? Or was it his manifesto sent to several news outlets “explaining” his actions? Perhaps it was the elusive manhunt through the mountains that ended in an epic gunfight?
No, in the ongoing controversy over Dorner, the only thing crazier than his siege on Southern California is the support that he has garnered from citizens in the days since his death. Whatever their reasons for supporting Dorner, the people involved in the pro-Dorner movement need to re-evaluate what is actually irrational support for a murderer.
Dorner claimed that his actions were the result of mistreatment and corruption from within the LAPD, and his supporters have risen behind a man they believe was fighting for his rights.
A Saturday protest in front of LAPD headquarters was organized through a Facebook page named “I support Christopher Jordan Dorner.” Protesters have voiced their opposition toward police misconduct and corruption, as well as the way police went about their search for Dorner that ended in the disgruntled ex-cop’s death. The Facebook page clarifies that it is not about “supporting the killing of innocent people.” This is interesting logic, though, considering the man they were so vocally supporting obviously killed innocent people. Such thinking is similar to someone saying that they support Osama bin Laden because they disagree with U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East or potential corruption in the Bush administration.
Dorner’s lengthy manifesto, aside from making terrorist threats toward L.A. police officers and their families, condemns the LAPD for corruption, racism and police misconduct. Though his manifesto might have some valid points, there are examples of corruption in nearly every other bureaucratic institution in America. And though the manifesto might shed light on the continued need for systems of oversight to combat such corruption, this should not overshadow the positive things that the LAPD does for this city. Just because there are a few rogue cops does not mean that all police officers are inherently corrupt; most police officers are honorable men and women putting their lives on the line out of a desire to protect civilians as best they can.
Another point that Dorner supporters make is that Dorner’s death resulted from unconstitutional police tactics. Police shot two individuals mistaken for Dorner, for example. Though this is not OK and the officers involved should absolutely be investigated, it does not provide any legitimate foundation for supporting Dorner.
Additionally, a participant in Saturday’s protest said that the police acted as “the judge, the jury and the executioner” in their final standoff with Dorner.
Putting aside the fact that Dorner actually killed himself with one of his many guns, he implicitly waived his right to trial by jury when he shot at the authorities calling for his surrender. Not only had Dorner made terrorist threats and stockpiled military-grade assault weapons, but he shot at police during that siege, wounding one and killing another. There should be no question that had Dorner exited that cabin peacefully, unarmed and with his hands in the air, he would have received his fair trial.
Sure, the circumstances surrounding Dorner’s firing from the LAPD are unclear and might warrant further scrutiny, but nothing — not even an unfair termination of employment — can justify the murders of dedicated public servants and their innocent family members.
Misdirecting their ire toward the people trying to protect them from criminals like Dorner is the wrong route for protesters to take; instead, they should encourage police oversight while also wholly condemning the unjustifiable actions of a cold-blooded killer.
Treating Dorner as a sort of hero is ludicrous and an embarrassing result of the moral relativism that is at the root of so many of society’s ills. Dorner was far from a hero, and he immediately delegitimized himself as a moral or rational individual when he started taking innocent lives. He was just a mentally disturbed, angry ex-cop who acted with evil intent and should be remembered as such.
Sarah Cueva is a junior majoring in Middle East studies and political science. Her column “Homeland” runs Wednesdays.