Renegade Cop

You have probably read or heard about the ex-cop Christopher Dorner who killed three people on his way to a mountain cabin where he was surrounded, killed a deputy sheriff, and then apparently shot himself before the cabin burned to the ground. All reports indicate that the man had anger issues and his dismissal from the LAPD was apparently the last straw that turned him against the very laws he had supported for years. He has become something of a cult hero, as we learn from articles like the following:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dozens of protesters rallied outside Los Angeles police headquarters Saturday in support of Christopher Dorner, the former LAPD officer and suspected killer of four who died after a shootout and fire this week at a mountain cabin following one of the biggest manhunts in recent memory. . . .

The 33-year-old has already inspired a burgeoning subculture of followers. While most don’t condone killing, they see him as an outlaw hero who raged against powerful forces of authority, and some even question whether he really died.

There’s already a song about him! We really are desperate for heroes so the fact that a man like Dorner would emerge from this terrible incident as an “outlaw hero” is not all that surprising, I suppose. For one thing, we all feel oppressed from time to time by those in authority who would insist that we do things their way. As Dostoevsky would have it, we all, perhaps, want to “assert our independence, to go against social conventions, against the despotism of relatives and family.” It is a natural, human impulse to want to resist those who would thwart our will: just ask any mother of an adolescent child. But as we grow older we are supposed to become accustomed to authority, learn to accommodate ourselves to others, and recognize laws and constraints as necessary for us to get along with one another. Or perhaps we do not grow up! It does seem at times that this culture worships youth and does everything in its power to hang on to youth well into old age. Just take a peek at the AARP magazine sometime and check out the ads that promote products that promise to help people look and feel younger!

We find men of all ages in locker rooms across the country slapping each other on the backs, snapping towels, and telling dirty jokes — just like high school. College is regarded by the majority of its students as a time to have fun, not to grow into responsible, well-informed adults. Immediate gratification is the order of the day. Postponing gratification is the sign of maturity. And we can see from the level at which the commercials on TV are directed that marketers clearly think they are selling their products to eighth graders. Perhaps they are.

In any event, when a cult forms around a man who went berserk and shot three innocent people in imitation of Rambo (as he himself is reported to have said), then we need to stop and wonder where we have come in our resistance to legitimate authority and adulation of those who openly flaunt it at the expense of innocent lives. There was something clearly wrong in the workings of Dorner’s mind that led him on his rampage. But there might also be something wrong in the workings of the minds of those who would place him on a pedestal and think that this man was in any way admirable. We really do need to be careful whom we revere as heroes. I seriously doubt that the man could walk on water, feed the multitudes with a few loaves and a couple of fish, or emerge alive from a cabin engulfed in flames and surrounded by law enforcers.

14 thoughts on “Renegade Cop

  1. Thanks for writing this. I have a hard time elevating someone who went after innocent family members. I would want to ask the people who are making him an anti-hero if he came after your daughter or son because he felt mistreated by you, then how would you feel? I am not saying he was not mistreated on the job as none of us know the details, but no one deserves to die for that kind of transgression, especially those who had nothing to do with it. Good post, BTG

  2. I am not so quick to judge Dorner. We’ve heard the police side of the story, but very little of his side, other than what the officials have told us, mostly in defense of their positions and aggressive behavior. You do recall reading of the two Latino women delivering newspapers who were shot by the police just because they were driving a similar truck as his?

    Just as I don’t condone his alleged killings, I don’t condone the focus by the police solely on killing Dorner. In too many cases these days, we are all too willing to believe the “official” story, swallowing it whole, without the healthy dose of skepticism we should exhibit at times like these.

    If the public had shown the skepticism it should have, perhaps we would not have been so quick to invade Iraq and Afghanistan, just because the “official” story said we should.

    Thanks for sharing your blog.

    • Yes. I am also a bit skeptical — as I suggested in another comment. There’s almost certainly another side to this story. I did read that the police were told to try to take him alive.


      • And yet they were so quick to draw their guns and shoot those two women whose “crime” was driving the wrong kind of truck. There most certainly is more to this story, time will tell if we ever hear it. Thanks for writing

      • There is an older Japanese business technique called “The 5 Why’s.” In order to really get to the bottom of a problem or what’s really behind an issue, ask “why” 5 times and you will ultimately get there. We’ve only heard the response to the first “why.”

      • There was a news piece today that there were a total of 102 bullet holes in the truck and neighboring buildings and trees fired at those two women who were delivering newspapers in the area. 102 bullets against two, aged and unarmed women. I believe there was an unwritten order to shoot to kill, that killing him was the mindset of the police, and in this case, the mob rule was rampant in the ranks of the police. There is no justifiable reason for this behavior by the police.

  3. This is a scary line in that AP story: “While MOST [emphasis mine] don’t condone killing, they see him as an outlaw hero who raged against powerful forces of authority, and some even question whether he really died.”

  4. While I agree with your comments, my reporter instincts say that Dorner indeed may have been treated badly by the LAPD. If you get crossways with the brass, your career does not flourish. However, settling things with ambush killings invites the very treatment he got.

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