“At last Don Quixote’s end came, after he had received all the sacraments, and had in full and forcible terms expressed his detestation of books of chivalry.”
(Miguel de Cervantes, from “Don Quixote” c1615.)
In amongst the charred remains of what was once a cabin in Big Bear, lay the body of a murderer. That murderer was once an honorable man, who served his country with dignity in the U.S. Naval Reserve, and dreamed of joining one of the most high-profile law enforcement organisations in America; the LAPD. Christopher Dorner realised that dream, but then his dream turned into a personal nightmare.
Christopher Dorner, in the process of performing his duties, was confronted with difficult choices. One of these choices brought him up against something that he wasn’t prepared for; the “blue line”. It’s an unspoken, undocumented line that officers dare not cross in their interactions with each other. Chris Dorner however, later stated in his “manifesto” that what he witnessed forced him to step perilously but purposefully over that line, in an effort to keep other officers honest. (1) As a result, Chris Dorner’s life and career were turned on their ear by the very same organisation that he had dreamed of being a part of, and Christopher Dorner…was driven over the edge.
Dorner was terminated from the Los Angeles Police Department in 2008, and pursued a five-year battle within the system to try to get his termination overturned, being represented by retired LAPD officer Randall Quan. This process proved unsuccessful, and in the end, something in Chris Dorner snapped. His answer to the “blue line” would now be to draw his own line, where lives would become collateral, vendettas would be outlined, and plans would be made for all-out, “asymmetrical” warfare on the police force that he had once revered.
In the days following Dorner’s posting of his manifesto on the internet, three people would lose their lives, and another two would be injured. Randall Quan’s daughter Monica, and her fiance Keith Lawrence were shot and killed in Irvine, one officer in Corona was injured, and two Riverside officers were also fired upon by Dorner, one fatally.(2)
Law enforcement caught up with Chris Dorner on Tuesday, February 12th at a cabin in Big Bear where, after officers fired incendiary devices into the structure, (3) Christopher Dorner, once a decorated veteran and aspiring LAPD officer, and now a hunted fugitive from justice, met his maker. (4)
can·on·ise: transitive verb /ˈka-nə-ˌnīz/
1. Treat as a sacred person.
2. Declare to be a saint.
de·mon·ise: transitive verb /ˈdē-mə-ˌnīz/
1. To represent as evil or diabolic.
2. To mark out or describe as evil or culpable.
[SOAPBOX=ON] Did Christopher Dorner actually “meet his maker”? What I mean to say, my fine young readers, is who made Christopher Dorner the man he was at the time of his death? Granted, the cheese had slid off of the cracker at the moment in which he claimed his first victim, but what drove him to it? While the recriminations might seem simple, they are in point of fact anything but. Exactly how much culpability are Randall Quan, Teresa Evans and the LAPD willing to accept for what has happened? Should they even be held culpable?
Now, don’t get me wrong here. I am not trying to turn Chris Dorner into some kind of saint, or a “modern-day Robin Hood”. Anyone who would take innocent lives and make terrorist threats against people’s families, especially their children, is a monster. There are however, those on the fringes and on social media sites including Facebook that would view him in this light. (5) (To those people, I would suggest that anyone who would support a murderous traitor to their country, needs to seriously reexamine their own values system!) No, Dorner strikes me more as a twisted, macabre kind of Don Quixote, tilting at the creaking windmills of a police force that indeed, is still in dire need of repair and further reform.
Yes, I’m inclined to agree with Chris Dorner on that point of fact, especially when in the course of hunting for him, officers from the Los Angeles and Torrance police departments opened fire on three innocent people, just because they happened to be driving around in vehicles that resembled Dorner’s! These are a stark reminder of an issue that plagues not only the LAPD, but other large metropolitan police forces as well; a lack of discipline. These two “shoot first, ask questions later” incidences were largely the result of a police force that was, at the time, on the edge. Chris Dorner had placed the entirety of the L.A. basin’s law enforcement community on the defensive, and they in turn had itchy trigger fingers. Something was bound to break, the already brittle rubber band had been stretched, and it was primed to snap…and snap it did, to the detriment of three civilians. (6)
Some will say that it was Chris Dorner’s fault that the three civilians were shot by the police, that had Dorner not gone on his short-lived, one-man war against the police, this wouldn’t have happened. While this may be true to some extent, I would also posit that had the LAPD not held their sacred “blue line” in higher esteem than doing the right things, then Chris Dorner may never have had a cause to lose his marbles in the first place. Those firmly ensconced on the side of law enforcement will continue to point their fingers squarely at Christopher Dorner…while at the same time remaining blissfully unaware, or willfully ignorant of the three other fingers on the same hand, pointing back at themselves.
In the aftermath, the saddest part of it all is that no one will discuss the real issues. The entire episode will fade from the social consciousness, and our society will be no better or worse for the wear. I guess that’s the one word that truly sums up the whole thing; a waste.