Image Source: Washington Times.
The manhunt for ex-LAPD cop Christopher Dorner intensifies. He allegedly killed the daughter of a former LAPD police captain, her fiance on 3 February 2013 and Riverside Officer Michael Crain last Thurday, 7 February 2013. The case is also spawning a very strange Internet phenomenon, with opposing Cyber-sides mirroring a profound moral confusion about rightful authority.
"Murdered: Monica Quan (right) and her fiance Keith Lawrence (left) were shot to death in their car outside their home in Irvine. Miss Quan was the daughter of the LAPD police captain who represented Dorner when he was fired." Image Source: Daily Mail.
The LAPD placed a $1 million bounty on Dorner's head and they are using a military drone to hunt him - a bizarre first in American history. The story started with a 2007 professional altercation in the LAPD, which moved from Internal Affairs into the courts, and ended with this internationally-watched shit storm. The story gets weirder and weirder. Hollywood star Charlie Sheen has stepped forward to mediate ...
Dorner. Image Source: Daily Mail.
Dorner, once honoured as a navy hero who found $8,000 of lost church money and handed it in, is equally well known for previous professional accolades and for his marksmanship. His manifesto is posted here, including some of the LAPD proceedings that led to his dismissal; the document was oddly published in two parts; the first part appeared on Dorner's Facebook page, the second part apparently did not, prompting conspiracy theorists to challenge the authorship of the second part.
The first part reads differently from the second. The first part details Dorner's problems at the LAPD, in which he accuses the department of endemic racism, expressed in an atmosphere of ironic political correctness. He argues that the officers involved in the Rodney King scandal from the 1990s have been promoted to positions of authority. He also claims he saw the "most vile things humans can inflict on others," not on the streets of Los Angeles, but inside the Los Angeles Police Department. He accuses officers of being callous and inhumane, perceiving dead victims at crime scenes merely as blocks of overtime pay, whose gruesome photos they trade, and whose deaths they translate directly into time, spent as extra money: "ATVs, Waverunners, RV's and new clothes for their kids."
This statement has appealed to anti-authority cultists on the Web, who equate suspicion and rejection of authority with liberty and a new moral code. The LAPD's critics claim Dorner's comments about the Los Angeles police force have some substance, although they of course agree that his murderous response is horrific. In his manifesto, Dorner turns on a dime from the speech of administrative complaint to absolute terrifying intention toward his intended victims on the police force:"I am a man who has lost complete faith in the system, when the system betrayed, slandered, and libeled me. ... You're going to see what a whistleblower can do when you take everything from him especially his NAME!!!"
Profilers claim that Dorner is a narcissist, that this is not about problems in the LAPD (founded or not), but rather about a personal mythology Dorner concocted in his head about himself. Indeed, Dorner's apologists should consider that declaring the moral bankruptcy of our institutions and professions cannot be justified by killing sprees. To do so is to declare revolution."There will be an element of surprise where you work, live, eat, and sleep. ... I will utilize OSINT to discover your residences, spouses workplaces, and children's schools. ... The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of partriots and tyrants. ... You will now live the life of the prey."
Certainly, the second part of Dorner's manifesto reads like the diary of a narcissist. It is full of inconsistencies, wherein Dormer is in one breath discussing his arms cache, while he supports gun control in the next. He accuses NRA official and gun rights advocate Wayne LaPierre, who worried about the "influence of movies and the media" on an increasingly violent culture, of total hypocrisy. Be that as it may, Dorner feels he has the best solution for LaPierre: "may all your immediate and distant family die horrific deaths in front of you." Yet in a rambling address to celebrities that follows, Dorner betrays his interest in violent cultural media (although most people in contact with popular media today could be said to share the same interest). He enjoins female celebrities he admires never to compromise themselves, professionally or personally - after he thanks "the unnamed women I dated over my lifetime for the great and sometimes not so great sex."
Dorner speaks of suffering from severe depression, two concussions in his youth, racist attacks at school, authority figures who lied to him. It is a strange suicide tract, flip-flopping from laid-back chatter about his favourite celebrities (including Charlie Sheen) and music (Dave Brubeck's Take Five, which prompted a surge of searches on Youtube) to a blood-chilling hope for a notorious church congregation (which was crazily pacifist and homophobic):
The cognitive dissonance inspired by this lunacy - raging (alleged) murderer on the one hand, laid-back guy with opinions about his favourite TV shows on the other - along with possibly real problems inside the LAPD, has created a situation where the police are being cast as villains on the Web."Westboro Baptist Chruch, may you all burn slowly in a fire, not from smoke inhalation, but from the flames and only the flames."
Evil is good. Good is evil. This frightening moral confusion can directly relate to the public's unwillingness, in some quarters, to believe as truth anything except half-truths or untruths. In the midst of this, Dorner is seen by some as a folk hero, by others as a psychopath. Rational and moral confusion go hand in hand.
This moral reversal has been going on for awhile, and is sometimes tangled up with political and generational rhetoric. One of the first books I read that humanized and vindicated a criminal class was S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders (1967), set in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1965.
But the Web really accelerated this process. When people are flooded with online information, they find it difficult to locate authoritative voices which confirm what is truthful and what is not. More worryingly, that lack of authoritative voices makes people seek authority wherever they can find it. This pattern was recognized post 9/11 by marketers through the early 2000s. Conspiracy theories appeared around Dorner within hours of this story breaking on the Internet; theorists believe Dorner is innocent and being framed. Given the spotty history of the LAPD, the theorists can sound like they have a point, even if they do not.
"'Not Chris Dorner, please do not shoot' tee shirts saving the lives of black males across LA." Image Source.
To make matters worse, whatever the truth is about the LAPD, the separate momentum of discussion will create popular judgments which have nothing to do with the reality of this situation; those rhetorical constructs hold sway, regardless of what considered and sober understanding can be achieved of this case.
In his manifesto, Dorner mentioned Anonymous, the hacktivist group sometimes connected to, sometimes wholly disconnected from, WikiLeaks. Dorner writes:
And Anonymous responded on 11 February 2013 with a predictable sentiment:"Anonymous, you are hated vilified, and considered an enemy to the state. I personally view you as a culture and a necessity that brings truth to a cloaked world."
As national headlines regarding the vigilante acts of former LAPD officer Christopher Jordan Dorner continue to intensify, we have decided amongst ourselves to pursue an appropriate recourse.
And so we watched with dread and utter hilarity as the LAPD began to pursue this man.
However the department has proven once more that it is incapable of serving the public, look no further than to the women who became LAPD’s most recent victims. The two were shot without warning and were not even given the chance to surrender simply because LAPD thinks they are above the law.
No one is above the law.
In coordination with federal authorities, the LAPD is now conducting a massive manhunt for The Dark Knight Christopher Dorner, so that they may effectively silence him forever without due process.
And now since the authorization of drones have been approved for the first time ever to pursue and execute an American citizen on United States Soil, the US Government will stage this event to set a new precedent from which it can assassinate American citizens for little to no reason at all.
But do not misinterpret us for we do not condone the vicious acts that Dorner has allegedly partaken in. Instead we sympathize and resonate with his struggle. Dorner was not born a killer he was a law abiding citizen that was tainted by the corrupt and inhumane practices of the Los Angeles Police Department who serve only themselves.
We however do not accept this fate, and call upon our brothers to raise arms against the LAPD, for justice and for the lulz we will rise to disrupt, dismantle and dissect all aspects of the manhunt whilst revealing the LAPD’s unwarranted hypocrisy.
We are hated, vilified, and like Dorner, considered to be enemies to the state. But there are those who whisper that we are culture and a necessity that bring truth to a cloaked world. In this spirit we will forge ahead and allow #OperationDorner to commence!"
Image Source: Twitter via LA Times.
Does this mean Anonymous intends to hack (or has hacked) the LAPD? And if so, what will they find? And if they publish documents, will those documents be real? Who are Anonymous, again? Debates on the Internet should be treated with increasing caution. The Web is a seductive mistress, posing as a bastion of unfettered liberty; however, Julian Assange recently maintained that it holds the sinister potential for becoming a seat of twisted tyranny. Should we take his word for it? The problem is that Netizens can barely recognize true information as such, and therefore increasingly cannot distinguish between freedom and oppression.
Dormer needs to be placed in custody without being killed. He also may have information he wants leaked; we will leak it if he desires.
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) February 8, 2013
(Hat tip: Softpedia.)
Addendum: A second former LAPD officer has apparently posted another manifesto, here. (11 February 2013).