It is likely that in the grand scheme of things, this tragic chain of events related to the alleged shooting spree and killings by ex-LAPD cop Christopher Jordan Dorner, will end soon enough when he is either killed or captured.
However, nobody can deny that his motivation for resorting to violence, as written in his manifesto, has touched a nerve in the country, as many of the allegations he makes not only ring true (to many), but help inflame the thus-far quite rage people feel in the face of not only rampant corruption, oppression, and impunity by a ruling elite that has become untouchable (beyond the reach of the law), but to widespread police brutality.
Before I go on to make my main point, I want to be clear about the fact that I don't condone violence and that I'm very sorry for the people who have lost their lives in this tragic situation.
Also, I'm not here to argue whether Dorner is sane or insane, nor to defend his actions in any way. I'm trying to make a larger, more important point.
By now many readers may be familiar with Dorner's allegations of rampant police brutality, racism, sadism, and corruption within the Los Angeles Police Department. He alleges he was fired for reporting an incident of police brutality perpetrated by a fellow officer against a mentally ill suspect.
In this instance, since I don't have all the facts about his allegations confirmed, I'm not going to necessarily argue that I take his charges at face value.
However, I'm going to put his allegations into a larger context. From multiple reports about how whistle-blowers are treated around the country, I have come to believe that as a culture of corruption and impunity spreads (instigated by a breakdown of the proper functioning of government because of the control by powerful business cartels), those who try to do the right thing by reporting wrongdoing are punished, both in private industry, and in government.
I (and many others) happen to believe that one of the reasons this happens is because members of the leisure class, in corporate boardrooms, and their lackeys in government, share mutual interests (in controlling and exploiting the population), and because they control the levers of power, they've helped in bringing about a culture of corruption which includes their ability to shield themselves from the consequences of wrongdoing. And this in turn has contributed to their ability to not only punish whistle-blowers severely, but to intimidate and prevent others from coming forward to report corruption, abuse of power, and fraud.
I'm not going to dig out every instance of very tragic and shameful examples of how many whistle-blowers have been mistreated by this (government) administration, some of them having been sent to prison.
I'm not going to dig out every example of the truly horrific, sadistic, abusive and brutal treatment of citizens by not only the Los Angeles Police Department, but by the NYPD and many others around the country. There are plenty of allegations, and reports, and court cases, of people being shot, tortured, and horribly abused by those who are supposed to "protect and serve."
Given the consequences of what was clearly a massive fraud perpetuated by Wall Street criminals under the protection of the government, plunging tens of millions of people around the country into economic despair and a generalized state of apprehension, and anxiety, the populace wonders where is the sense of justice, of equality under the law; people look around, listen, and expect that eventually the rule of law will be respected.
But nothing happens; in fact, things get worst. The ruling class doubles down and not only continues the debauchery and the looting, and the pillaging, but proceeds to construct a legal framework for themselves (basically legalizing crimes), and one increasingly onerous, draconian and punishing for the rest of society.
It is within this (undeniable) reality that an explosion of violence by someone like Dorner touches a collective nerve; a nerve that could at any moment turn the quite rage, anger and despair to another level.
In years past, when I would watch the news about revolutions, and saw people dragging rulers to central plazas to exact people's justice, I could never understand what would lead people to do that. When I read about other revolutions, including the French Revolution, and the Bolshevik Revolution, the whole thing seemed so distant and abstract.
I don't anymore. Now I understand it fully. And that's scary. Some readers may think that I'm some kind of radical, but in reality I'm just an average middle class guy who cares about regular stuff, like taking care of my small business, getting customers, paying bills, taking care of household responsibilities, etc.
And that's why it's scary that now I fully understand and conceptualize the reason why people revolt, violently.
In the face of institutionalized injustice, corruption, economic exploitation, and oppression, the population's rage only grows, day by day, until one day people can't take the abuse any longer, and the rage explodes into the open.
The sad thing is that history teaches us that once a sadistic and tyrannical ruling elite is fully entrenched, they usually become more oppressive, ignoring the clamor for justice from the population.
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.Yes, this nascent tyranny feels emboldened and secured in their belief that by having set up a total-information-awareness police state, an increasingly oppressive legal framework, and by exerting control over the minds of millions of citizens through the ownership of the mainstream media, they will be able to continue the abuse unmolested.
- Frederick Douglass
I pray they would reconsider. I pray that someone, someone within the power structure is able to understand the danger we face if the reign of corruption and impunity does not end.
Revolutions are messy. Tonight we have a revolution of one. Yes, he will be demonized and branded a nut, crazy, deranged. And perhaps he is (I don't know). All I know is that he's touched a nerve, and I'm sure that will become more evident in the days to come as more and more people start asking the same questions he's asking...
I can't even imagine the soul-crushing despair felt by somebody that reports wrongdoing by those in power and are then punished for it. It must be very disorienting. Thus far most whistle-blowers lives are destroyed, crushed by the powerful institutions they take on; some go to prison. If the allegations are true, this one chose a different path.
UPDATE: FRI FEB 08, 2013 AT 8:30 AM PST: Some people in the comments are accusing me of condoning the alleged violence committed by Dorner. Others are upset about the fact that I don't clearly state that he is deranged, a lunatic who is just motivated by blood-lust to kill innocent people randomly. I clearly state in the diary that I don't condone what he did. My point in the diary is self-explanatory: Once a corrupt, brutal and tyrannical ruling class takes over a country and acts with impunity and oppresses the population, eventually that leads to violence. It's not something I'm advocating; it's a historical observation; a truism. The authoritarians among you are more concerned with order than with justice, but again, that's also typical in history. That's how entire societies can descend into brutal fascism. It is the authoritarians and the apologists of corrupt systems that help bring about fascism, by their acquiescence.
UPDATE 2: FRI FEB 08, 2013 AT 10:30 AM PST: I could not write more eloquently than Jbearlaw in my own defense. Here's what he or she wrote in the comments below:
The whole point of a site like this is to engage in discussion, even on topics which are far beyond uncomfortable.
Dorner is not a revolutionary; but Ray is not saying Dorner is a revolutionary. He's pointing out that some of the things that Dorner said, and some of the circumstances surrounding his actions, are (or should be) cause for thought about how close we are, as a society, to abandoning the rule of law, and what the consequences of abandoning the rule of law means for us, as a society. Unfortunately, a society which abandons the rule of law looks a lot like what's going on between Dorner and the LAPD -- settlement of grievances by violence, revenge-killings, even "corruption of blood."
I remember when I was sworn in, the Judge who swore me in brought an old revolver into the court, and held it up to the entire group of us, and told us to always be proud to be attorneys, and to never forget that we serve an important role in society, because "This is how people used to resolve their disputes" before there was an operating court system in the state.
Dorner is embarked on a revenge-killing spree, nothing more or less. His actions demonstrate what happens when the rule of law breaks down, i.e., what happens when people "take the law into their own hands." He's a murderer, and he should be locked up for life, just like Charles Manson. Just like Manson, his horrific actions demonstrate how thin the veil of civilization is, how quickly and easily that veil can be torn asunder, or, in wider instances, ripped off completely.
When Ray compares Dorner's actions to the actions of our government's drone program, or to the even more egregious acts of financial destruction and, yes, violence*, committed by what we sometimes refer to as "the Banksters," I see him pointing out how thin the veil of civilization is, and drawing our attention to the many ways in which that veil is under assault.
I would argue that such has always been the case, and likely always will be. "Lord of the Flies," "The Thin Red Line," "In Cold Blood," "Moby Dick," the list of literary examinations of this brutal truth is nearly endless. When Ray says that Dorner's actions, and his manifesto, "strike a chord," he's making an observation that has been made many times before, by some of our greatest poets and thinkers --Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them:
--only Ray's making the observation in a context where we are unused to doing so, in the context of real world events, as they are happening. Not something that should be HR'd, even if you believe it was inelegantly done.
(*Just to make the point about violence clear: how many families have been broken by this bankster-caused recession, how many suicides, how many instances of domestic violence, etc.? We'll never know the toll, but financial pressure like this has consequences, and those who built this fraudulent system have to know that, and they did it anyway.)