I was really hoping he'd give a shout out to my blog in his manifesto, but noooooo...

As you’re probably well aware, I have a whole lot of opinions, and since I have a blog I’m honor bound to talk about them all the time. I know not all of my 9 readers agree with everything I have to say, so I hope my following radical opinion isn’t too much for you:

I think that, as a general rule, you probably should not kill people.

So know that I’m not on Christopher Dorner’s side in all this. I like cops, and even if I didn’t I wouldn’t think it was okay for somebody to go around hunting them and their families like animals. I don’t quite understand how a killing spree lends credibility to your word, or how becoming a murderer to prove you’re not a liar is supposed to restore your good name.

As much as I want Dorner to be caught, though, I’m also just fascinated to see where this goes. It’s like we’re in the second act of an action movie right now. I won’t go so far as to say ‘you can’t make this stuff up’, because you can – right now it’s like we’re in Shooter meets Serpico meets Law Abiding Citizen – but I never expected life to copy art so closely.

A strong, charismatic soldier and cop who joins the LAPD to do good but is kicked out and has his life ruined by a (supposedly) corrupt system turns his skills against his former masters in a suicide mission of revenge. I cannot wait until two and a half years from now when the book somebody writes about this is made into a movie with LL Cool J and William H. Macy.

I think one of the reasons it’s easy to catch yourself pseudo-rooting for Dorner is because he seems like such a nice guy once you forget about the fact that he’s a murdering psychopath. In almost every picture of him on the news he’s wearing a military uniform and smiling warmly – a combination that’s certain to win you a lot of fans in America.

Compare that to the pictures of other murderers – James Holmes with his glassy eyes and orange hair and Lee Harvey Oswald posing awkwardly with a rifle in his backyard looked like the grown up versions of the weird-smelling kid who lived on a farm and got fleas from his dog in 4th grade. Dorner, from his charismatic smile to his support for various progressive causes (and love of The Hangover) seems like the sort of guy you’d want to hang out with if he wasn’t busy ambushing public servants and their families with an assault rifle.

Because ultimately, I think a lot of people believe his allegations about a culture of brutality and corruption within the LAPD. I’m of the belief that most cops are generally honest, hardworking people trying to serve justice in a system that is frequently broken and unfair, but I’ll also admit that I don’t think an organization as big as the Los Angeles Police Department could change a 50 year history of racism and corruption in one fell swoop. From what I’ve heard, I would assume that some divisions are more corrupt than others, and Dorner was in one of those divisions.

What I find so frighteningly satisfying about this is that in some regard Dorner is doing what we all wish we could do. Right now pretty much everyone in America thinks that the system is broken, unfair, and corrupt – we hate our elected representatives more than we hate Chris Brown and the Department of Justice apparently considers freedom of information activists and state-licensed marijuana growers more worthy of prosecution than the people who destroyed the world’s economy.
And here in the middle of that – when the people running the system can’t even agree on whether our country should pay its bills on time or not – is a man who was wronged by a broken, unfair system and decided to violently fight against it. The Michigan Militia has probably been collectively jerking off to this story for three straight days.

A lot of folks on the Internet have been jerking off to the story too – white suburban 15 year olds on Reddit have begun to hold him up as some sort of folk hero, and I’ve read that some Internet supporters have taken to calling in false sightings to the LAPD in order to take the heat off of him, while a group of civilly-disobedient ex-Marines have publicly offered him shelter.  

When you forget that he shot a newly engaged couple because one of them had committed the cardinal sin of being related to one of his enemies, or that he’s carried out his vendetta against the Los Angeles Police Department by shooting cops from the Torrance Police Department and Riverside Police Department who have zero connection to his case, I guess it’s easy to see him as a modern day Robin Hood.

But while his actions are reprehensible, they’ve also succeeded in restarting the conversation about corruption, brutality, and racism in the LAPD – by which I mean starting the conversation among celebrities and rich people who make campaign contributions instead of just the Latinos and African Americans in low income areas who have been having this conversation for years.

Dorner’s surprisingly detailed and sourced allegations, as well as the LAPD’s decision to bravely shoot up two neighborhoods while searching for him, have brought the department under intense public scrutiny. The police brutality case that resulted in Dorner’s dismissal has been reopened, and the victims of the mistaken identity shootings are about to make it rain lawsuits.

So just over a week into his rampage, Dorner has achieved at least one of his goals – he’s begun to reform a corrupt institution by holding up its shortcomings for the world to see. That’s good.

You know what would be better? If we could find a way hold the authorities accountable without having to shoot a bunch of people.

Truman Capps hopes for a swift resolution to this manhunt, because his apartment is getting buzzed by something like four police choppers a night.