How deeply you live in the Baylor Bubble determines whether or not you recognize this name, or feel anything associated with it.
For those who don’t know, the name belongs to a particularly troubled former Los Angeles Police Department officer. With a frightening arsenal of weapons and military experience, he recently pledged to wage a war on the officers of the LAPD, on-duty or off.
He lived as a fugitive for nearly a week.
Sought in connection with the deaths of four people, Dorner is now dead. His body was burned beyond recognition during his final stand against those he waged war against.
Two of the victims were engaged to each other, and the other two had wives and children. These were four real people, with real lives, whose violent deaths will impact their communities and families for years to come.
Unlike the plots of my favorite crime dramas, this case leaves me with far more questions than answers.
The biggest question in my mind is what do we do with the words he left behind?
“No more Virginia Tech, Columbine HS, Wisconsin temple, Aurora theatre, Portland malls, Tucson rally, Newtown Sandy Hook” and “America, you will realize today and tomorrow that this world is made up of all human beings who have the same general needs and wants in life for themselves, their kin, community and state. That is the freedom to LIVE and LOVE. They may eat different foods, enjoy different music, have different dialects or speak a second language, but in essence are no different from you and I.”
These are the quotes taken directly from the long Facebook post referred to as Dorner’s “manifesto.”
They aren’t exactly the words that I imagined when I heard the phrase “cop-killer at large.”
The majority of news reports describe Dorner’s manifesto as “rambling,” but it seems to me that the messages that he was trying to get across are clear, even remarkably so.
In the manifesto, Dorner names specific instances of corruption from the officers of the LAPD and the specific circumstances surrounding his — in his mind, wrongful — termination from the LAPD.
He lists the names of people whom he felt mistreated him and thanks those who showed him kindness.
In one part of his manifesto, he said, “I am an American by choice, I am a son, I am a brother, I am a military service member, I am a man who has lost complete faith in the system, when the system betrayed, slandered and libeled me.”
In his manifesto, Dorner goes into details about a culture of violence, racism and corruption within the LAPD. He wrote that the drastic measures he would take would be the only way to bring the issues to the forefront.
Sadly, he believed that violence would be the only way to draw adequate national attention to those issues.
“I am here to change and make policy,” his writings said. “The culture of LAPD versus the community and honest/good officers needs to and will change.”
Let’s be realistic for a second.
I’m a student journalist writing for a student newspaper. This is not my big scoop and the Lariat is not sending me to Los Angeles to ask hard-hitting questions or blow the supposed corruption in the LAPD wide open.
I haven’t been to Los Angeles.
I don’t know Dorner, any LAPD officers or the families of Dorner’s victims.
I only have a few questions that I put forward to you, the readers.
Was Dorner right that Americans only move to enact social change in response to violence?
What do we conclude when the words of a man calling for better gun control are supported by his use of gun violence and the ease of which he accumulated his automatic firearms and silencers?
Why is the LAPD only re-opening the case surrounding his dismissal after his death?
How do we treat the words of a violent killer who is asking for a better world?
Josh Day is a sophomore journalism major from Melissa. He is a reporter of the Lariat.