It is hard to remember worse coverage of a catastrophe than what we are given about the ex-cop Christopher Dorner’s murdering rampage. Some reprehensible pundits, ever so easily, fall into blaming LAPD and its “history of racism,” in a sorta, kinda contextualizing of Dorner’s brutal killing of innocents by the specter of Rodney King. But even a cursory reading of Dorner’s Unabomber-like manifesto reveals, aside from jibberish, incoherence, and narcissism, racial stereotyping and anger directed against Latinos and Asians — cf. his first victims — as much as, or more than, against whites, and even a dose of anger about lesbian officers. Further disinterested reading would not lead to any suggestion that Dorner might have had legitimate grievances, but rather raises the question of how someone so unhinged was hired as a policeman in the first place.
As far as law enforcement in Southern California goes, it has so far not fared well. There have been both shoot-from-the-hip, trigger-happy violent encounters with innocents who hardly fit Dorner’s description, and the inexplicable and loud decision by LAPD chief Charles Beck to reopen Dorner’s file, de facto legitimizing a murderer’s horrific means to his selfish end. Posting a $1 million reward is understandable, but its vague conditions may have unforeseen Wild West consequences and bring a lot of freelancing bounty hunters out of the woodwork. This entire episode is proving to be not just about horrific violence and the tragic loss of innocent lives, but about some equally horrific strains within contemporary society in general and Southern California in particular.