On Wednesday, CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill seemed to defend the actions of cop killer and fugitive Christopher Dorner, who has since been killed by police after gunning down four victims.
“This has been an important public conversation that we’ve had, about police brutality, about police corruption, about state violence,” Hill said during a CNN segment about the burgeoning online support for Dorner. “As far as Dorner himself goes, he’s been like a real life superhero to many people,” Hill said. “Now don’t get me wrong, what he did is awful, killing innocent people is bad…Many people aren’t rooting for him to kill innocent people, they’re rooting for somebody who was wronged to get a kind of revenge against the system. It’s almost like watching Django Unchained in real life, it’s kind of exciting.”
The clip was immediately put on YouTube by conservative site Townhall, earning widespread derision, but Hill is certainly not the only one to hold these kinds of views.
Online support for Dorner in the days since his rampage has crept out of the internet’s more extreme corners — where such perverse boosterism is commonplace — and into more mainstream venues. Dorner is now hailed as a kind of folk hero by some on the Chomsky-esque left and the Ron Paul right, who view the killer’s manifesto as an articulate indictment of the “police state” they have always opposed.
“This story has a lot of moving parts, thanks in large part to Dorner’s long manifesto,” said J.M. Berger, a journalist and expert on domestic extremism. “With the fragmentation of the media these days, people are more prone to selection bias — they pull out the parts of a story that resonate with them and ignore the parts they don’t like. This is really a common practice among extremists, but it’s creeping into the mainstream more and more.”
“The LAPD’s troubled history and continued bad reputation are also big factors here,” Berger said. “I think it’s difficult for a lot of people to root for the LAPD under any circumstances. But you really have to ignore big parts of Dorner’s story in order to cast him as Dirty Harry or Rambo, as many people have. Dirty Harry didn’t kill the daughters of people who got on his wrong side.”
Groups dedicated to Dorner on Facebook range from “We Support Christopher Dorner” to “We Are All Chris Dorner” to “Teamdorner” and others. The #DornerGang hashtag is alive and well on Twitter, as are multiple fever-swamp conspiracy theories about the circumstances of Dorner’s crimes and death.
And while many of the usual suspects — Alex Jones’ websites, for one — are trading in these, the pro-Dorner sentiment is leaking into slightly more well-respected venues.
Alternet, the leftist online magazine, ran a story by Chauncey DeVega arguing that Dorner could “be transformed through popular culture and storytelling into a figure talked about for decades and centuries to come, with multiple versions of his tales and exploits, shaped by the griots and bards for their respective audiences.”
“Christopher Dorner dared to tell his version of the truth regarding the LAPD’s history of corruption and racism,” DeVega writes. “They do not like tattle tales and ‘snitches.’ Dorner was a particularly noxious threat to the status quo both because of his violent actions, as well as the symbolic power of his words and deeds.”
Salon’s Natasha Lennard has written a couple of stories sympathetic to Dorner (“Ex-cops sympathize with Dorner’s anger,” “Were Dorner’s complaints legitimate?”). Vice, in a story about whether or not Anonymous will retaliate after Dorner’s death, implicitly compared Dorner to anti-establishment heroes like Bradley Manning and Aaron Swartz, while acknowledging that “a murderous ex-cop is a lot harder to defend than these nonviolent liberators of information.”
Berger predicts that the fevered interest in Dorner will die down soon, unless his remains aren’t positively identified:
“At this point, with Dorner’s death, some of the momentum is going to die out on this story, at least it will if they make a positive DNA identification of his remains. If they can’t do that, I suspect this will take on a D.B. Cooper quality.”
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you know why dorner was such a hit? because of his manifesto…the LAPD is the only municipal police organization in the history of the USA to be found liable for RICO investigation and prosecution. the LAPD is hardly your average “business”. dorner represented to the american people the little guy fighting back…and who is to say that those people he killed were innocent of anything? corruption is like rot; if one apple is rotten…as the saying goes. he exemplifies what america is about: standing up against the criminal powerful & exercising liberty, freedom, the OBLIGATION (read your copies of the declaration again, boys and girls) to take a stand against tyrannical governments…not the right, not the freedom to, but the OBLIGATION to. for all you lazy americans with no connection to the declaration of independence, you are whats going to take this country down. not people like dorner.
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This article smears Alex Jones with the Dorner brush when Jones denounced Dorner many time over as a “mentally ill scumbag”. Furthermore, this article neglects Dorner’s pro CNN, pro Piers Morgan, pro Anderson Cooper and pro Obama philosophy. This article is an example of paid propaganda and Rosie Gray an example of another soul-less individual who trades in libel, spin and distortion for the highest bidder. A prostitute has more decency and honor than her. The criminal banking class who are neck deep in treason and ready for the perp-walk - you’re games don’t work anymore and your future is the perp-walk.
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Whether or not his gripes with the LAPD were legitimate or not, the second he started shooting people to prove a point he proved himself to be worse than the injustices he was railing against. He was sick in the head, and he doesn’t need a fan club. He needed mental health professionals.
I agree with you, so I’m not going to start a new thread. Dorner seems like a guy who just couldn’t roll with the curveballs life threw at him and just snapped. I guess sometimes good guys go bad. I don’t know much about what his personal life was like, but I’m surprised a guy with such severe depression (and probably other issues) didn’t throw up any red flags to friends or family.
The irony of the situation, and what youve clearly failed to recognize yourself, is that if Chris Dorner were still an active duty officer, instead of simply an ex-cop, him killing three people would have resulted in nothing more than a couple of weeks of paid vacation and a verbal reprimand, if anything at all. Police are literally allowed to get away with murder in this country, unless of course they murder their own, then they get more attention than Osama Bin Laden.
Ummm, Superabound, what about the context of those killings? You are oversimplifying and misstating things by about a million degrees. And it sounds like you are using relatively weak arguments to justify killing innocent people. And lastly, police brutality is a real problem, and the entire prison/criminal justice complex needs to be closely examined and problems fixed, but Dorner killing people does not advance that goal, it only delays it.
I’m lost - how does Dorner killing people “only delay” any examination or reform of the prison/criminal justice complex? I’m obviously not advocating killing people or Dorner’s actions, but one thing that has come out of this, to my surprise, is at least some discussion of the lawlessness and impunity with which many cops in this country operate. And the gargantuan discrepancy with which consequences for the misuse of deadly force are doled out (see: LAPD cops who recklessly shot three innocent people in their search for Dorner getting off with a slap on the wrist). Looks to me that at least issues of police misconduct are being heard, and the fact that so many people have such resentments (in my view justified) against the police is also one that is out there now. I don’t see how this is a “delay.”
Because his actions over the past two weeks, which included shooting innocent people who never wronged him, destroy any credibility the allegations in his manifesto might have otherwise had. The LAPD was right to fire him. He was a bad apple. He was crazy. There will never be a real examination of the reasons why he was fired because his actions in the last two weeks confirm that he should have been fired. His violence also gives the LAPD an explanation to offer to the public in terms of explaining why policing is such stressful and sometimes deadly work. Cops literally risk their lives and get shot at on the job. This reality will be offered as a justification for harsh reactions to other situations (like the shooting up of the other pick up trucks). I am not excusing the LAPD’s conduct, and my only real interaction with them was not a pleasant one, but I don’t think Dorner helps anyone who is seeking a closer examination of police brutality or institutional racism in police departments. Just my two cents though.
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