Signs That The Lunatics Are All Around Us

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Patrick

Patrick is a mid-40 year old geek with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master's degree in Information Systems. Nothing he says here has anything to do with the official position of his employer or any other institution.

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  1. Avatar NewDealer
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    says:

    I remember people saying the same stuff when the newspaper’s printed the Unibomber Manifesto.

    “I don’t think he should be bombing people but he says some reasonable things…”

    I think most people have a strong psychological aversion to killing other people. I remember seeing studies from army psychologists during WWII about how many draftees just did not want to shoot other people. However, we all have the ability to believe crazy things and many people do.

    There was a guy who used to go to my coffeehouse. He seemed reasonable, referred to himself as a political moderate. Not once but twice he let it slip that he believes that the Rothschild (read: Jewish bankers) really do control the world economy. Not that this made him anti-Semitic. He would also tell me that he could never understand why Jews and non-Jews would get upset at him for his opinions on the Rothchild family.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Two people in the Los Angeles area have already been shot by Torrance police who mistook them for Dorner.

    The last thing the Torrance police want is Dorner on the stand.Report

  3. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ve kind of wondered how long before someone snapped & started hunting the police. I’m a little surprised it’s a former cop.

    But only a little.Report

    • That doesn’t surprise me one bit. Not even an atom of me is surprised at that.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Burt Likko
        Ignored
        says:

        I was betting on some poor schmuck who had his home destroyed or family killed in a botched police raid where they were looking for pot on a dubious tip.

        But a cop who tried to do the right thing & got ground up for it wasn’t too low on the list…Report

        • You can be confident that he a) believed he did, or b) he convinced himself that he did, or c) didn’t care that it was right or wrong but is well-trained in attaching pleasing labels to unpleasant facts. None of those not-quite-mutually-exclusive confidences provides strong support for the proposition that what he did was actually right.

          Another thing you can be confident of: his screed is not a fair, unbiased, accurate, and complete recital of the facts and events that led to him getting run off the force.

          I haven’t read his screed. I’m rather unlikely to read it. I’m quite confident that the official version of events is that he was doing the opposite of the right thing, and even if the official version of events is indeed bullshit (I’m not discounting that possibility at all) the fact that he was run off the force at all is a strong indicator that other cops didn’t want him on their side of the thin blue line for some reason.Report

          • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Burt Likko
            Ignored
            says:

            I didn’t read his screed either, but the short of the trigger event is he reported a fellow officer for kicking a helpless suspect & got booted for it. But, you are right:

            “But a cop who believed he tried to do the right thing…”

            The fallout of this will be interesting. Especially if this guy racks up a substantial body count.

            Related: Balko has been doing a Raid of the Day on his blog at Huffington, where he highlights botched raids (his books of the militarization of the police is out in June). This one with the LAPD was highlighted a few days ago.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Burt Likko
        Ignored
        says:

        If you’ve ever seen the terrible 80s horror film Maniac Cop, none of this is surprising.Report

  4. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    You know what they say when they realize an innocent man just had his life turned upside down?. “I guess he should have stayed at home that day he was discovered walking down the street and matching the suspects description.”

    (fm the manifesto in question)

    Well, considering that SoCal cops have already shot up not one, but two completely unrelated pickup trucks … maybe *I* need to revisit things?

    I’m a going on 40 cleanshaven white guy with a military regulation haircut. I don’t have to worry about the cops.Report

  5. Avatar Tod Kelly
    Ignored
    says:

    Look, I’m not saying Jeffery Dahmer didn’t choose some unacceptable methods to underscore his point…Report

  6. Avatar kenB
    Ignored
    says:

    I haven’t read Dorner’s manifesto and I don’t care to, but in general, just because a guy is crazy doesn’t mean that everything he says is ridiculous — he might make perfectly valid observations but just come to a crazy conclusion. I know people like that, though fortunately their crazy conclusions don’t involve killing people.Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to kenB
      Ignored
      says:

      +1

      Just because people do bad things does not mean everything they do is bad. Some people murder, but they may also do good things. Some people molest children, it does not mean they don’t do many good things to make sure they have access to children. I’ve had to struggle with that one mightily. Same goes for institutions. The Catholic Church and BSA and Penn State aided and abetted pedophiles. But they also helped many, many people.

      Both the good and the bad can be true at the same time.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to kenB
      Ignored
      says:

      I don’t have a problem with, “sometimes people who appear crazy have a point about some things”.

      That’s certainly true.

      I just find it deuced odd that the default response isn’t, “Holy crap, I thought this thing and this other guy thought this thing and he’s crazy, maybe I should take a hard look at these things“.

      Instead it’s, “Well, he might have been crazy about some things, but he’s right about… (this thing that I happen to believe)”

      Because that second one says to me, “Hey, I might share some common thoughts with a crazy mofo… but it’s much more acceptable a thought – to me – that the crazy mofo might be right about a couple of things than the thought that I might be wwwwwaaaaay off base.”

      Any time your actions include multiple homicide of people not directly related to your problem, you’re not being “pushed too far”. You’re not being “vilified by the police and the media” because you are “misunderstood” or your “cause is righteous”.

      While reports are early and of course more details will come to light, it seems apparent at this stage that Dorner killed two random police officers on patrol, not because they were or weren’t crooked, but because they were cops and he’s out to kill cops.

      He shot another that was providing security to someone else he threatened to kill.

      His first two victims… the woman that he killed was the daughter of the man for whom he held a grudge, and her fiancee doesn’t appear to have had anything to do with whatever his grievance is.

      That’s not trying to get justice, that’s murdering two innocent people to hurt somebody else.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Patrick Cahalan
        Ignored
        says:

        In general:
        I think you’re tripping up over the idea of the homogeneity of “crazy.”

        In particular:
        I think you called this guy right. But it’s really not that uncommon of a behavioral trait.
        Do you think that maybe someone in your neighborhood might be mean or snotty toward some kid for no other reason than they don’t like the parents?

        Is what he’s doing constructive?
        Not to you or me, mind you. Our opinions don’t factor in on that one.
        It matters if it furthers his ideals.

        But he’s obviously going through some major event.
        His coping skills could use a bit of work.Report

      • Avatar Dan Miller in reply to Patrick Cahalan
        Ignored
        says:

        Why wouldn’t this causality work in reverse–so that if you find yourself sharing some ideas with a crazy person, you would start to think that maybe they were crazy…like a fox.

        For example, Newton was totally right about gravity. Maybe we ought to give alchemy a second look.Report

      • Avatar kenB in reply to Patrick Cahalan
        Ignored
        says:

        I do get where you’re coming from, and frankly I think people generally should do a lot more serious questioning of their beliefs for any reason good or bad; but when you drill down into the logic of it, it seems equivalent to saying that if I hear that Hitler was a vegetarian, then I should really re-examine my own vegetarianism.Report

      • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Patrick Cahalan
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m confused about the lesson I should be learning from crazy people. Here is a direct quote from Dorner’s manifesto: “Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” is the greatest piece of music ever, period.” I read that and I think, wow, a homicidal maniac can appear sane in a lot of familiar ways, the banality of evil, etc. etc. But what should I be learning? And please don’t make me toss my Time Out vinyl.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to kenB
      Ignored
      says:

      I would recommend reading his manifesto. It’s an interesting document. He rants about the availability of AR-15’s in a long passage, and calls for a ban on them, then mentions his awesome stockpile. He rails against Wayne La Pierre for not caring 30 seconds about the kids of Sandyhook and trying to blame the media, then expresses his adamant belief that the Hangover franchise shouldn’t extend beyond Hangover III because it would destroy the integrity of the original. He devotes a couple of paragraphs to his favorite news anchors, giving some of them production advice. I think that clearly establishes at least one shooter with an obsession with the news media. He also goes on about his favorite comedians, actresses, singers, etc.

      You can bet that a bunch of Hollywood writers are already pounding out the script for the TV or movie version, and someone has probably called Denzel’s agent to offer him the role.

      The question is whether this rogue cop will start fighting police corruption and street crime from outside the law, all while being demonized and pursued by the LAPD, and whether the LA papers will just go ahead and start calling him “The Dark Knight.”Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to George Turner
        Ignored
        says:

        Batman doesn’t start off his crusade against injustice by murdering the daughter of someone who pissed him off and her fiance… for no apparent reason other than to get at the guy who pissed him off.

        That’s sorta anti-Batman, right there.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Patrick Cahalan
          Ignored
          says:

          Exactly! He’s even Darker!

          It’s anticipating where the Batman franchise will eventually go as each new relaunch makes the caped crusader darker and more twisted than the previous version. Eventually he’ll be Heath Ledger’s Joker. Besides, for all of Gotham City to plausibly think Batman is an evil psycho killer requires some evil psycho killings somewhere in the storyline. ^_^

          I’m guessing that the longer this manhunt goes on, the more people’s mental portraits of Dorner will accumulate fictional embellishments, perhaps similar to the way Mexican drug lords become folk heroes among a Hispanic subculture of traffickers, angry teens, and wanna-be thugs.

          I am somewhat curious whether anyone with a grudge against the LAPD (drug lords, ex-cons, etc) will try to take advantage of this situation and take some shots at the police, thinking Dorner will get the blame and derail the pursuit. On the flip side, anyone trying that will have the entire LAPD descend around them looking for Dorner.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to George Turner
        Ignored
        says:

        He also gave a shout-out to Tebow. WOO!!! TEBOW!!!!Report

      • Avatar Wardsmith in reply to George Turner
        Ignored
        says:

        George, I’ve read the manifesto (best comment from the bloggers, “Now THIS is a manifesto, I’m going to have to trash mine and start all over now”). There are those (and I’m kind of with them) who say the 2nd page with all the homages to the celebrities is a fraud. Looking at the grammar and spelling changes I’m kind of inclined to agree. For instance in the first rant he consistently uses the word “new” when he means “knew” but by the second set he never makes that mistake again. He also dispenses with the acronym soup he started with.Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to Wardsmith
          Ignored
          says:

          You know, I would normally be inclined to dismiss any conspiracyish speculation that the second part was added by someone else to make him look even crazier than he is, but this IS the LAPD we are talking about. Has anyone compared a handwriting sample against one from Vic Mackey?

          Also, I was reading some article with armchair psychoanalysis of the guy and as evidence that he was crazy/narcissistic, it was mentioned that at one point while he was still a duty officer he had wept openly in his patrol car, which I found interesting in light of the recent convos on Kazzy’s piece on social gender norms (don’t ever cry, boys, or it’ll be used against you as supporting evidence for mental illness).Report

  7. Avatar greginak
    Ignored
    says:

    There is nothing going on a murder spree with a strident manifesto to give yourself credibility and to get people to listen to you. Nobody ever said institutional change was easy.Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Given all of these shootings, maybe we could look at whether we want law enforcement to carry assault handguns.Report

  9. Avatar Wardsmith
    Ignored
    says:

    There are bad cops everywhere. In Washington state a bunch of sheriffs have signed a petition to try and fire bad cops. It’s not like Orange County has a dearth of punch happy police who would be felons if they were wearing civilian clothes instead of uniforms. Police murder civilians all the time and get away with it all the time. The interesting thing in this case is that they managed to fire this guy at all. Apparently being a whistle blower is the crime. The whistle blowers with the ATF didn’t fare so well either.Report

  10. Avatar Rufus F.
    Ignored
    says:

    Not to change the subject, but Los Straighjackets are awesome!Report

  11. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    News is reporting that Dorner has been found in Big Bear in a cabin and is surrounded.

    Two cops have been injured.

    If it turns out that it *IS* him and not just the police shooting up a cabin that looks like his, I suspect that we’ll hear that he will have been shot dead before we get to the State of the Union speech. (Or, I suppose, we’ll hear that he committed suicide in the back of a police car despite being handcuffed.)Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      You’re probably right. I suppose the “kill him and drop the body in the ocean” option isn’t live on this one.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      I don’t have much faith in the LA cops, but i think Dorner pretty much wasn’t planning to get captured. He set himself on a one way mission. He and the cops will have a tacit agreement that he will never be handcuffed. Hell the bomb squad will be searching around for hours/days after its all over.Report

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