If the government becomes a law-breaker, it breeds contempt for the law

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Jaybird

Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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132 Responses

  1. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Government law-breaking (or the perception of such) probably has something to do with the decrease in the public’s trust in government. But it’s hard to believe that one of our two major parties cynically running “Govt = Evil” 24/7 doesn’t add to that bucket as well.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      The folks I heard expressing sympathy for Dorner aren’t sympathetic to Republicans. I’d go so far as to say that those that voted at all cast votes for Obama.Report

    • Avatar b-psycho in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      “Govt = Evil” 24/7

      Except for the military. And the police.

      Which just so happen to be the point on the spear. Thus they spite…the stick part?Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to b-psycho says:

        That’s the interesting thing, though. (at least to me). Twenty years ago, sure as rain on a day off, military=police=’good guys’ and were indeed it was conveniently forgotten or ignored that they were also be government workers (with actually the biggest bureaucracies). Nowadays, though, while the military is still held in the same esteem, higher even, there are a lot more cracks in the political landscape were anti-cop sentiment leaks out.Report

        • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Kolohe says:

          Yes and no.

          I read Randy Balko, You read Randy Balko. But I’m doubtful/cynical that his work will lead to really change and I value his work on police brutality and corruption.Report

        • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Kolohe says:

          I’m not so sure. There’s SOME anti-cop sentiment, but if anything the way police unions are exempted from public sector union bashing, the FDNY/NYPD shirts after 9/11, the continued popularity of “tough” sheriffs like Arpaio, etc. seems to suggest the cracks aren’t as big as you might think.Report

          • Avatar Will H. in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

            I tend to think more of the jury trial situation.
            Even with some high profile cases of police lying on the witness stand and fabricating evidence, after all of the high profile DNA exonerations, there’s still a strong presumption that, if an infallible god says this person did X, then it’s probably true that this person did X, regardless of what the relevant facts in the matter may be.
            And there is a very strong presumption that anyone who wishes to exercise any of those rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights– any of them– must be up to some kind of no good.Report

  2. Avatar clawback says:

    I think what’s new is only the hand wringing about people agreeing with certain things he wrote. As I recall, some people agreed with certain details of Ted Kaczynski’s rantings without it setting off a round of pearl clutching, for example. To state the obvious, the truth value of a statement is independent of the character of the person making it.Report

  3. Avatar MikeSchilling says:

    Living as I do in the liberal Bay Area, I heard a lot of sympathy for the Unabomber’s manifesto, which was about the evils of technology, and a fair amount of barely disguised sympathy for his actions, couched as using violence when you’re otherwise powerless to do what needs to be done. Bank robbers’ being folk heroes during the Depression isn’t far off either: when banks are seen as thieves protected by the law, why not root for thieves that prey on them, legally or not?

    Honestly, Stick it to The Man is nothing new.Report

    • Avatar Barry in reply to MikeSchilling says:

      “Honestly, Stick it to The Man is nothing new.”

      But levels of support for it seem to be something new.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Barry says:

        You being able to notice it is probably new.

        The internet’s ability to connect means you lack the filter of time, distance, even interest — which means you’re aware of pro-Dorner stuff in ways you wouldn’t have been for a pro-X in the past, even if they were of identical strength.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to MikeSchilling says:

      “Living as I do in the liberal Bay Area, I heard a lot of sympathy for the Unabomber’s manifesto, which was about the evils of technology”

      Some people might be surprised by this, considering Silicon Valley and all of our tech-utopians.

      Though one of my favorite local neighborhood cars is a beat-up and rusty old Beetle that has these two stickers “Berkley Engineering” and “Luddite”Report

  4. Avatar Ethan Gach says:

    I think a lot of this is bred from a growth in double standards and hypocracy which the government happens to be one of the biggest promoters of.

    Peopel sense that there is something more going on, but aren’t always able to coherently seperate out what’s making them uneasy from the facts at hand.Report

  5. Avatar Sam says:

    Sidenote: I love the panic over NWA’s work (when there certainly DID exist reasons to, at best, distrust the police) while The Clash remain embraced despite things like “The Guns of Brixton”.

    “When they kick out your front door
    How you gonna come?
    With your hands on your head
    Or on the trigger of your gun

    When the law break in
    How you gonna go?
    Shot down on the pavement
    Or waiting in death row ”

    Again, just a sidenote.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Sam says:

      I was way too young when NWA came out with Express Yourself*

      But were there really people who damned NWA while praising the Clash? I imagine the people who pearl-clutched at Express Yourself also pearl-clutched at Guns of Brixton.

      *I was 8 or in 1988 but did not really start paying attention to popular music until I was 12 or 13. Basically I got absolutely mocked for a summer at camp for not knowing anything about music. As soon as I came home, I think I just watched MTV in a crash course for the rest of the summer.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to NewDealer says:

        “Brixton” was released in 1979 and was not a single; “Express Yourself” was in 1989, and it seems safe to say that as a single, it probably made more headway in the US than had The Clash with “Brixton” (Though London Calling was reasonably popular here – peaked at Billboard # 27, and it has since gone platinum – The Clash didn’t fully dent the US’s consciousness until Combat Rock – which made it to #7 – in ’82).

        Basically, different times, and more importantly, different audiences.Report

        • Avatar Sam in reply to Glyph says:

          Glyph,

          What that does last comment – “and more importantly, different audiences” – mean?Report

          • Avatar Glyph in reply to Sam says:

            I mean nobody was worried the US kids (who I suspect were largely white, and middle-class) that were buying “London Calling” were likely to get their doors broken down by the law, nor meet them with guns if they did.

            So, no pearl-clutching.

            NWA had a different dynamic going on – one, some people were scared of the black kids in the projects, what with their hippity-hoppity music and baggy pants and such; and two – though checking wiki Straight Outta Compton only appears to have made it to Billboard #37* – my possibly-subjective recollection is that both black kids AND white kids were listening to that album, A LOT, so I think a lot more parents heard (or heard about) the dang thing, than ever heard “Brixton”.

            * in RE: relatively-low chart position, I have two theories: #1, by 1989, there may have been more recorded material competing for chart positions; and #2, in my experience, stuff like NWA was dubbed and dubbed and dubbed onto cassettes and passed around surreptitiously like porno mags. Many parents wouldn’t allow it in their houses, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t being listened to.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Glyph says:

              In 1989, if you wanted to freak the normals, Motley Crue was no longer an option. When mom says “Play that ‘Without You’ song”, that is not rock and roll. That is *UN* rock and roll.

              If you want to freak the parents the way that Motley Crue used to be able to do?

              You’re stuck listening to unlistenable crap like Slayer (seriously?) or stuff like NWA which was honestly quite catchy. (Heck, knowing what we know now, from what Snoop and Biggie and Tupac have taught us, NWA might even be categorized as “cheesy” if you don’t pay too much attention to the lyrics.)Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Jaybird says:

                I suspect that this is generational.

                My parents were born in 1946 and 47 respectively. Hence I am a child of the first rock n’roll generation. I remember hearing a lot of rock growing up and my parents were pretty liberal and never cared about the lyrical content of the music I listened to.

                What is your opinion on parents who dress their young children in pint-sized Ramones t-shirts? Is that Rock n’Roll or un Rock n’Roll?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to NewDealer says:

                I don’t even know anymore. I suppose I have to say it’s better than the parents who dress their kids in “MUSTACHE RIDES 25 CENTS” t-shirts.Report

              • Avatar Aidian in reply to NewDealer says:

                My step-father introduced me to The Clash — first time I heard Guns of Brixton. Also the Dead Kennedys. And NWA.

                It made it really tough on me. I mean, what are you supposed to rebel against? For awhile I went the Alex P. Keaton route, but it just wasn’t me 🙂Report

              • Avatar LWA in reply to Aidian says:

                I flirted with the punk scene in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and confirm that nearly all its devotees were white middle class kids.
                Bored and disaffected maybe, but definitely not the proletariate that Joe Strummer wished he would connect with.

                Glyph got it right- If NWA had sung “Brixton” everyone would have freaked out, because they sounded like they meant it and honestly, us white punks on Sunset Blvd didn’t.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to LWA says:

                “they sounded like they meant it”

                There’s also a thing that seemingly used to (?) go on with rap – rap was either seen as good-time/party music, or (particularly for gangsta) it was “real”, with no in-between, and no literary/narrative qualities.

                Perhaps because of its relative lack of melody and the conversational immediacy of the rhymes (and hey – it was relatively new, and new is scary, and people don’t know what to make of new), people mistook it for “speech/truth” – not in the “expression” sense, but in the “the words you are hearing are what’s happening, really, right now” sense – see Chuck D’s famous “Rap is CNN for black people” quote. In some weird way I think of it as like the possibly-apocryphal stories of people who had never before seen projected film, fleeing in terror at the seemingly-approaching train.

                When I listen to “Brixton”, I am a white middle-class suburban American kid, listening to a British kid sing in a reggae style* as though he were a Jamaican in Brixton. I am always aware that this is several layers away from my “real” experience – there’s a theatrical remove (not to mention the actual geographical/cultural remove – whatever is happening right now in Brixton is not too relevant to me, while Compton may be a different story).

                But with rap, it seemingly took a long time before people would accept/understand that these were, to some degree, literary “characters” and “narrators” in these songs. Johnny Cash isn’t named Sue. It’s just a story.

                And then and now, plenty of rap artists were/are happy – in the name of “authenticity” – to either play that distinction down, or conversely, try to live up to those myths IRL.

                But in this, they are no different from rock or country stars.

                *coincidentally, reggae has a somewhat-undeserved reputation in the US as solely good-time music too – this also might help people miss the impact of the words.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to LWA says:

                Glyph,

                I think most people generally don’t listen to the lyrical content of most songs.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Aidian says:

                I mean this is the real issue. Rock n’ Roll is just not as rebellious as it was from 1958-1980s. I would say the first generation of hardcore bands (Black Flag, The Misfits, Circle Jerks) were the last rock bands you could listen to and be truly rebellious. Some hip-hop is fairly subversive but I don’t think parents are freaking out about like they used to during the first wave of Gangsta rap (roughly from Public Enemy’s debut until the death of TuPac and Notorious B.I.G.)

                Rock and Hip-Hop have entered the mainstream consciousness and been taken-over by corporate America. It is no longer rebellious music. I still like it a lot but rebellious it is not.

                So it might be impossible to rebel against your parents with music.Report

              • Avatar dhex in reply to NewDealer says:

                you just have to dig a bit deeper. plenty of american national socialist black metal bands to pick from, after all.

                not that nationalist/racist music is what people mean by “rebellious” (in the npr white people sense) but in that it would genuinely inflame nearly everyone and is largely un-coopable* i think it counts.

                * is this a word?Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to NewDealer says:

                Fair enough but I am also a Jewish, NPR listening liberal.

                I would be doing more than rebelling than listening to the music you described.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to NewDealer says:

                NewDealer,
                “giving your parents heart attacks” might be the best way to describe it.Report

              • Avatar dhex in reply to NewDealer says:

                “Fair enough but I am also a Jewish, NPR listening liberal.

                I would be doing more than rebelling than listening to the music you described.”

                hey, antinomianism (in the non-christian left hand path sense) ain’t easy. 🙂

                but i picked a very extreme example, though the non-racist portions of the genre have plenty of explicitly anti-religious and especially anti-christian themes. that’s true of a lot of extreme metal, but especially so for the children of the church burners mythos. nihilism, satanism, and collapse, oh my!

                “rebellion” as a theme is heavily colored by the audience being played to, hence my npr comment. they likely have something more in mind along the lines of rage against the machine than, say, watain, even though the latter is far more rebellious in terms of being against current cultural themes. however, as you point out, people generally don’t mean “i want to listen to some music that assaults my value system” but rather ” i want to listen to some music that assaults *their* value system”. rebellion is always directed against the other, not ourselves.

                but more practical on the annoying parents without getting sent to some kinda institution level, i’m pretty sure today’s yutes have brostep to rely on. WUWUWUWUWUWUB WUB WUB WUBReport

              • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Jaybird says:

                Heck, remember when Judas Priest and Ozzy Osbourne were, supposedly, making kids kill themselves? And now they’re both the soundtracks to minivan commercials.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Jim Heffman says:

                Capitalism and Corporate America has always been good at co-opting cool.

                During the summer Olympics opening ceremony, I remember that NBC used Johnny Rotten snarling “God Save the Queen” but quickly cut-off the follow-up lyric about the “Fascist regime”Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Sam says:

      hums “I shot the Sheriff”Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to greginak says:

        The protagonist of I Shot The Sheriff is morally justified for his actions: the sheriff conducted a campaign of harassment, threats, abuse, and oppression. In the story’s climax, the sheriff draws a weapon and aims it with murderous intent at the protagonist, who returns fire in self-defense. Moreover, by shooting the sheriff, the protagonist delivers not only himself but his entire community from the cruel John Brown’s wanton and heretofore unchecked abuse of power.

        Also note that he did not shoot the deputy.Report

        • Avatar Aidian in reply to Burt Likko says:

          You know, I’d suggest that the protagonists of Fuck the Police would also consider themselves morally justified in their violence against law enforcement. The morality (as described in Straight Outta Compton, hardly the work of Kant or Hume, but bear with me) they express differs significantly from that subscribed to by the society at large.

          I think this might help explain why you see so much justification for Dorner’s actions: the collective foundations of American society, inasmuch as they exist at all, aren’t nearly as strong as they were back in the day. We are increasingly American peoples instead of an American people. Some of those peoples have moral and ethical systems that don’t align well with those expressed by the dominant culture.

          Or maybe it’s just that more poor and brown folks are active online than before, and poor and brown folks have always hated cops. And from there it’s a short leap, especially for someone who lacks some maturity or empathy or just hasn’t thought it out much, to say some stupid stuff about how Dorner’s victims were collateral damage or were legit targets ‘cuz they were related to cops or something.

          I’d wager that most of my old friends from back home feel exactly like that. But they’re rural white trash, so it’s only in the last couple of years you’ll hear their opinions online, and before that you’d never hear their take on things because they had no voice in traditional media.* From my anecdotal experience it’s similar with people from other similarly disadvantaged demographics.

          *except when one of ’em wound up interviewed on the news as a victim, witness, or suspect’s relative. At which point I’d throw my remote control at the TV while screaming at them to “put a shirt on” and “learn English”Report

  6. Avatar NewDealer says:

    I think there are several problems here:

    1. Many people have a bit of “want it both ways” when it comes to law and order and/or rooting for the law breaker. In our culture, we do it all the time. We like the idea of Dirty Harry as much as we love the idea of rooting for the Warriors (the cult-hit gang movie, not the basketball team) or Al Pacino’s character in Scarface. There was an article on slate a few years ago praising the movie Zodiac as a liberal police/thriller movie because everything is done by the books and is very pro-procedure. No one take’s the law into their own hands in Zodiac.

    2. Ideology. Perhaps the Republicans were very sincere in their belief that Obamacare and/or Universal Healthcare is unconstitutional. Liberals are also very sincere in our belief that there is nothing unconstitutional about universal healthcare and the welfare state. Who is right?

    Or a more on point example, isn’t there some kind of advocacy group that goes around teaching law enforcement officials not to follow unconstitutional laws. I suppose on an abstract level this is a good idea but it runs into problems in the specifics. Why should I be obligated to take their arguments at face value about whether a law is unconstitutional or not? What if they refuse to interfere with a domestic violence situation because they find VAWA unconstitutional? Or some gun-control law? Then there is a real person being physically hurt or threatened who is not getting aid because of their alleged beliefs.

    Anyway I am not sure whether I belief that poll or not. I have seen other polls that suggest that young people have more faith in the idea of an active government doing good.Report

    • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to NewDealer says:

      We root for Pacino in “Scarface” because the movie presents him to us as a likeable character. He doesn’t hurt innocents (at least not directly, on screen), when he makes a mistake he feels remorse, his success is through personal effort and therefore acceptable, the large majority of the violence he commits is in self-defense or otherwise excused by circumstances. It’s not that America likes criminals, so much as they’re willing to believe that even a criminal can be a hero–so long as we see them acting like it.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        Maybe the Sons of Anarchy or Walter White would have been better examples?

        A little bit but we also like the idea of the person who makes a massively decadent living through non-traditional means like dealing cocaine. Or we like it when Don Corleone distinguishes between prostitution and gambling and heroin in the Godfather.Report

  7. Avatar greginak says:

    Americans have the luxury of telling pollsters how much they distrust government, then going about their daily lives in a rich, highly developed first world country. You want to see “real” distrust of gov go to a poor, corrupt third world country. Part of the feeling our gov is do bad in near sightedness and another big part is nostalgia for how great things were back in the good old days. If you lump all the people who say they distrust gov in one group how do you distinguish between people who think the Cops spend to much time F’ing with poor and dark skinned people and those who think the poor and dark skinned people have easy lives living off the hard working good people. Both can say they distrust the gov, but the reasons are a bit different.

    As noted above glamorization of murders and criminals is old news. Gangsters in the 20’s, dirt bags like jesse james and dalton gangs in the “old west.” It’s something Americans dig for whatever reason.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to greginak says:

      Do you think it goes hand in hand with digging Dirty Harry vigilante justice as well?Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to NewDealer says:

        Yes. Americans love the thought of one strong individual with the righteousness of God himself setting everything straight. It’s how people imagine the West was won without thinking much of a thought about railroads, communicable disease, global trade, barbed wire, telegraph and towns. Its the lone cowboy or Shane that did it. It is simple, up right, straight forward, self-righteous and entirely lacking.

        Dirty Harry, which is a great although way over the top flick, is in that same tradition. One guy with power. One might if they were so inclined to link that kind of thought to the beliefs in libertarian thought among other primarily American beliefs.Report

        • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to greginak says:

          The guys who wrote and acted in The Shield knew that Vic Mackey was a villain. They showed us that over and over, starting with the first episode. But the audience thought he was the hero.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to MikeSchilling says:

            I don’t think you’re giving enough credit to the audience. Vic Makey was Tony Soprano with a badge. People enjoyed both men doing their thing, and yes, were rooting for them in way, but everyone recognized that neither Tony or Vic were the ‘good guys’Report

          • It was amazing to me how the writers stuck with the whole, “No, Vic Mackey is not a good guy” thing to the extent that they did. It would have been much easier to get us to forget about Crowley.

            I do tihnk I agree with Kolohe, though. I think that when they put Claudette opposite Vic, they kept the audience from getting too comfortable thinking of Mackey as a hero. It created a much different dynamic when it was Aceveda.Report

          • Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to MikeSchilling says:

            Some part of the audience perhaps. But jeez, how he treated those he thought beneath him — his wife and women in general — you have to be a bit dense to get that this is NOT a nice guy. One of the points of The Shield was that there were no “nice guys” (even Dutch was pretty messed up), only “nicer” or “less nice”. Lem was “nicer” than Shane, but neither was a sterling example of police behavior.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to NewDealer says:

        I think that much of the support for Dirty Harry vigilante justice came from two things. The first was that there was, for us, a pretty big crime wave going on at the time. Fair or not, the narrative that it was due to such things as Miranda (and criminals getting off on a technicality) took hold in the public consciousness.

        The second is pretty important as well: the movie provided proof of what happened. I mean, when Scorpio was not charged by the DA despite all of us in the audience seeing what happened to that little girl, we knew things. We knew things that the DA couldn’t have known, that members of a jury wouldn’t have known, and that even Harry Himself couldn’t have known.

        But because the camera took us, impossibly, to what “really” happened? We had certainty.Report

        • Avatar Sam in reply to Jaybird says:

          Jaybird,

          I know you and I fight pretty regularly (and please don’t take this as some sort of peace offering, because we can go back to fighting immediately after I’m done), but that second point is one of the great points ever made in relation to art versus reality. It also a point made so succinctly. *Chest Bump*

          Now, let’s start fighting again.Report

          • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Sam says:

            It is a very good point. Movies can show us things we don’t know in real life.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Sam says:

            I’ve thought about this response for a day or so (part of the problem is that they had me work a 7PM-7AM last night and so I have been operating under some weird alterted states of consciousness due to the stuff I’ve been doing to get through that sort of thing on short notice and then recover from doing that thing).

            Anyway: thanks.Report

        • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Jaybird says:

          As a lawyer, I don’t really get “technicality” arguments.

          All of law is based on technicality and finding exceptions. Everyone does this, all the time!

          Rule of law means that there are standards of proof, evidence, due process rules, etc. Justice is not simply “bad guy’s get what is coming to them.” The question of Justice is much more complicated than that.Report

          • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to NewDealer says:

            Right on. “Lack of jurisdiction” is not a technicality.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to NewDealer says:

            Eh. I’m sure I can come up with a handful of even recent cases where everything was done using established procedures, precedent, and even The Law but could get you to say “that’s twisting what The Law was intended to do in the service of Injustice!” or similar.

            And even if I couldn’t get you to say such a thing out loud, I’m sure you’re friends with at least one person who you can easily imagine saying such a thing and you deciding not to argue with them.

            When enough of society feels more CSI/Law&Order than Perry Mason, it’ll eventually be reflected in the courts.Report

        • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Jaybird says:

          I should add that I really struggle with the idea of how do you create a justice system that truly believes in “innocent until proven guilty” and gives defendants free and fair trials while also not casting doubt on the victim.

          This seems to be nearly impossible.Report

          • Avatar Will H. in reply to NewDealer says:

            I believe the term is “suspension of belief.”
            Say, if I’m waltzing through a theater (I do like to dance like that, ya know) and I go to sit down, and when I do, I find that someone has spilt a coke all over the seat. And when I get up to go to another seat, everyone’s thinking that I peed myself.
            And so, I’m trying to make like I didn’t just pee myself, . . .

            Ya know, this analogy is getting worn.
            I lost my place here.Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

          My recollection was that back in the 80s a lot of people were anti-accused rights for actual accused people, not just in the cases they saw in the movies.

          In fact, I seem to recall that movie scenarios were often given as reasons for why the accused didn’t deserve rights.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            Heck i remember in 2001 when Bush was elected i heard more than one person loudly proclaim they could now get rid off, or sharply cut down on Public Defenders and legal protections for poor people.Report

          • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            Again this seems to be a big problem in civil liberties law.

            People think of the 4th, 5th, and other amendments as being for criminals instead of being for the accused or all Americans. It takes the training of a lawyer and/or civil libertarian to see the 4th Amendment as being for all people, not just criminals.

            I think people support fair trials for criminals. At least in a very abstract way, they can see that “innocent until proven guilty” or “beyond a reasonable doubt” are good things. However, the problems come when you have an actual defendant, an actual crime, and an actual villain.

            There is no way to genie wish a system where everyone who is innocent is not convicted and everyone who is guilty is found guilty. Sometimes guilty people are going to be found not guilty and this causes a lot of understandable emotional range but it also sadly probably needs to happen.

            I wish there was a way to develop a system that is fair to both the accused and safegaurds his or her right to a free and impartial trial while also showing compassion towards the victim’s of crime.Report

            • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to NewDealer says:

              And that’s just it, right? The whole due process thing…there’s much more substantive erosion of that going on in criminal justice than in national security law. The “they’re guilty of something” attitude is still quite prevalent in mainstream society.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                Nob,

                Yeah. Criminal Justice is a mess for a variety of reasons. And I think that the “they’re guilty of something” attitude goes beyond mainstream society. There are plenty of times when liberals can be tough on crime just as much as conservatives. Liberals are usually tougher on different crimes though.

                I think it is perfectly natural and honorable to be compassionate to the victims of crime especially violent crime. However, I wish there would be a way to show compassion towards the victim’s of crime while also being fair to criminal defendants (innocent and guilty).

                Saying an “indictment is not a conviction” can get one hushed in just as many liberal circles as conservative ones.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                I will add that often times the accused is guilty and possibly got away with misbehavior for years and this makes it naturally hard to have sympathy for wrongfully accused criminal defendants.

                Is there any work on how exonerated people reintegrate back into society? I am thinking the people who spend 15-30 years in prison and then get lucky by having the Innocence Project take up their case. Are there still people who think they are guilty? Probably.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

          Dirty Harry came out in 1971. There were some other big cultural changes going on at the time. Yes the Scorpio killer was a big part of the subtext of DH that got lost on viewers in a few years, but hippies, drugs, counter culture, etc etc.Report

        • Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to Jaybird says:

          “Dirty Harry” is a masterpiece of audience manipulation. It’s what Spielberg **wants** to do but doesn’t have the touch for (“E.T.” being a disaster for me in terms of manipulation — I hate feeling manuipulated). I’m as liberal as they come, but I’m as happy as anyone else when Harry blows away the bad guy. Very few people can pull something like that off.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Jeff No-Last-Name says:

            It’s worth noting that the sequel to Dirty Harry was Magnum Force. MF is a about a group of renegade cops who are engaging in vigilante justice by killing off various bad dudes. The leader of group tries to get Harry to join and he declines. He also kills all the vigilante cops.

            This was seen as a reaction against the glorious vigilantism if Dirty Harry.Report

  8. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    I’ve long been interested in how people choose to remain embedded in a society and the authoritative structures of meaning by which they make sense of that way of life and why it’s preferable. It’s hard to think of any institutions in the US that aren’t currently spoken of in conspiratorial terms, from the schools to churches to civic organizations to the state. I share your concern. And your title is correct- the police function less like guardians of public order than an invading army in many parts of the US. Whenever I return to the states, I’m struck by how many more cops you have there and the level of contempt they seem to have.

    And then you see stories like this one and think the defining trait of the officers involved is just cowardice:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/autopsy-finds-that-md-man-with-down-syndrome-died-of-asphyxia-while-in-police-custody/2013/02/15/4d752304-77ab-11e2-b102-948929030e64_story.htmlReport

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Rufus F. says:

      The problem with cops is that they seem to follow a power law.

      A small minority of cops causes most of the problems in terms of police brutality and corruption. I think Malcolm Gladwell had a story about this in the New Yorker a few years ago. But when we here those stories, it does a massive amount of damage to how society feels about cops. A few years ago there was a scandal in the East Bay because a narcotics officer not only turned out to be stealing evidence and reselling it, he also ran a series of “massage parlors”.

      The cops on the street thing is the Giuliani theory that a constant police presence reduces crime. I think most Americans support it. When I lived in New York, I would see cops every day. In San Francisco, not as much. It freaked me out when I first moved to San Francisco when I realized “Wait a minute, I haven’t seen a cop for four days.”

      The problem is with being a cop is that you might help someone one day and need to arrest them the next. One day you are coming to Sam’s apartment because it was burgled. The next day Sam is getting arrested for committing medicare fraud, drunk driving, embezzlement, or something more ghastly. I’m sure that has to do something to the human spirit and psychology.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to NewDealer says:

        The blue line is another reason for that distrust. Not to mention things like “professional courtesy”, which is widespread corruption gussied up in acceptable language. Combining good cops covering up for bad cops and even good cops getting off on petty crimes and violations that ordinary citizens can’t get away with makes it easy to paint the entire group as dirty. Look at the reaction by police officers to the ticket fixing scandal. You didn’t have officers coming out and saying that what they did was wrong. Instead you had policie officers come out and say, for all intents and purposes, that breaking the law without punishment is a perq of being a civil servant.Report

        • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Mo says:

          Yeah, absolutely. A lot of organizations suffer when they circle the wagons, but police departments seem to more than the others.

          (As a sidenote, I’m glad to see someone else spells it perq.)Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Rufus F. says:

            One thing that really troubles me is the lack of civilian input into the policies.

            If, say, a cop does something atrocious (pick something), there is no guarantee that the union won’t come back and point out that this was a training issue, sure, but procedures were followed to the extent that they were understood, there was a full investigation, and the matter is now closed (and the cop is back on the street).

            I mean, sure, you could ask me if I never effed up at work and made a mistake and wasn’t it great that my boss just sat me down and made sure that I understood the parameters of my job and said “get back in there, champ” instead of “you’re fired”… but effing up when I make a judgment call at my job won’t involve people dying because I shot them.

            I am *VERY* interested in seeing what happens to the officers who shot up the various non-Dorner trucks out there.

            It strikes me as something akin to a “the DA will bring attempted murder charges”situation instead of a “procedures were re-explained to the officers” situation. But, and here’s the point, it’s not up to me. There is nothing I can do to influence anything going on here. That strikes me as bad.Report

            • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Jaybird says:

              It’s also the case that if your job involves dealing with customers and you screw up, your boss’s response will be “you’re fired” and not “stupid customers, whatcha gonna do, internal investigation says you did right”.Report

            • Avatar Mopey Duns in reply to Jaybird says:

              This seems to me to be a much bigger issue.

              The only good thing Dorner did accomplish through his murderous rampage was to shine a light on just how trigger-happy the LAPD can be. Their response did more to bring them into disrepute than anything Dorner did. For heaven’s sake, the people and their vehicles did not look anything like Dorner or his truck. What did the LAPD think he was doing, disguising himself as a pair of Hispanic newspaper ladies?

              I only thank God they didn’t kill anybody. If there was any justice, every officer involved in both of those incidents would be booted from the force without a pension and charged with attempted murder.

              You can’t have cops firing on civilians without warning. You just can’t.Report

            • Avatar Aidian in reply to Jaybird says:

              “I am *VERY* interested in seeing what happens to the officers who shot up the various non-Dorner trucks out there.”

              Yeah, and while you may find out what happens to them, you won’t be able to find out why or how it was decided. Unless they are actually charged with a crime, you won’t even be able to find out who the officers are, nor will you be able to find out if they’ve been involved in similar situations before.

              California has a really shamefully weak open records law, which is especially weak when it comes to police thanks in large part to lobbying by law enforcement. There have also been a couple of very bad court rulings by police-friendly judges (as if there’s another kind of judge) making it even tougher to get information out of agencies.

              A couple of years ago an attempt to get nothing more than a list of employees and their salaries from one department went all the way to the state supreme court. That’s just ridiculous, and it’s indicative of the sort of contempt law enforcement has for civilian oversight that any department thought they could or should try and refuse that.Report

      • Avatar Aidian in reply to NewDealer says:

        A small minority of cops causes most of the problems in terms of police brutality and corruption.

        I have to object to this. Maybe a small minority of cops cause the truly egregious brutality that tends to shock the conscious of everyone. But the issues that have spawned the increasing levels of distrust, contempt, and even hatred for American law enforcement are not the ‘isolated incidents’ caused by a ‘few bad cops.’

        The issues are systemic and widespread. It’s the rare cop who isn’t a part of it. It’s not the occasional case of murder or dope dealing or whatever. It’s the constant perjury, the use of violence with no consequences, and the routine contempt with which the police treat citizens.Report

  9. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Though there is the counter-meme in right wing circles specifically attacking the meme that Dorner is some kind of hero.

    I agree if Dorner only shot other cops it would have been a somewhat different reaction (but perhaps not from the same aforementioned right wing circles). Were Donner not African American, we would be seeing yet another qualitative different reaction, too.

    This is yet another movement in concerto that came to light in the Rodney King incident and subsequent riots. (where the second movement was the OJ Simpson Trial). The usual players are in their usual seats, and its tremendously disappointing that not as much has changed as one had hoped after 20 some odd years.Report

  10. Avatar zic says:

    I think so much of trust in government is perception of government, and has very little to do with what any given administration does.

    Most enlightening is this federal government scandal list:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_federal_political_scandals_in_the_United_States

    Obama’s is incredibly short. GWB’s incredibly long.

    My personal belief is that scandal is mostly a matter of news cycle; when there’s nothing else to talk about. . . and has nothing at all to do with real events, real misdeeds, and coverups that actually go on. The reaction to Dorner fits here; something to talk about when we’re all bored and frustrated with the inability of politics to resolve obvious problems; in his insanity, we find something that reflects on our own plight in those headwinds.

    And I’d put the Obama Administration’s #1 scandal at not holding the previous administration responsible for its scandals.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to zic says:

      That last line rings very true.

      However, the fact that we hear about scandals, is proof that America is yet young, and strives against the decadence of corruption.Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to Kim says:

        “However, the fact that we hear about scandals, is proof that America is yet young, and strives against the decadence of corruption.”

        No and no. The first is simply not true, and the ‘striving’ seems to be hit or miss (note that I’m talking about actual striving).Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Barry says:

          Well, okay, I hear about scandals. Some scandals are remarkably well known.
          As my friend in da know asked, “What the big fuss about Penn State? Haven’t we known about that for years?”

          … which of course is the REAL fuss.

          I hear about scandals all the fucking time. I can cite you ten to twenty about nursing homes. Plenty of places out there still have attack dogs.

          Hell they’ve got the FBI in on the Heinz deal now.Report

    • Avatar Mo in reply to zic says:

      Nixon’s is also pretty short. So I don’t think length is evidence of much.Report

  11. Avatar DRS says:

    Does it have anything to do with the LAPD itself – which, correct me if I’m wrong, doesn’t have the greatest reputation as a police department?Report

    • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to DRS says:

      I can’t imagine the LAPDs manhunt/shooting spree helped the reputation of government.Report

    • Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to DRS says:

      From what I’ve seen, that’s a major part of it, in spite of the fact that the LAPD has changed dramatically in the past few years. The LAPD of Ramparts and Consent Decrees has given way to community outreach and Civilian Review boards. If Dorner had a legitimate complaint, there were any number of options he could have taken, but didn’t.

      What’s more, his case is going to be reviewed. This was never about getting his job back — the manefesto alone saw to that — but to see if there is any truth to the accusations of racism and brutaitly.

      I’m fairly certain that Bratton would have put the officers involved with the truck shooting on leave pending investigation, and they most likely would have been fired. I believe the current chief is very much in with Bratton’s philosophy, but we’ll have to wait and see.Report

      • If Dorner had a legitimate complaint, there were any number of options he could have taken, but didn’t. killing people was a completely unacceptable way to go about prosecuting it.Report

        • Avatar Will H. in reply to Burt Likko says:

          Actually, I believe whatever misbehavior he may have engaged in is a completely separate issue from the content of his complaints.
          They’re not even close.
          It is a legitimate point that, while he may have applied extraordinary effort in establishing a causal link between the two, such links are a matter of perception only, and are not established by the facts.Report

          • Avatar Will H. in reply to Will H. says:

            I would like to step through the process a bit more, just to avoid unnecessary vagueness.

            Scenario 1:
            “Why did you punch him in the face?”
            “Because he wouldn’t leave me alone.”
            “Well, apparently, he wasn’t bothering you at all, or you wouldn’t have punched him in the face.”

            Scenario 2:
            “Why did you punch him in the face?”
            “Because he wouldn’t leave me alone.”
            “Well, even though he wouldn’t leave you alone, punching him in the face is an appropriate response.”

            The whole notion of a causal effect is predicated on the concept of a limited range of available options.
            But it is often the case that people have options available to them that they are unable to see.
            Emotion often clouds judgment, and quite frequently to the detriment of both.
            And in many cases, the imperative to act isn’t identifiable for scrutiny after the fact.

            I don’t want to discount what the man was going through. He was obviously very troubled.
            And what the families of his victims are going through is surely horrible.
            And I feel fairly certain that the LAPD’s response in the matter was uncalled for as well.
            That is, troubled compounded upon trouble.

            But the critical juncture was to tap Dorner at his moment of crisis.
            For whatever reason, he felt that his options were limited.
            He was trying to reach out. That manifesto of his demonstrates this very clearly.
            He wasn’t reaching out effectively, or he had no one close enough to him to turn to.
            And for that, four people are dead.

            I can’t tell you that it’s more rewarding to apply understanding rather than passing judgment.
            In fact, doing so fills me with great sadness. Perhaps it would be easier if I were able to pass judgment on the man, and not to give consideration to those aspects which I see to be relevant. If only I could be someone else, all my problems would be solved.
            But I can tell you that understanding has its own benefits.

            I heard of Mindy McCready’s* suicide today as I was out driving around. I felt very sad, and it made me wish that I had been there, just to give her one long heart-felt hug.
            But I realized that final act was not the truly horrible part. It was something that she had lived with for a very long time. Her suicide only removed any manner of help for her farther away than it was already. But for that private hell which was her life, not one of us can reach out to her now. Our time to be of use has been torn from our grasp.

            In much the same manner, I’m sure that Dorner’s last rampage was a long time coming, and I’m fairly certain that he had his own little private hell which tormented him through his earthly days.
            But the time for us to be of use has now passed.
            We missed our opportunity.
            And for this, four people lie dead.

            He wasn’t crazy, and he wasn’t irrational.
            He was a man in a moment of crisis that wasn’t able to see any way out, needlessly pressured, whether internally or externally, to act, and act NOW! to an extent that none of us seem to be able to understand.
            It seems, more than anything, that, in the end, such imperatives are often illusory.
            What a terribly troubled man.

            And for all the talk I hear, nothing comes close to relating back to those relevant issues.
            These same dynamics are at play– they never passed with Dorner’s passing.
            The sacrifice of one man’s life will not suffice to keep these things at bay.
            We are no more than where we started.
            We’re just awaiting the next one.

            * I’m no fan, and I’m not familiar with her music, though I am familiar only in passing with her name. I don’t need to be to care about another human being as a human being. We are rays of the same light, and to me this is sufficient.Report

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

              Will, in case I haven’t mentioned it elsewhere, I suspect you’re a better human being than I am.Report

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

                Wow. That was an unexpected response.
                And I would say that it’s certainly meaningful to me coming from you.
                But I wonder how much of the above statements are because of a degree of removal from the situation. I wasn’t in LA at the time, so I didn’t experience any personal danger or fear. I can’t really judge the mood there from here.
                But thank you.Report

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

                There’s a point at which understanding continues to be a intellectual interest but no longer maintains human interest. Like, I can understand the malignant psychology of the broken man (and find it interesting from an intellectual perspective), and not be interested in judging them for their actions, but a the same time I don’t feel a level of compassion for their plight any more. They are far enough outside my bounds of accessibility, I guess.Report

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

                I can see that.
                With me, it’s numbers.
                To have heartfelt caring about one or two tragic deaths seems much easier than seven.
                I guess I don’t have that much time to examine things that closely when things come at me all at once.Report

  12. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    Jesse James never was a hero. He passed into myth through the dime store novel and became immortal in that transformation. Now three or four towns try to lure in unwary tourists on the strength of his name.

    TNC is just bloviating. This isn’t about a Black Jesse James. But it is about myth. The heroes of myth are mostly demigods, half divine, half mortal. Achilles wasn’t a “heroic” figure but he was a hero. Heroes aren’t necessarily good guys. The heroes appear in the stories so we can watch them fail. If they triumph in the story, that’s not the way all the hero stories end.

    Vain, petulant, vicious, rageful, insubordinate and ultimately doomed, Achilles was just a knight the god Apollo removed from chessboard of Troy. The game went on without him. As flies are to wanton boys are we to the gods: they kill us for their sport. But heroes, well, the gods torment them longer and we torment them long after they’re dead, as Achilles did with the body of Hector.

    Prurient voyeurs always buzz around such incidents like so many blowflies on a dead heifer. Dorner’s obscenely fascinating because he had been a policeman. Like Achilles, mortal child of an immortal mother, here’s this terribly flawed human being, the embodiment of a stock character from a dime store novel — how many policemen fell from grace in literature before we recognise the archetype? It’s Lew Archer gone bad. Philip Marlowe, Harry Callahan, we do love our rogue cops and the rogue-r the better, usually. But we’re always more fascinated with villains than good guys, we want complexity in these archetypes. Stir in a few drops of chaos and evil, add the spice of revenge to the mix. Film reviewers just love that stuff. They call it Character Complexity.

    The LAPD is composed of human beings and none of them are heroes. Some of them are very good men, others less good. Doubtless, some are awful. I wouldn’t want to be a cop. Day after day, responding to all that madness, getting a ringside seat to the ragged edge of human society. No sir, not for me. We respect their power. We do not have to respect the men who have that power.

    Dorner is not a symbol of police brutality. He was just a brutal ex-policeman with a grudge. When the shooting starts, anywhere in the world, someone whips out his smart phone and starts recording it. Hathos Alert: prurient voyeurs all of us — we can’t stop looking at it.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Achilles mother shoulnd’t have dipped him by the heals, she should’ve slapped him until he started acting like an adult instead of a spoiled brat on a power trip.

      Rage, goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’s son Achilles, murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses, hurling down to the house of death so many sturdy souls, great fighters souls, and made them feasts for the dogs and birds.

      So he was fast. They should’ve hit him in the head with a hammer as the Greek ships hit the beach, then made all the other troops run wind sprints for a month or two instead of sitting idly by the black beaked ships. Or better yet, point out that in a set-piece formation battle and siege, running isn’t a particularly useful skill, and is a horrible way to choose a battlefield commander. If the Olympians weren’t dumb enough to put Hermes in charge of anything, the Achaeans should’ve been smart enough to make Achilles a message runner for Odysseus.

      But no, they made him a soldier and then stripped him of his position, pissing off the arrogant self-absorbed jerk so much that it blew up in their faces, and his exploits made the rest of their forces look like incompetent boobs.Report

    • Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Sorry but you’re wrong about this. I saw a fair number of messages of “sympathy” for Dorner, mostly from African American Angelinos. As noted above, the LAPD still does not have a great reputation among a lot of blacks in the city, even after years of clean up. Racism and excessive violence remain problems for the LAPD, evenn though it’s nowhere near what it used to be.

      Kind of off-topic a bit:
      I visited the home page of the LAPD and saw this message from the chief:
      POLICE INTERACTIONS WITH TRANSGENDER INDIVIDUALS> I think it’s pretty awesome.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Jeff No-Last-Name says:

        The Romans just loved Achilles. Thought he was great. That wretched Paris what laid him low was just so hateful: he’s the villain of the Iliad during Roman times.

        Of course there will be messages of sympathy for Dorner. He was as I described him, a Complex Character. No black man in this country will believe the LAPD’s account of how and why he was sacked. It’s not as if LAPD has quite lived down Rodney King, you know.Report

        • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to BlaiseP says:

          I’ve a pretty good friend (white) in LASD. He doesn’t believe LAPD’s version of the story. “Whitewash” was the word he used, with rather resigned familiarity.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Burt Likko says:

            “Hello! As a naval officer I abhor the implication that the Royal Navy is a haven for cannibalism. It is well known that we now have the problem relatively under control, and that it is the RAF who now suffer the largest casualties in this area. And what do you think the Argylls ate in Aden. Arabs? Yours etc. Captain B.J. Smethwick in a white wine sauce with shallots, mushrooms and garlic.”Report

  13. Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name says:

    Tomorrow (2/19 at 9 AM), LAPD Chief Beck is holding a press conference on the Dorner case. I’m positive that questions about the shooting will come up — it will be interesting to see how they’re handled.Report

  14. Avatar Chris says:

    I don’t like the police, and I don’t like violence (I do, however, like N.W.A., and Body Count, if we’re talking people who created an uproar because they sang about the police). I understand that the police are necessary, because people do bad things, and bad things happen. But the police are no longer (if they ever were) merely a group of public servants tasked with serving and protecting the public. They’re also the coercive arm of the state, and as a result, the individuals on the police force are empowered in a way that is both ripe for abuse and attracts those who are likely to abuse. What’s more, because the state favors the powerful, its coercive power, in the form of the police, will be both used and abused to a much greater extent against the disadvantaged.

    None of this is all that profound, I know, but I mention it to get to this: while I find Dorner’s actions abhorrent, I also find them inevitable. I’m surprised something like this doesn’t happen more often, in fact. We live in the environment that the state, through the police, has created, and they that sow the wind…

    Also.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris says:

      Chris the Damaja!

      I lost “Sun Rises” at some point. 🙁 IIRC I liked that one. I need to remember to keep an eye out for a cheap copy.

      Maybe I’ll put on “Full Clip” to tide me over….Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph says:

        It’s a great album, The Sun Rises in the East.

        There history of hip hop songs about police abuse is almost as long as the history of hip hop itself. Hell, even L.L. has one.

        If hip hop’s not your thing, there’s Springstein.

        I think I may have mentioned it here before, but until a couple years ago, I lived in a “bad” neighborhood (for a few years, while I lived there, it was smack dab in the middle of the area with the highest crime rate in the city), and I would get unwanted attention from the police if I was walking around at night, or sometimes just sitting at a bus stop. I learned, at one point, that the way to get them to ignore me was to pull out my smart phone. That probably wouldn’t work now, when smart phones and their plans are much cheaper, but once upon a time it must have said to the police, “This dude has money, so he’s fine.”Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Chris says:

          Cops don’t work that way around here. They’re equal opportunity discriminators, just as likely to arrest you for Driving While White as Driving While Black.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chris says:

      Chris, are the coercive powers of the state more pronounced now than they were in earlier times? Do you think things are getting better? Worse?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Stillwater says:

        Still, the LAPD isn’t basically rounding up any black male within a particular age range in certain neighborhoods like they were in the 80s and early 90s, so I guess things have gotten better. On the other hand, the police are still barging into the wrong houses, guns drawn, and shooting people’s dogs, so maybe they haven’t.

        I’ve followed the police a lot here in Austin, and I’ve seen good and bad trends. For example, there’s a program in part of East Austin that’s had some really hard times with drug dealers (12th and Chicon) that seeks to not simply run the drug dealers out of the neighborhood and into another one nearby, but to actually get them to stop dealing without arresting them or turning the neighborhood into an occupied zone. That seems like a good things. On the other hand, the police here seem to shoot a young, non-white male at least once a year under questionable (at best) circumstances. Plus, they do still turn neighborhoods into occupied zones (my old neighborhood was one of them, in the middle of the last decade).Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

      I mention it to get to this: while I find Dorner’s actions abhorrent, I also find them inevitable.

      This is the response that I imagine I might have had had Dorner killed only LAPD members. Something like “I realize that I am surprised that this took until 2013.”

      That said, his opener was *NOT* to kill only LAPD.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

        Yeah, that’s true, though it was still aimed at the LAPD. I think Dorner snapped, and was no longer thinking rationally, or in a way that can reasonably be described as ethical. He was blinded by rage and, I suspect, mental illness. So he went after someone by attacking his family. That’s pretty fucked up, but not inconsistent with a blind hatred of the police and particular police officers.Report

  15. Avatar Will H. says:

    You really got me to thinking with this one. And what I came up with is fairly disturbing.
    I don’t think it has anything at all to do with authority or the police, or anything vaguely similar.
    I think this is more about The Running Man than anything else– a type of callousness toward the death of others.
    I think of the girl in Detroit that jumped from a bridge to escape the man who was after her with a tire iron. There was bumper-to-bumper traffic, and things were at a standstill on the bridge. In a moment of road rage, some guy takes off after another driver with a tire iron while everyone else cheers on. They cheered her death.
    There was some kid in So. Florida that committed suicide live on some chatroom with people cheering him on. They knew darned well what he was doing. For no reason at all, other than to watch another person die, they encouraged him and cheered him on.
    That’s pretty damned sick.
    I think the encouragement for Dorner to kill and to kill Dorner both fall into this category.
    It’s just a particular sickness among us.
    We need to keep going through this until we finally learn our lesson, collectively.
    I’m not very optimistic on the prospects of that.Report