If you are unfamiliar with Christopher Dorner, you are either under the influence of a powerful narcotic, or you live in a cave with no access to television, computer or internet service. In any event, both the corporate propaganda machine (the mainstream media) and corporate security (law enforcement) have every interest in defining this man and his meaning for you.
What we know is that the 33 year-old former LAPD officer and former member of the Navy Reserve recently killed a police officer, the daughter of a former police officer and her fiance . We also know that this armed and dangerous man” has “declared war” on law enforcement officers, and even their family members.
Therefore Mr. Dorner is presented to us as a desperate madman on the run who will inevitably meet a most violent end at the hands of the law enforcement agents chasing him across the “Big Bear” ski resort in southern California.
Of course the media and law enforcement might be correct to describe Dorner as a desperate madman destined for death. The task for we intelligent citizens is to make sense of this bizarre case for ourselves. Among the questions discerning citizens must raise are:
Why would an apparently intelligent and responsible man resort to allegedly murdering innocent people? Dorner posted a 14-page letter online describing the experiences, and revelations that led to his later actions. What do his experiences and actions reveal about himself, America, and American law enforcement? Why are so many “decent” Americans creating support pages for Dorner and in support of his crusade?
I submit that if Dorner is a desperate madman he certainly was not born that way, but shaped into such by a confluence of racist practices and a racist American system of law enforcement that punishes those with integrity, abuses those it should “protect and serve,” and persecutes those who hold it accountable.
Read Dorner’s letter and you will find a record of racial abuse and injustice dating back to his childhood. He writes of being in an all-white school and receiving racial harassment, of being intelligent, hardworking and integrity-filled, and how the LAPD unfairly harassed and fired him for reporting a fellow officer’s inappropriate use of violence against a civilian.
While the analogy is far from perfect, what we have here is a real-life “Bigger Thomas.” In Richard Wright’s novel “Native Son,” Bigger is the alienated, rage-filled, victim of American poverty, miseducation, self-hatred and racial persecution that becomes a murderous walking time -bomb to white America. Wright wrote this novel to warn White America of the millions of “Biggers” it was creating. Dorner was not raised in dire poverty, nor is there evidence that he hated himself. However, when we read his account, we see a person who has given up on any hope of justice and is now so isolated, so embittered and so desperate to redeem his name that ALL bets are off, in the same way that ALL BETS ARE OFF when police officers kill innocent men, women and children…or like ALL BETS ARE OFF when American military forces kill innocent people in ruthless drone attacks…
Read Dorner’s letter and you will find a record of racial abuse and injustice dating back to his childhood. He writes of being in an all-white school and receiving racial harassment, of being intelligent, hardworking and integrity-filled, and how the LAPD unfairly harassed and fired him for reporting another officer’s excessive use of violence against a civilian.
Read Dorner discuss how his termination (for telling the truth) led him to lose friends, his stint with the Navy and how he became depressed as a result. Am I suggesting that Dorner’s actions be ignored or excused? No, but I am suggesting that we use our good sense to see that America itself created Dorner and is continuing to mass-produce millions of others through its insensitivity, poverty, greed, injustice, arrogant ignorance, and violence…
Agyei Tyehimba is a former NYC public schoolteacher, co-founder of KAPPA Middle School 215 in the Bronx, NY, and co-author of the Essence Bestselling book, Game Over: The Rise and Transformation of a Harlem Hustler, published in 2007 by Simon & Schuster. Agyei has appeared on C-Span, NY1 News, and most recently on the A&E documentary, “The Mayor of Harlem: Alberto ‘Alpo’ Martinez.” Mr. Tyehimba is a professional consultant and public speaker providing political advice and direction for Black college student organizations, community activist groups, and nonprofit organizations. If you are interested in bringing Agyei to speak or provide consultation for your organization, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.