Saturday, February 16, 2013

Burning Down the House

Trey Smith

"Burn that fuckin' house down...Fucking burn this motherfucker!!"
-- Voices overheard on police radio at the scene of the cabin where Chris Dorner was trapped and burned to death
It was clear from the outset when fired LAPD cop Chris Dorner began wreaking his campaign of vengeance and terror against his former employer that the California law enforcement establishment, led by the LAPD itself, had no interest in Dorner surviving to face trial, where he could continue to rat out the racist and corrupt underbelly of the one of the country’s biggest police departments.

Dorner, as I wrote earlier, claimed he had been fired for speaking up during his three years on the force, through channels and to superior officers, about incidents he had witnessed of police brutality and of the rampant racism that permeates the department -- not just white on black, but black on Asian, Asian on Latino and Latino on white. His response to being sacked -- threatening to kill senior officers he blamed for this law enforcement distopia as well as some of their family members -- was criminally insane, but his complaints, made in a 6000-word post on Facebook, had and continue to have the ring of truth.

The LAPD response to his threats was to mobilize the whole 10,000-member department in a manhunt, complete with $1-million reward. Cops exchanged their black uniforms for military fatigues and armed up with semi-automatic weapons. Two Latino women delivering papers in Torrance were attacked from the rear of their pick-up by seven LAPD cops who, with no warning, peppered their truck with bullets, targeting the back of the driver’s head, firing at least 70 rounds and destroying the vehicle (amazingly, neither woman was killed, though one was hospitalized in serious condition). That attack, which looked like the kind of thing US soldiers and Marines routinely did to suspect vehicles in Iraq with such deadly impact, made it clear that the LAPD wanted Dorner badly, but only dead, not alive and talking.
~ from The LAPD Got their Man How They Wanted Him: Dead by Dave Lindorff ~
As I watched the live reports on CNN, it looked like I was watching war footage from Afghanistan, not a domestic police force. Even before reading Lindorff's article, I thought to myself, "They want this guy dead in the worst way."

There are some similarities (as well as dissimilarities) as to how the scene around Big Bear Lake played out in relation to the Koresh Compound in Waco, Texas several years back. In both cases, the suspect or suspects were surrounded. All the authorities needed to do was to wait them out. In both cases, however, the authorities forced the issue and a fire enveloped the structure[s]. Instead of making arrests, the authorities sent in the forensic team to carry out charred remains in body bags.

In the case of Dorner, he may have ended his own life in the raging inferno, but he was going to end up dead one way or the other. If he didn't allegedly blow his own brains out, he would have burned to death or have been shot on sight the moment he stepped outside of the burning building. You don't amass an army of trained sharpshooters with the idea of placing someone in handcuffs.

This overall situation is sad. It is sad that Dorner appeared to be the victim of rampant racism and injustice in the LAPD. It is sad that he channeled his rage into killing others in cold blood. It is sad that the police meted out to Dorner an almost vigilante form of justice. And it is sad that our domestic police forces more and more look and act like military units in theaters of war.

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