Christopher Dorner, Victim

By | February 13, 2013 | 2 Comments

Many people believe that they are victims, and that their victimhood entitles them to vent their anger on others. In some cases, this anger takes the form of rudeness and lack of consideration. In other cases, the anger progresses to domestic abuse or other criminal activity. How much criminal activity? I believe a great deal.
But in some cases, people believe that victimhood entitles them to do anything. Yet when viewed objectively, their victimization may be no worse than that of many other people – who do not vent their anger on others. Hitler was gassed in World War I and briefly blinded. But he recovered, unlike many other soldiers who were permanently blinded, disfigured, or lost limbs. What was there about Hitler’s psychological makeup – and his moral core – that allowed him to view his lesser victimization as a license to incite mass murder of innocents?
This brings us to Christopher Dorner. In 2009, the rookie Los Angeles Police officer accused his female training officer of kicking a mentally challenged suspect. Interestingly, the suspect’s father advised Dorner not to file a complaint. In a TV interview, the father stated that his son’s bruises were slight, and he told Dorner that filing a complaint would damage his career.
The probationary period at the LAPD is 18 months. During this time, a rookie officer can be summarily fired. Taking this into consideration, and in view of the mild injuries to the suspect, if they were in Dorner’s place, most people would have shut their mouths. But Dorner didn’t.
Was this because Dorner had a more acute sense of right and wrong? Or was this because he was a narcissist who demanded that the world be arranged according to his specifications? The latter is correct, as shown by his recent rant that he would keep on killing until his “name is cleared.” This was a person – I won’t say a man – who believed that his “name” was worth more than the lives of innocent human beings.
His narcissism reached the point that he imagined he could clear his name by murdering anyone he pleased. We talk glibly about “self-esteem.” We encourage unearned self-esteem in children. We give trophies to both the winning and the losing teams. But we forget that unearned self-esteem is narcissism. Even worse, we forget that in the extreme, narcissism merges into sociopathy. In fact, criminals tend to have high self esteem. Dorner was a classical example.
Those who – for ideological reasons – push the self-esteem movement should remember Dorner. Those who – for political reasons – encourage whole groups to see themselves as victims should remember Dorner. It would be going too far to blame these people for creating Dorner. The one to blame is Dorner himself. Otherwise, we fall into the error of blaming everyone except the guilty – an error that is common among so-called progressives.
Nevertheless, we all should examine our consciences. When we encourage unearned self-esteem, and when we allow kids to grow up as self-obsessed narcissists, we are running the risk of creating more Dorners.
Note the contradictions here. Dorner waited two weeks before reporting the alleged misdeeds of his training officer. Why? By this time the bruises would have faded, and witnesses would have less clear recollections. Dorner also accused his colleagues of urinating on his equipment bag, a charge that was refuted when the bag was tested in the lab. If you believe you already are a victim, it is easy to believe that people are still victimizing you. Finally, if the LAPD is so corrupt, why did Dorner fight so hard to remain in it?
But what is truly inconceivable is that many fools posted messages supporting Dorner. Murder of innocents is a way to clear one’s name? Really? Dorner murdered a Riverside police officer, Michael Crain, a former Marine who was married and had two small children. Another Riverside officer was seriously injured. But Dorner had nothing against Crain or the Riverside Police Department – just against police in general. Do his supporters imagine that a grievance against particular persons entitles one to take out his anger on a whole group? Though Dorner is black, this line of thinking leads to the KKK – and ultimately to Auschwitz.
In addition to the Riverside officers, who had nothing to do with Dorner’s problems, Dorner also murdered Monica Quan, the daughter of the police captain who defended him at his hearing, as well as her fiancé, Keith Lawrence. Quan was Chinese American and a college basketball coach. Lawrence was African American and a security officer at USC.
Finally, Dorner shot two San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies, one fatally. Again, this agency had nothing to do with his problems. What bizarre reasons will his fans give in an attempt to justify this episode? Stay tuned.
If Dorner had murdered only the white police officer, one might attribute the support for him to a twisted sense of racial solidarity and victimhood. But he also murdered another African American and an Asian American. To me this makes his defenders totally inexplicable. But perhaps I underestimated the power of victimhood. Perhaps, in its extreme form, it can be misused to justify any actions, no matter how appalling and irrational.
Oh wait, maybe there is an explanation. Dorner’s rant on the Internet expressed admiration for President and Mrs. Obama, for the Clintons, and for liberal commentators on MSNBC and CNN, as well as support for gun control and contempt for the NRA. That is, he expressed standard liberal views. Apparently that makes him eligible for support, despite his murder spree. How revealing.
But imagine what would have happened if Dorner’s rant had expressed conservative views. The media would have heaped blame on conservatives in general, and on the Tea Party and the NRA in particular. They would have screamed that conservatism created Dorner. But since he expressed liberal views, the media maintain a stony silence. What better evidence could there be of media bias?
In short, Dorner’s anger at the man who tried to defend him, but was unsuccessful, was so great that he murdered the man’s daughter and her fiancé in order to cause his defender the greatest pain. But this truly evil, sadistic act is justified by many on the Internet. How inexpressibly sad.
How many millions of people feel – rightly or wrongly – that they were mistreated at work or elsewhere? I do, and with at least as good a reason as Dorner. Yet I and almost all the others somehow restrain ourselves from running around murdering innocent human beings. Indeed, we restrain ourselves from harming the specific individuals we blame for our problems.
In the end, Dorner took refuge in a mountain cabin. When tear-gas canisters set the cabin on fire, a single shot was heard. Dorner apparently committed suicide. No one can know his last thought, but quite likely it was of how he was still being victimized.
Crime is interesting. Murder is fascinating. But it may be time for us to pay less attention to the violent minority, and pay more attention to the nonviolent majority. It may be time for us to pay less attention to what motivates people to do evil, and pay more attention to what motivates people to do good – or at least inhibits them from doing evil.
Instead of dwelling further on Christopher Dorner, whose sense of victimization induced him to do evil, let us spend some time considering the wise words of Dr. Benjamin Carson, who also grew up in poverty with a single mother, and who also experienced racism. But Carson’s lack of a sense of victimization allowed him to achieve greatness – and do whatever good he could in this world. That is what should occupy our attention.
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