Christopher Dorner: 10 Honest, Borderline Embarrassing Thoughts about his Life and Death. : ThyBlackMan

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Christopher Dorner: 10 Honest, Borderline Embarrassing Thoughts about his Life and Death.

February 14, 2013 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( Like the rest of the country, I found myself curious about the unfortunate events involving late Christopher Dorner.  He was, like myself, an angry black man.  He also appeared to have a good reason to be angry, since the LAPD is one of the most notoriously racist and abusive police departments in the country.   But the way Chris expressed his anger was a bit unconventional, turning him into one of the most wanted human beings in American history.

Here are a set of honest thoughts I had about Christopher Dorner, as I watched this law-abiding patriot transformed into an alleged danger and menace to society.

1)      Was the LAPD trying to kill him?  First, there was the incident during which a 71-year old woman found her truck (and herself) riddled with bullets by overzealous LAPD officers who didn’t seem to want to give her a chance to surrender.  I’m sure that if they’d stopped the old woman and asked her to “come out with your hands up,” she wouldn’t have given them muchChristopherDorner resistance.  Then, of course, there was the cabin that the LAPD “accidentally” burned down with Dorner inside it.  My question is: Why were they so quick to go for the kill?  The convenient reality here is that dead men don’t talk.

2)      Nearly conscious black person can identify with Christopher Dorner, including myself:  As much as we might want to pretend that we have nothing in common with Dorner, the fact is that most black Americans know the pain that he experienced:  Being fired from your job for no reason, being told that you were “out of line” when you actually tried to do the right thing, watching police do horrible things to the people you love, without you being able to do anything about it.  Yes, Dorner was an uncommon man, but he went through a very common set of racist experiences.  The fact that he chose to retaliate with violence should NOT be used as an excuse to delegitimize the concerns brought forth in his manifesto.

3)      Christopher Dorner and Barack Obama represent two Black Americas:  As Yvette Carnell stated, “Having one black man on national television as the most powerful human being on the planet, and another as a dangerous fugitive on the same night is a telling way to describe the dual reality for millions of black people across America.”  The election of a bi-racial president served as a tremendous source of pride, but this election did nothing to take away the day-to-day struggle that many of us feel while trying to breathe underneath the massive weight of unaddressed, pervasive, institutionalized racism. The Obama family’s success has been wonderful for some, but the majority of black America continues to struggle.

4)      The LAPD should be made to answer for Dorner’s manifesto:  It’s not as if anything that Dorner said about the inner workings of the LAPD lacks credibility.  Before he died, Christopher Dorner was detailed and precise in his description of what he saw behind the blue wall.  The efforts to kill Dorner before he could talk and to write him off as a deranged lunatic are really meant to distract us from real and meaningful evidence that the LAPD is what it has always been:  A corrupt and racist organization.  Even one of Dorner’s fellow officers is speaking out, stating that nearly everything Christopher Dorner said is absolutely correct.  Is the other officer going to be labeled a lunatic too?

5)      Dorner didn’t appear to be crazy, just obsessive:  The media’s decision to portray Christopher Dorner as a maniac is largely due to our desire to make sense of a situation where someone has killed for reasons we do not understand.  In all of his fanaticism, Christopher Dorner reminded me of many outstanding people I know:  The wide-eyed All-pro  linebacker who is determined to stop you from scoring a touchdown, the overzealous Secret Service Officer who will take a bullet for the president in a second, or the angry 50-year old woman whose husband left her for the 25-year old babysitter.  We’ve seen this kind of rage before, but we don’t always see this kind of rage in the face of a trained killer.   For anyone h**l bent on oppression, the only thing scarier than an angry black man is a highly intelligent angry black man who is not afraid to use a gun.

6)      Killing is only immoral if people don’t think it’s for the right reasons:  Christopher Dorner was trained to kill by the United States government. Nearly every tactic he used to evade and attack police officers would have earned him numerous medals had they been used against soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan (in fact, Dorner had received awards for his military service).  So, the idea that someone is crazy because they choose to kill doesn’t make sense, given that we have hundreds of thousands of trained killers in our country.  The difference with Dorner is that he did not possess a popular cause that gave him permission to retaliate against his enemies, and even I would not have suggested that he kill in response to his frustrations.  At the same time, the irresponsible actions of Dorner’s superiors created a man who had nothing to lose.  This was an unfortunate waste of talent.

7)      Dorner actually reminds people of what it means to be a soldier:  For every rapper who claims to be “gangsta,” they should probably realize that they don’t know the first thing about what that really means.  As Christopher Dorner explains in his manifesto, the LAPD should be most concerned about him because a) he was well-trained, b) he was determined to meet his objectives, and c) he was willing to die.  There was a reason Dorner was so readily-admitted into the military and police establishment; it was because he was a perfect fit.

8)      The million dollar reward and use of drones to find Christopher Dorner tells us something about police elitism:  One of the biggest reasons for persistent brutality and disrespect by rogue cops is this belief that an officer’s life is more valuable than the rest of us.   There is also a false perception that officers are more honest than regular citizens, which makes it difficult to get governments to take brutality claims seriously.   Had Dorner killed a bunch of random people who were not police officers (or related to them), the reward wouldn’t have been one-tenth of what it was.  Had he been wanted for killing a group of black people, there probably would never have been a reward issued at all and scant resources would have been used to try to capture him.  Even though several people knew who killed my best friend Greg Wilkins 15 years ago, police barely looked for his murderer.  Police don’t usually work for black people, and typically work against us.

9)      I would have loved for Christopher Dorner to have a chance to tell his story:  Of course we all knew that the LAPD wasn’t going to bring Dorner in alive.  I knew that from the moment they shot up a 71-year old woman without even giving her an appropriate opportunity to identify herself.  Also, bringing him in and convicting him would have forced the LAPD to pay the million dollar reward for “information leading to the arrest and conviction” of Dorner (since dead men don’t get convicted).  But had Christopher Dorner been able to talk, he could have helped blow the roof off of one of the most corrupt police organizations in American history.  Many lives would have been saved in the process.

10)   Dorner is not the biggest killer in all of this:  As much as the media will surely make Dorner out to be the sole bad guy, the reality is that the LAPD has killed more innocent people than Christopher Dorner ever could.   So, for the LAPD to talk about Dorner as a crazed killer, the fact is that this would be the pot calling the kettle black.  How many people have been killed or falsely convicted due to LAPD practices?  How many grieving families are out there who’ve been victimized by rogue cops within this organization?  How many good cops have had their careers ruined for speaking out about the corruption?  Now that Christopher Dorner is dead, the world may never know.

My final question is one that I am not sure how to answer:  What if you were a black police officer who confronted Christopher Dorner, and he said, “I’m not going to hurt you, I’m only angry at them for the things that you and I both know that they’ve been doing to our people.”  What would you do?  Most of us don’t quite know the answer to that question, and I am one of them.

Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins 

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  For more information, please visit



20 Responses to “Christopher Dorner: 10 Honest, Borderline Embarrassing Thoughts about his Life and Death.”
  1. Robin Clark says:

    Thos of you commenting have gone WAY off track. I wish this was as simple as a race issue. It is indicative of the pathological society in which we live. Our administration at the National, State and local levels is CORRUPT. They make up rules and laws as they go, to serve their own interests. When in fact, they were elected and hired to SERVE. Merriam Webster defines serve as the following:
    a : to be a servant
    b : to do military or naval service
    : to assist a celebrant as server at mass
    a : to be of use
    b : to be favorable, opportune, or convenient
    c : to be worthy of reliance or trust
    d : to hold an office : discharge a duty or function

    Now I ask you people did the LAPD “serve” anyone? Other than themselves? No, they did not. They violated our Bill of rights and Constituion by killing instead of trial by jury which is the gold standard in our country. That is why I am outraged, and you should be too. The two women gunned down by five officers in LA who were delivering papers were gunned down without warning. The five officers involved in that ambush were REWARDED not reprimanded. Think about it. It could have been your sister and mother. LAPD needs a complete revamp,me must locate others who understand what a privilege it is to SERVE and who actually serve as leaders. It was a complete abuse of power the way this entire scenario played out. That in turn, sets might be next unless you open your eyes, unite and REFORM.

  2. John says:

    I know where you are coming from Steph. People who think that they accept us in the job market are stupid, blind, hypocritical and/or naive. This article speaks volume of what is still going on. Racism has no place in the 21st century!!! It is horrible that we still have to work with redneck morons!!!

  3. Steph says:

    You seem to be a very judgemental person, so-called “Black Beauty”. I do not have to listen to your advice, you are not qualified for it anyway. I do not agree with what Dorner did if it is true by the way what they say about him but he was a Black man who believed by doing the right thing he could make it in the “system”. He didn’t not have the right support and got a nervous breakdown. With my own experience and others, I know the pressure the mainstream can put on you to crack! I am building my own business to make sure that I will never have to work again with rednecks!

  4. BlackBeauty says:

    @ Steph,

    Apparently you are suffering pain from being raped, and please know that I did not in any way compare your being raped to our ancestors, so please do not go there. If YOU can read then you would not have written that foolish statment.

    Again, my main thrust was not about your being raped! It was about one being involved in the struggles that are already going on to try to bring justice and end the racist “procedures” of the LAPD, LAFD or any other police or fire department across the country, not just LA, and there are many people fighting the good fight!

    While I can feel sorry for your being raped, it is on you to get the help you may need to over-come your anguish/pain. Rape is never ok no matter what race/color the person commiting the crime. Would you have felt better had it been black men who raped you? I think not.

    Get yourself some help and stop with the drama.Something tells me you have not lived long enopugh to even know what the real struggle is all about. On that note I will not respond to you again because it appears that you have issues far deeper than the Dorner incident.

    Good luck!

  5. Steph says:

    In my last comment, I wanted to write instead: “A weapon used by Whites for centuries to destroy us”,

  6. Steph says:


    I was right I felt that you have noooo empathy. I seriously doubt that you have been abused sexually by a White man at the age of 10. A tool used by Whites for centuries to destroy us. You don’t know me, you have no idea how I reached out, if I started something, etc. Don’t you dare compare my experience to our ancestors. Being abused once is already too much and if you know how to read it was more than once in my case. Nooo female should go through this. I observed for too long that many Blacks have a tendency to sugarcoat our pain by saying well what our ancestors went through was worse. How dare you? It seems that the world welcome the pain of Jews much more than us and you seem to be one of them. I don’t feel they are superior to us because they are White. WWII was not even for ten years. For us, it has been centuries and we are still being despised worldwide so we have every right to express our pain and anger!!!

  7. BlackBeauty says:

    @ Steph,
    You are sick of it!
    I do not know your age range, however millions of black folks who came way before you were sick of it as well, but they endured the most awful mis-treatment that one can imagine. You are sick of it! Well what are YOU doing about it besides being sick of it?
    You are wrong! There are many who are still in the struggle to end racism, and there always will be. All one has to do is get involved! It is not only “church”. Where in the world do you live! Look around you! Reach out! Get involved! Start a movement/dialogue yourself!
    Don’t know if you caught the NAACP Awards but we all need to listen to the words of Mr. Belafonte when he stated that we have not done our part!
    Talk is cheap! Do something!!

  8. Steph says:

    I don’t believe that we have soooo much support. For me, it is obvious that Chris was psychology distressed by being isolated, etc. It seems the only support in the Black community we have is church and to me it didn’t give me any comfort with the sexual assaults I had to go through. Our problems are very complex and making prayers is far from being enough!!! To be honest, it makes me sick to live in a White society and I am sure I am not the only one. Do I need to remind you that we are the only ones who have been forced to be on this continent, being exploited, etc. I am sick of it!!!

  9. BlackBeauty says:

    @ Steph,

    You said you were abused by white, but you did not kill anyone, especially innocent people! It is hard for me to understand why he would kill others unless he has a mental issue. And especially hard to understand why he would murder a young brother!
    My main thrust was that there were so many other ways he could have voiced his experience with LAPD or whomever, and perhaps joined in the struggle to end racism, or at least got an open and honest dialogue started. Murder is never a way to resolve anything no matter what race/color. Black folk have suffered too long and too hard and have come a long way. The murder of innocent hunman beings is just wrong! And, you are wrong, I have walked in his shoes, so have millions of other black folks.

  10. Steph says:

    Audre Lorde said: “Oppressors always expect the oppressed to extend to them the understanding so lacking in themselves”

  11. Steph says:


    Obviously, you didn’t go through hell with White people. I did! I never killed anyone but believe me if someone gave me a gun and I had to face again one of the five White men who sexually abused me since the age of 10, I don’t know what I would do. It is always easy to criticise when you are not in someone else’s shoes!!!

  12. BlackBeauty says:

    Sorry I disagree with much of your commentary.

    It is hard for me to have sympathy for a man who made the choice to nmurder innocent people, and in fact an innocent young brother who did nothing to him.

    Black folk have sufferdn racism in this country since we first got off the boat, but our ancestors (for the most part) did not murder others to gain respect or to remedy the situation. They stood up, they fought in many other ways so life could be better for those coming after them.
    The LAPD & LAFD have had racism in their departments/organization for decades, and no black man have murdered innocent human beings behind it, or behind being fired.
    This man clearly had some mental issues behind being a police officer, and he apparently confused his worth with his employment. Yes, he was trained by the US Government, as was millions of other men of all races. There is no need to try to make this man into some type of hero! He was a coward who could not and would not stand up and fight the good fight along with others who are trying to do something about it! He took the cowards way out by killing himself!

    He did present his case! Has anyone ever considered he may have been wrong? There was so many others he could have reached out to to present his case. Whay take the lives of innocent people?

    Sorry, this man was not a man that we should even be remotely holding up as some type of hero!

  13. Steph says:

    The lesson that we have to take from this tragedy is the fact that young Black people need support from experienced mentors in our community. I know how the mainstream operates. If you are a Black policeman, a Black social worker and so on, they give you the worst and most dangerous cases which can create a lot of stress. I am sure this is what they did to Dorner who felt isolated with no support!!! I could write a book about how the mainstream is behaving toward Blacks on the job market in corporate America, etc. They can do everything to make you sick!!! This has to stop! When you complain, nobody is there to support you. It is disgusting!!!

  14. Steph says:

    The lesson that we have to take from this tragedy is the fact that young Black people need support from experienced mentors in our community. I know how the mainstream operates. If you are a Black policeman, a social worker and so on they gave you the worst and most dangerous cases which can create a lot of stress. I am sure this is what they did to Dorner who felt isolated with no support!!! I could write a book about how the mainstream is behaving toward Blacks on the job market in corporate America, etc. They can do everything to make you sick!!! This has to stop! When you complain, nobody is there to support you. It is disgusting!!!

  15. Susan says:

    I hope that other people will continue to denounce what the racist police and other racist institutions do to our people!!! Maybe one day, I will write my own book and you can be sure that it will be a bomb!!!

  16. Kaolin says:

    Thanks for such an honest and comprehensive article. ~ Kaolin

  17. musings says:

    I don’t think Dorner was crazy or delusional, but he admitted himself that he was depressed. When he embarked on his mission, one which no doubt sent waves of terror through the LAPD, he must have known there was no going back and that in the end they would kill him. I see him as a person who applied his military training to the enemy at home, the LAPD which had not only turned on him, but demonstrated racism and brutality. How different was he from someone interpreting the RICO law to say that everyone in a corrupt organization is equally responsible for its crimes as co-conspirators?

    From my standpoint, I am sorry to see this man killed. He had the capability of waking up his conscience again. How could he have killed that young couple? If he wasn’t in such a state, wouldn’t he have said that doing something like that wasn’t in his character? He set out to clear his own name, and it looks like he ruined it for all time, in spite of all the people sympathizing with his sense of wrong. I think of how the Irish largely sympathized with the IRA, no matter who died in their bombings in England, because they basically were being oppressed by the British, and had been for centuries, in weird and horrible ways, while being exactly the same color as their oppressors, but being deliberately forced to live at a lower level. This would explain Dorner’s type of appeal as well. In a time of poverty, the common people always loved the highwayman who robbed the stagecoaches. Dorner’s that kind of antihero, a good-looking man with many acts of bravery to his credit, well-schooled and clever in his speech as it appears on Facebook.

    He’s like a Hollywood scriptwriter who didn’t wait around to have his manuscript accepted and made into a movie. He jumped right in and did it so that others would communicate it all for him. In that sense, he’s like the neocon who said to someone he’d rather make history than study it. Dorner shut his books and jumped in. And that’s where he was doing what so many others wanted to do – from his military years to his policeman days. But he ran into the wall that always waits at the end of something like that.

    The tragic flaw is that he never got to the point where he could identify with his victims and spare them – especially the young couple. But the plot called for this first blood, and he took it.

  18. Robin Clark says:

    I am a white professional woman, and I am OUTRAGED how quickly they set this man on fire. They have treated serial killers and terrorists who have killed hundreds with greater dignity and respect. I find it disgusting. Further, many years ago ( during my young stupid late 20’s) I dated an LA police officer, and befriended another LA police officers wife and we were close for almost a decade. The LAPD is completely corrupt, and anyone who thinks otherwise is plain stupid. The cops are the worst criminals. They lie, steal, abuse, kill, and get away with it. It is a total abuse of power, and we remain powerless because we accept this behavior. Beck and Villaraigosa should be hung at a public hearing for reinforcing this abuse of power, justifying their actions which show ZERO respect for human life. So killing Dorner for killing others is right? Like my mamma always said, ” two wrongs don’t make a right”

  19. Jewel says:

    This is the very first article I’ve read by Thy Black Man which offers an intelligent perspective on an important subject!! Thank you, keep doing it to this level!!!

  20. Philip Green says:

    Great premise. What a sad dichotomy he tried to breach.

    A Black man, so eager to be defined simply as a “man”, yet constantly barraged with the stinging slings of racial insults and euphemism that would deny him his assimilation into a world that reminded him at every turn he was the other. Perhaps he could never reconcile that despite how hard he tried, how many accomplishments and eschewing of “typical Blackl behavior”, he was still an “Invisible Man” bereft of white privilege and entree into a world he craved — and always and forever a “Nigger”.

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