Dorner Was a Vigilante, and Vigilantism Is Inexcusable

Regardless of the wrongs one perceives have been done upon him, resorting to unlawful violence is never acceptable and should never be excused.

Many articles have been and continue to be written about Christopher Jordan Dorner, the tragic person who, as of this writing, is credited with killing fully half of all of the police officers that have been murdered by gunfire so far this year throughout the United States.

Every conceivable angle is being discussed and debated as millions around the country, but especially in Southern California, try to make some sort of sense of the horrific events of the past two weeks during which Dorner decided to wage a one-man war against many LAPD employees and affiliates, and law enforcement in general.

The background facts are known. In 2008, Dorner was fired from LAPD. In 2009, after having exhausted all of the appeals he had a right to lodge, Dorner's firing was upheld and he was permanently separated from the department. According to his rambling 6000-word manifesto (attached), Dorner felt his reputation had been unfairly besmirched by his termination and for that alleged injustice it fell to him to somehow seek and achieve justice through violence.

Dorner became a vigilante.

Regardless of the wrongs one perceives have been done upon him, resorting to unlawful violence in response is never acceptable and can never be excused. Our nation and its people thrive, in large part, due to our system of justice and the right of all to due process.

Somewhere along the line, despite the oaths he once took both as a military officer and a police officer, young Dorner became severely confused and began to believe that his right to due process also somehow guaranteed him a right to a full measure of whatever it is he believed to be justice.

As flawed and failing humans, we can not always achieve a full measure of justice, no matter how hard we may try. We can seek justice, we can aspire toward justice, and sometimes we can even actually achieve justice but justice is never guaranteed.

If it were, four people, three of them law enforcement officers, would not now be dead...murdered, allegedly, at the hands of Dorner himself. Not only did Dorner deny Ms. Monica Quan, USC Officer Keith Lawrence, Riverside Officer Michael Crain, and San Bernardino Deputy Jeremiah Mackay justice but he also denied them their own rights to due process in legal defense of whatever "crimes" Dorner believed them guilty.

Dorner not only deprived these four people -none of whom had a single thing to do with his firing- of access to due process or a chance for justice of their own, he also deprived all of their family members and friends access to due process before they were deprived of those they loved. He also deprived those he attacked and grievously injured but did not kill.

Through his choices, Dorner also denied his own friends and loved ones their right to continue to have him in their lives. Instead they are left behind, feeling unfairly obligated to express sympathies and condolences on his behalf. Yes, how very thoughtful of Christopher Jordan Dorner toward those who cared for him the most.

In the midst of his confused and violent self-assumed "victimhood", Dorner deprived many others of the very same things he claimed others had deprived him of...due process, justice, their names, and their lives.

Whenever a police officer files an appeal of discipline (including termination) he or she also agrees to accept the decisions that the various appeal boards may render. Rather than accept these decisions, Dorner instead chose to become a vigilante.

Rather than simply accept that due process in his case did not provide justice -as he defined it- and seek some way to get on with his life in some productive and meaningful way, he instead fixated upon becoming a victim and on targeting others for violent retaliation.

So far this year, throughout the United States, six police officers have been murdered by gunfire. Christopher Jordan Dorner is alleged to have murdered half of them.

This does not make Dorner any sort of hero and despite his lengthy list of perceived injustices, it does not make him to any degree sympathetic or righteous.

In the end, it just makes him a lawless vigilante and a callous multiple murderer.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Donna Burns February 18, 2013 at 03:44 AM
Mr. Greet, how do you feel about Dorner asking for the LAPD to clear his name, stating there would be no violence at his hand if they would just admit that cop kicked the man in handcuffs in the chest and face ? Don't you think that would have been worth it ? Sure he was mentally unstable, but what ever happened to "talking someone down" ? Quans' daughters life certainly was worth doing that wasn't it ? In hindsight I wonder if ANY of these cops regret their actions ? It would have been SO.......easy to just talk to him and be truthful. Mr Quan I would bet has 20/20 hindsight and will undoubtedly regret this the rest of his life. Covering for an abusive cop has cost a lot of people their loved ones and the taxpayers millions for an unneeded manhunt....words...just words ...
John B. Greet February 18, 2013 at 04:07 AM
Ruehle: I addressed this concern of yours when you first raised it here yesterday. I willingly admitted to having been premature in my belief that I would no longer blog here and expressed gratitude that Nancy still appears willing to publish my offerings. If you dislike what I have to say, why not assume some personal responsibility for that and simply avoid reading it?
JustUs February 18, 2013 at 04:20 AM
Donna, I have no idea how Greet thinks about this, but I bet there are some out there who would rather have LAPD deny Dorner a review of his case and, let's say, order polygraphs of all those involved in that incident involving the said 'assault under the color of authority', than to prevent the murders. The 'circle the wagons' mentality can really go to extremes sometimes in organizations that use secrecy as their shield. Unfortunately Dorner has a lower tolerance level than most people. It would seem that LAPD's hiring selection procedures (background, polygraph, psych eval, etc...) would have caught this, but it failed. Which makes me wonder how many other nuts work for LAPD?
John B. Greet February 18, 2013 at 04:21 AM
Hi Donna: I have a problem with anyone dictating terms to others under penalty of unlawful violence for failure to comply. This is what is known as extortion and submitting to such demands is akin to agreeing to negotiate with a terrorist. Also, as I understand the timeline, Dorner had already begun his killing spree when his manifesto demanding action became public. In fact what he did was commence his murder spree and then demand certain action of others as his price for stopping. Is that really what we should do after a murderer kills someone? Whatever he asks so long as he agrees to stop killing? Truly? I could certainly understand trying to "talk Dorner down" from his threats if the only person he was threatening were himself. That was not the case. Like so many other multiple murderers, he only turned the gun on himself when he felt he had no other option but to do so. Would that he had actually started with himself and spared the lives of four people who had nothing at all to do with his grievances. Dorner didn't allow anyone a chance to talk to him. He murdered all four of his victims from ambush. There was no opportunity for negotiation. Again I return to my thesis: Nothing justifies or excuses the decisions Dorner made and the actions (and lives) he took. Nothing.
JustUs February 18, 2013 at 04:32 AM
Greet, I must say I do have some respect for you insofar as your willingness to respond to your reader's comments. Many authors of blog articles would not come back on-line and provide answers (however flawed they might be) to their questions or comments. So for that I commend you. You do not run away and hide under your desk. And that is commendable. With that said, I do disagree with you vigorously on this subject matter and I do think that you refuse to think objectively or with a clear head with regard to our wider concerns here. I suspect you may have some built-in biases that preclude such an approach. And I think such a mentality contributes to many of the problems that we face in society today, on a collective level. Enjoy your evening.
JustUs February 18, 2013 at 04:47 AM
"Again I return to my thesis: Nothing justifies or excuses the decisions Dorner made and the actions (and lives) he took." Shallow thinking that avoids what sparked the fuse. While what Dorner did is inexcusable, it is well worth reviewing the practices that pushed him over the edge, so perhaps this tragedy could be prevented from replaying itself in the future. Ignoring it is irresponsible, IMO. It is basically saying 'We will only punish the act and refuse to look at the cause'. That does not solve or prevent anything. Very sad point of view.
Watts February 18, 2013 at 03:22 PM
It wasn't in the article itself, but in John's comments afterwards, to the article... "...Ruehle has expressed some concerns about this my last column for the Patch." "I cannot be responsible for how my last column for the Patch might sound to Ruehle." Not that I have any issue that it was not his last blog or that he didn't abruptly pack up and leave CA because the elections didn't go the way that he liked. I don't know how many people took any of that seriously. It was John's "Robert Altman" moment. His declaration that if things don't go his way, that he is packing up his toys and leaving. John was just being another in a long line of reactionaries that come out of both political fringes; who put forth melodramatic screeds regarding how personally life altering the results of an election were for them.
John B. Greet February 18, 2013 at 03:38 PM
Watts: You seem to be laboring under the misapprehension that I did not move from California. I did. I have simply agreed to continue offering columns for The Patch to consider publishing. California will always be the place I was born. I just no longer live there. And what has any of this to do with my thesis concerning Dorner?
John B. Greet February 18, 2013 at 03:47 PM
Thanks, Just. I appreciate your comments, and even your opinions. I just happen to disagree with them. As I've said several times now, I am quite content with that situation. My goal was achieved when Nancy proved willing to publish my column on this topic and to allow me to continue to engage as respecfully as possible with anyone who saw fit to comment. We all have biases, predispositions, and prejudices. Mine are most certainly in favor of professional law enforcement (and *only* the professional sort.) Honest people will acknowledge these and seek to engage in meaningful and intelligent debate despite them. You seem to have developed this idea that I have not considered any of the points you have seen fit to raise or that I am not concerned with them. Each point you raised has merit, just not in the context of my thesis. As you know, I have been openly discussing some of your points with you elsewhere. Here, however, the scope is limited to whether a person's resorting to unlawful violence can ever be excused or seen as acceptable. My thesis is that it cannot. Thanks again for reading!
Watts February 18, 2013 at 04:45 PM
I thought that it was pretty obvious that my comments had nothing to do with Dorner. I also remembered how you said that was going to be your last blog, which was the only reason I clicked on this, because I was surprised to see that you continued. Then when Rhuele had confused your statements from your comments, as having been from the body of the actual blog, I was just trying to clarify this. So you didn't pull an Altman, as much as you pulled a Johnny Depp (who actually did leave for France). But the follow through or not doesn't change the fact that it was a post election, reactionary, melodramatic screed. People who can uproot their whole family seemingly (based on that article) because of their personal political convictions, confound me. I don't care if it is Johnny Depp moving to France or you moving to a red state. I need a far better reason than to be surrounded with ideological doppelgangers, to determine where I will or won't live.
John B. Greet February 18, 2013 at 05:02 PM
Thanks, Watts. I appreciate that you believe my reasons for moving out of California are not sufficient for you to have taken the same steps. Consider, however, that neither you nor anyone else here knows all of my reasons for moving. You only know what I have disclosed publicly and, so, your understanding of my choices is necessarily limited. Despite this, I do not begrudge you your own choices for your own life. Why do you seem to begrudge me mine? I do not judge you for choosing to stay in California. That choice clearly works best for you and yours. My choice works best for me and mine. Can that not be sufficient for you? And again, what has any of this to do with my thesis concerning Dorner?
John B. Greet February 18, 2013 at 05:24 PM
"Shallow thinking that avoids what sparked the fuse." The only thing that "sparked the fuse" was Dorner's finger on the triggers, each time he made a conscious choice to pull them and kill or wound others. Dorner's reasons for doing so are interesting and worthy of consideration well after the fact...perhaps they will help mental health professionals better understand the severely emotionally disturbed...but they in no way mitigate or to any degree lessen the wrongfullness of his actions. In court, a person's motives can have considerable applicability at sentencing upon conviction, but they have *no* bearing on the fact of whether or not they committed the crime(s) for which they have been charged. Context, JustUs, context. Such a tragedy may very well recur. Otherwise good people sometimes sink into despair and lawlessness and make a conscious choice to unlawfully use force against others and no matter what others may do they will not be dissuaded. We should do our very best to make our systems of justice and due process as fair and as honest as we can make them. Beyond that, we should do our best to screen law enforcement and military applicants as carefully as we can before teaching them skills that can one day be misused to harm others unlawfully. But at some point no matter what anyone else does, people like Dorner will have to make a conscious decision to either become a murderer or to not. The rest of us can only react to their choice.
Mike Ruehle February 18, 2013 at 06:45 PM
Watts, You are mistaken. Originally it was stated in the body of Greets 11/7/12 blog that it would be his last Patch blog, not just his comments. That statement has since been removed from the body of the blog so he wouldn't have to explain why he has written two more Patch Blogs since then.
CDC February 18, 2013 at 06:59 PM
You are wrong! He was not a vigilante, he was killing ALL innocent people. He was not doing rogue law enforcement! Big difference! Look it up... A vigilante (pron.: /ˌvɪdʒɪˈlænti/, /ˌvɪdʒɪˈlænteɪ/; Spanish: [bixiˈlante]; Portuguese: [viʒiˈlɐ̃t(ɨ)], [viʒiˈlɐ̃tʃi]) is an individual or group who undertakes law enforcement without legal authority.[1] The LAPD and San Bernardino Sheriffs were also on a revenge quest for Dorner killing their officers. Take your pick. Two wrongs don't make a right. The cops are still guilty for trying to burn him to death on purpose.
John B. Greet February 18, 2013 at 07:24 PM
Ruehle, the trivia you sometimes fixate upon is very amusing. Can you prove that anything has been removed from the text of my column published on 11/7/12? Or, as I suspect, are you simply making a claim that you know you *can't* prove, knowing full well that there's really no way to disprove it either? You've always been quite adept at making groundless accusations that you then challenge your various targets to disprove. what possible purpose what it serve for the Patch to remove textual content from any column *after* it has already been published? I have willingly conceded that my intent was for that column to be my last but that my intent proved pre-mature. So? And what has any of this to do with my thesis concerning Dorner?
Shore Resident February 18, 2013 at 07:28 PM
Mr. Ruehle, does it really matter what Mr, Greet said in November? Does he not have the right to express his opinions (you have adamantly asserted your right to do so many times in the past)? Further, if his opinions and comments were, indeed, solicited by the Patch, then I for one have no issues whatsoever with his continued contributions. I don't always agree with Mr. Greet, though I find his comments well thought out and free of conspiracy theories. Signed, Not Don Thomas
JustUs February 18, 2013 at 07:36 PM
"The LAPD and San Bernardino Sheriffs were also on a revenge quest for Dorner killing their officers. Take your pick. Two wrongs don't make a right. The cops are still guilty for trying to burn him to death on purpose" Don't try to reason, CDC. Humans are often blinded by their affilations. Humans love rooting for the home team. Americans in particular. The right or wrong of it doesn't even enter into the picture. Right or wrong is irrelevant. It's all about winning, friend. And if you can win while being wrong you are still a winner and a hero. Yes, that sounds very strange. Sometimes the truth is strange. Some creatures reproduce without even kissing or touching one another. Did you know that? heh. Go figure. But even so, many live more civilized lives that we humans do. hah. :^)
JustUs February 18, 2013 at 07:43 PM
If you want to live in a make-believe world with your own concocted rules of what's right and wrong, be my guest. We allow that in this country. If you want to take one small slice from the pie and examine it with a microscope what ignoring the rest, you have that right too. But the rest of us don't have to buy into it and we can point to it after the fact and call it foolish. That is our unalienable right. In that respect we live in a wonderful world. Have a splendid Monday.
Mike Ruehle February 18, 2013 at 08:00 PM
I think it demonstrates the lack of integrity of an individual when he does something four months later that he said he would never do. Furthermore, rather than apologize for the flip-flop, which might be understandable, Greet parses words to make it appear as if he never made the statement. Greet may not have removed the statement from his blog himself, but someone did. Most non-cops would have simply said they made a mistake and put it behind them. However, Greet's cop mentality prevents him from admitting he was wrong. I find that lack of integrity and same skewed cop mentality relevant to Greet's entire condemnation of Dorner.
John B. Greet February 19, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Sigh, Just, must you persist in impugning those whose opinions happen to diverge from your own? Must you take disagreement so very personally? Your inference, here, is that unless I agree with you I am living in a "make believe world" according to my "own concocted rules" and that my thesis for this column is "foolish." Why this constant need for disparagement? Why do you seem incapable of simply stating that you disagree with my thesis and let it go at that? Do you have so little faith in your own positions that you feel you must bolster them with petty and childish name-calling? If you are truly so dissatisfied with the content of my column or the quality of my argument, why spend so much of your time complaining? Why not simply write a column of your own on the topic and treat the issue in the manner that *you* most prefer?
John B. Greet February 19, 2013 at 12:56 AM
CDC, it serves no constructive purpose to quibble over definitions. A commonly held general definition of a vigilante is one who takes the law into his own hands, who appoints himself the arbiter and deliverer of justice. If you have an issue with that commonly held definition, you really should take it up with Merriam-Webster, rather than with me. In his rambling manifesto, Dorner said: "I am here to change and make policy...I am here to correct and calibrate your morale compasses to true north." He said: "This will be a war of attrition" and "I am the walking exigent circumstance you created." These and other ramblings tell me that Dorner had, in fact, adopted a vigilante mentality...that he had decided to enforce his own personal vision of justice upon others. You are free to disagree if you like. I am not threatened by your disagreement. "The LAPD...were also on a revenge quest for Dorner killing their officers." Dorner never killed a single LAPD officer so your premise in that regard is entirely false. The agencies (including LAPD) that mobilized in lawful attempts to stop Dorner's killing spree were not seeking vengeance, they were simply doing what the citizens in the respective jurisdictions compensate them to do...find a a violent law-breaker and bring him to justice if at all possible. It was Dorner, and no one else, who ultimately made that impossible.
John B. Greet February 19, 2013 at 01:03 AM
However you choose to deceive yourself is quite fine with me, Ruehle. So long as you also choose to keep reading, I won't complain nor, I'm sure, will Nancy.
JustUs February 19, 2013 at 01:04 AM
"Sigh, Just, must you persist in impugning those whose opinions happen to diverge from your own?" You surely toss that word "impugning" around loosely. By your defintion I can point to many of your comments that apparently 'impugned' either me or someone else. So why not put it to bed? Or does using it make you feel like a big man? "Your inference, here, is that unless I agree with you I am living in a "make believe world" according to my "own concocted rules" and that my thesis for this column is "foolish." No, that is YOUR inference, not mine. Own it too. I am not asking or, God forbid, demanding that you agree with me. I am only asking you as a blog author to consider all aspects of this complicated matter instead of merely cherry picking the parts that support your agenda while disregarding all the other facts. That's all. I don't care if you agree with me. I just want you to acknowledge all the facts. In that respect as a blog author IMO you should be held to a "higher standard" - but I know how "higher standards" are often mythical and that we shouldn't take them seriously. So my bad there. "Why this constant need for disparagement?" Have you taken the time to review some of your previous comments, by chance? You certainly seem to have thin skin for an ex-cop. What's up with that? Would you point out a "disparaging comments" by me? I have copied some of your comments if you would like to enter that discussion.
John B. Greet February 19, 2013 at 01:15 AM
Ok, Just, hold to your own beliefs as you prefer. I am only doing the same after all. The difference between us is that I do not prusume to judge you for yours, while your arguments remain heavily laced with personally judgmental language. Perhaps you do not even see this unfortunate habit in yourself. Wherever you believe I have offered insult, I sincerely apologize. One last clarification and then I must let this go: It is not my responsibility to alter my style of writing to suit you nor to change my method of argument to become more compliant with your personal preferences. I write of and as I choose and so long as Patch editors agree to publish it, my standards and theirs are the only standards I am interested in meeting or exceeding. Your standards are your concern and you remain entirely free to attempt to write your own columns as *you* prefer and/or to not read my articles at all if avoiding them helps you feel more comfortable. So long as you continue reading me, however, I will have met my obligations both to myself and to The Patch. Happy reading!
JustUs February 19, 2013 at 01:29 AM
You need to listen to that police transmission of the BB cabin scene over and over and over again and let it sink in. It's all over the web. I think some have linked it to some of their comments. Voices using obscene and vulgar language and screaming for the burning of the cabin which Dorner occupied. Please go listen to it and afterwards it would be great if you could return and just acknowledge it without making excuses for those individuals who made such demands. That would be great progress. But I am without expectations to preclude disappointment. If it happens I would only consider it a bonus.
John B. Greet February 19, 2013 at 02:10 AM
Sorry. I don't "need" to do anything of the sort. I am quite familiar with the recordings at this point and I have already conceded that I do not consider some of what was said to have been professional at all. Unlike you, however, I am willing to make some concessions (not excuses) for some of those officers given the many hostile rounds being exchanged at the time and that two of their own had just been shot (one murdered). At this point, Just, to know that I may have managed to disappoint you has become the highlight of my day and a true accomplishment. ;-) All done this time. Honest.
JustUs February 19, 2013 at 03:23 AM
"I am willing to make some concessions (not excuses) for some of those officers........" And that's why I entered this discussion with no expectations. I was nearly certain what the response would be. Not 100%. But nearly certain. Your responses seem to be very predictable. "At this point, Just, to know that I may have managed to disappoint you has become the highlight of my day and a true accomplishment. ;-)" Well, I hate to disappoint you that I wasn't disappointed. Please don't take it personally. :^) You strike me as very serious man. How did you survive in police work being so serious? It would seem to me that to last in that business a sense of humor and a thick skin would almost be essential? Even your photo shown near the blog heading looks very very serious. Is that you or is it just the persona that you project? Just curious? I wish you well.
Mike Ruehle February 19, 2013 at 04:20 AM
Two days and counting on PATCH CENSORSHIP of links I posted TWICE demonstrating recently retired Long Beach policed officer John Greet's support of police misconduct. It's OK for Greet to post links in his above blog, but apparently its not acceptable for others to post links indicating how biased the Patch's bloggers are.
John B. Greet February 19, 2013 at 04:23 PM
Honestly, Ruehle, your constant brayish whining has become very tedious. The comment you posted here at 11:43 pm on Saturday, February 16, 2013 includes a link to a Google search you conducted. I'm not really sure what you're complaining about. If you want The Patch to treat you as a columnist then perhaps you should try, you know, writing a column. I have never *once* supported police misconduct and your Google search directs readers to not one single column or article in which I have ever done so. Not one. Not everything you and others believe to be misconduct actually is. Nor, unfortunately, are investigators and prosecutors able to prove all allegations of actual misconduct. Whenever misconduct is proven I always stand right there with other critics loudly condemning it. Always. I did so in the case of Kelly Thomas and I did so in the case of former LBPD officer Brandon Preciado. I have done so consistently, any time an officer or former officer has been found guilty of crimes or other misconduct. Despite all your links and your incessant and childish whining you have never once proven otherwise and you never will because your assertion is and always has been entirely *false.* Develop some honesty and courtesy, for once, will you? Stop trying to hi-jack article threads with your baseless and accusations and unfounded complaints.
Gail Grossman March 04, 2013 at 09:13 PM
Can't we finally get rid of this article and comments, it is almost 1 month old and we don't need anymore reminders of what an animal he was.


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