I have a feeling Christopher Dorner’s manifesto and his killing spree will likely be examined for years to come, especially by mental health experts who try to determine what made him snap. Dorner’s reasons for killing cops and their families were spelled out in his manifesto, which named those who he felt treated him unfairly. He expressed anger for feeling disrespected for reporting police brutality, as well as for being fired from the LAPD in 2009. Experts I spoke with said he likely was suffering from “a trifecta of intellegence, mental illness, and paranoia.” Dorner also was a veteran who had served in Iraq recently and who also was dismissed from the Naval Reserves this month (Feb. 2). But what remains troubling to many are the Dorner supporters who say his anger was justified, even if he had to kill innocents to get noticed. I do not support their claim. Does that mean Ted Kaczynski was justified? I also can’t help but think of Valerie Solanas’ SCUM Manifesto, which she peddled on the streets of New York, but which went largely unnoticed until she shot Andy Warhol. Her life was depicted in the bio-film “I Shot Andy Warhol” with the always excellent Lili Taylor.
Below is a photograph of me interviewing Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz during a press conference announcing a $1 million reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of Christopher Dorner. Here’s part of my story on Dorner’s manifesto (Daily News, Feb. 2013):
In his 11,000-word manifesto, former police officer Christopher Jordan Dorner writes he’ll kill his way through the Los Angeles Police Department until he reclaims his name and identity.
“This is a necessary evil that I do not enjoy but must partake and complete for substantial change to occur within the LAPD and reclaim my name,” he wrote.
His chilling statements, found on his Facebook page, portray a deeply intelligent and opinionated man, one who promotes gay rights and gun control, but whose mind has unraveled, likely due to mental illness, paranoia and possibly unresolved trauma, experts said Thursday.
“It’s not about him being against law enforcement,” said Brian Levin, a professor of criminal justice at Cal State San Bernardino and a former LAPD officer.
“We’re talking about someone who basically perceives that a tremendous injustice has been done to him that took his life and his identity,” Levin said. “Now he’s at war.”
Dorner, 33, of La Palma is wanted in the killings of Cal State Fullerton assistant basketball coach Monica Quan and her fiance, Keith Lawrence, in Irvine on Sunday. Quan is the daughter of former police captain Randal Quan, who represented Dorner in his departmental hearing that resulted in his firing from the LAPD in 2008.
Police said Dorner exchanged gunfire with police officers in Corona about 1 a.m. Thursday, grazing the head of one of them. About a half hour later, Dorner then ambushed two Riverside officers, killing one, police said.
Experts who examined his manifesto said Dorner expresses a range of emotions, from outrage over racism he experienced as a first-grader to a violent incident as a rookie police officer, to his anguish witnessing a fellow cop beating a mentally ill man. Dorner also offers his admiration for Ellen DeGeneres, Charlie Sheen, Hillary Clinton and President George H.W. Bush.
But it was his dismissal as commanding officer of a Naval Security Forces reserve unit this month that may have unleashed frustration from years of feeling disrespected, experts said. As a result, he wants to “eradicate the symbols of injustice,” Levin said.
“The Violence of action will be HIGH,” Dorner writes on his manifesto. “I am the reason TAC alert was established. I will bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty … You will now live the life of prey.”
Levin and others say Dorner is not only a risk to police, but others, because he justifies the killings.
“He clearly believes that by his current actions, that he is going to be able to trigger major changes in the way LAPD treats people,’ said Diane Vines, a professor of nursing at Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles who specializes in post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans and civilians.
“It’s almost a duty in his mind to make these things right, for the sake of other people, not just his own sake,” Vines said. “It’s a calling that he’s taken on.”