February 13th, 2013
The first in a two part series examining various aspects of the Chris Dorner affair. After an brief recap of the relevant events, Kevin expresses his disbelief at the militarized and trigger happy LAPD manhunt following the Dorner slayings.
Jad and Kevin discuss the positive social media response to Dorner’s attacks on the police and the continuum between lone gunmen and revolutionary armies. The episode wraps up with an analysis of the historical tendency to embrace violence as a means to fight oppression and the myth of redemptive violence–the narrative that captures humankind’s relationship with violent power.
Jad: Hello and welcome to another installment of the JK Podcast. This week is the first in a two-part discussion around the curious case of Chris Dorner, the details of his crimes, and those of the Los Angeles police department are by this point, well documented by dozens of mainstream and alternative online news sources. Here’s a rough sketch of the story to provide posterity with enough detail to follow along with our discussion.
Chris Dorner was an L.A.P.D. police officer and naval reservist who served with the mobile in-shore[?] undersea warfare unit, including a brief deployment to Bahrain ending on April, 2007. In July of 2007, he reported a superior officer for excessive force during an arrest. The review board – two L.A.P.D. captains and a criminal defense attorney – unanimously ruled against Dorner. They concluded that he was trying to avoid a bad evaluation from the superior officer. As a result, Dorner’s employment was terminated on September 4th, 2008.
For the next 3 years, he appealed several times upward through the California legal system and was ruled against each time. In early February, 2013, Chris Dorner wrote a rambling Facebook post alleging pervasive and systemic bigotry and corruption from the top to the bottom of the L.A.P.D., and declaring a number of members of the L.A.P.D. and their families as targets in what was planned as a long series of vengeance killings in an effort – somehow – to clear his name. He then killed the daughter and soon to be son-in-law of the L.A.P.D. captain that served as his counsel during one of his appeals.
A week later, he killed an L.A.P.D. officer and wounded 3 others in several ambushes. Now it was time for the L.A.P.D. to go on a shooting spree. During the manhunt for Dorner, they fired over 100 rounds into two separate vehicles, completely unrelated to Chris Dorner. Luckily, they were unable to kill any of the passengers. A few days later, Dorner was supposedly caught in a cabin at a ski resort outside L.A. Kevin covers this part in more detail in part 2, but spoiler alert, they burn down the cabin – allegedly on accident – and though the body was charred beyond recognition, Dorner’s driver’s license miraculously survived – case closed.
After touching on the obvious and oft discussed problem with having standing armies serve as peace officers, we talk about the narrative surrounding the events. Many denizens of social media supported Chris Dorner based on the overwhelming awfulness and injustice of law enforcement in general, and the L.A.P.D. in particular. This despite the fact that two-thirds of his kills were completely innocent, by any standards of justice outside those of organized crime who see family as legitimate targets, and U.S. foreign policy, who see family, friends, people standing nearby, coralligenous[?] and anyone else in the same or surrounding countries as legitimate targets. Let’s join the conversation with Kevin’s enthusiastic response to my query about possibilities for this week’s topic.
The topic – something you wanted to shoot the shit about?
Kevin: We can talk about police forces, and ex-marines, and snipers, and assassination attempts, and on, and on, and on – a million other things related to everything in Los Angeles since last week –
Kevin: – that is – I have talked with a lot of people about it. You know, a lot of my friends who are of our general – I suppose – sentiment in our life have actually – he called me and asked me, they’re like, “hey, I don’t really know a lot about this. I’m starting to see more stuff about it. Like, what’s the deal with this story?” And I’ve told them all you know, giving your personality and your interest in the side of politics that you take, this is probably one of those stories that you should read up on a little bit because it’s – I think – a pretty good illustrative point of what I see going on in this country, or what I see escalating in this country.
It’s frightening to say the very least, but it’s just so fucked up. I can’t imagine that people in Los Angeles are turning a blind eye to this, at this point I don’t really know, but it just seems that if I were there I’d certainly be with groups of people speaking out to say, “what the fuck is going on? Why the fuck are there – why is there a military wearing S.W.A.T. team outfits, running around our streets?”
They’re talking about these gun bans – you know, Obama talking about the assault weapons ban – I mean, for fuck’s sake, if they took it away from cops I probably would support it all of a sudden. There’s nothing more frightening to me than a bunch of pseudo-marines in cop outfits running around playing cowboys and Indians with people, it’s just – I just don’t even have words for what’s been going on with that.
Jad: Yeah man. Yeah, it’s crazy. I mean it’s like you said, it’s you know, there’s people walking around like – what’d you say, you counted like 34 or 45 or whatever bullets –
Kevin: When I saw it yeah, I just counted it – I mean, real quick when I sent you that picture, I think they were at like 34 holes that I saw, yeah.
Jad: Yeah. Just shooting the hell out of a car and then walking away, and nothing’s ever going to happen to those guys. They’re going to draw a paycheck for the hours they spent walking around shooting up vehicles. Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. I think actually, Los Angeles is the home of S.W.A.T., I think that’s the first place that there was a militarized police force – metropolitan police force. So – I could be wrong about that, but yeah. [?] like, it was to do with kidnappings or something like that. You know, there was like a spade of kidnappings in the 60’s or early 70’s or something like that, and – I have to check that out again – but I think that’s where it all kinda started.
I did actually fact check my vague recollection, and indeed S.W.A.T., the use of military grade weapons, and tactics by police was quietly phased into the L.A.P.D. in the 1960’s. The first significant use of S.W.A.T. was against the Black Panthers in 1969. Not to try to justify my factual error, but S.W.A.T. was used in 1974 against the Symbionese Liberation Army, which were the left-wing gorillas that kidnapped Patty Hurst. That may be how I got kidnapping cross wired in there. A final note, while S.W.A.T. used to be limited to a few dozen officers in the largest metropolitan areas, virtually all cities now have heavily armed military police – even rural police forces look like cavalry, complete with armored personnel carriers, body armor, helmets, masks, and military small arms.
Kevin: Yeah, the whole militarization of it is you know, obviously a topic that is hot in conspiracy theory circles, and the outside media circles, things like that obviously, and to just see this sort of thing unfold with this type of disregard for frankly, any type of basic principles of law and order. I mean, from the side that on their badge, that’s the one thing that they’re supposed to be protecting of course, not that I give that any credibility, but it’s just that in this particular instance, it’s – I mean, you couldn’t illustrate any better that that’s clearly not what they’re doing, and to just see it unfold like that I think was really pretty mind boggling.
I don’t know if you actually saw it, but a video of them assaulting the house got posted on Live Leak today.
Jad: Oh no, I didn’t see it.
Kevin: So it was pretty interesting – well and of course, all it is is I mean, it’s a bunch of guys – I don't know if you’ve ever played paintball before, but it basically looks like that. I mean, you’ve got a bunch of these fucking assholes running around in just full fatigues you know, strapped with God the fuck knows what, running around and I mean they are just unleashing on this house, and then one of them runs back and he’s all out of breath and tired and then you know, he’s like, “give me some more”, and he runs back and I mean, just reminds me of being a kid running around with fake guns and pretending to shoot one another because it’s fun – only in this case, they’re really shooting people.
Kevin: Not only just shooting people, they’re – in fact, not only just legally shooting people, but under the guidelines of the law that this is somehow – this is what they’re supposed to be doing.
Kevin: And I just – I can’t for the life of me figure this out. If that’s the guy, you’ve got what, 1,000 police officers surrounding a house and that’s the best they can do is just fire shots into it until it burns down?
Kevin: So they were talking about again how they found the – his driver’s license next to him –
Jad: Uh huh.
Kevin: Of course, there’s some pretty humorous memes floating around about that one based upon the fact that his body was allegedly charred to pieces and apparently, the $1.50 piece of plastic next to him was in good shape. I mean –
Jad: Right, nice.
Kevin: Takes a hell of a fire to char a body.
Jad: That is amazing how the identifications of people always comes out of incinerated buildings and blown up things, just like, “oh yeah, it really was this guy. We found his ID right here.”
Kevin: Yeah. There it is.
Jad: That’s a pretty frequent event – it’s very handy.
Kevin: Well it leaves me to question then you know, what actually is going on with that. I haven’t read any conspiracy theory circles at the moment, but I assume they’re flooding with information or with theories at the moment.
Jad: Oh yeah, no, I have no doubt.
Kevin: Well anyways, it’s just the topic in general I mean, I know we’ve cut on it countless times in our discussions, but seeing the escalation of the militarization of local police forces, it really emphasizes the strength and the purpose of the 2nd amendment, and to all those assholes who want to counter it by saying, “well I don’t know where your militia is”, but that’s actually what the language of the second amendment says.
To them – at this point – I would say, “you’re fucking right, we need to get some militias together because God knows this whole police force is one giant fucked up crazy militia running under the guise of the law, and it’s just a matter of time before this sort of thing that happened in Los Angeles is just full scale, I think. I mean –
Jad: Sure, yeah.
Kevin: – so – I mean, it’s a little pessimistic for the short future, but it just seems to trend that way.
Jad: Well I think my though is that it’s to do with the American exceptionalism thing – and maybe I’ve gone this – this is something I think about a lot, so it’s something I’ve probably mentioned to you before – but this guy you know, he is what he is, right? But I mean if you have 1,000 of those guys and they’re all cooperating, then you have a revolutionary army or whatever.
Jad: Self titled, that’s just what it is. I mean, it’s nothing more, nothing less when a band of armed people start shooting the people who are claiming to have the monopoly of violence in a geographical area, then you can call it whatever you want, but objectively it’s just two groups of armed people struggling for control of some space, right?
Jad: Clearly when it’s just one guy, he’s not likely to win, but when you have 10, or 50, or 100, then it’s on you know, and it just keeps escalating until one side or the other vanquishes the opponent, so the idea that that’s not going to happen here ever under any circumstance is just ridiculous. I mean, right now we’re like totally flushed with all the food we need, and all the gasoline we need, and most people have jobs, but if you don’t have food for a few weeks and then dudes like that start popping up, you know, people hide them when they show up at their houses and people help them and arm them, and that’s all a revolution is. That’s all a civil war is is that happening, so it’s – the idea that that’s not going to happen is just strange to me.
Jad: And I think that’s what you’re seeing – at least I’m seeing because I’m on a bunch of crazy people’s Facebook pages and whatever – that people who are like either passively or explicitly supporting him, their couching their support in revolutionary language – everything from like, just fuck the police, to everyone needs to help this guy, you know, or pray for his survival or whatever.
Jad: Like I said, it’s always in that revolutionary language which is all part of the thing. If there’s going to be a narrative you know, again, when it’s one guy, or 10 guys, or 100 guys, at some point the narrative is that they’re fighting against the awful evil of the occupying L.A.P.D. and the only difference between the crazy guy and the revolutionary army is just the story, right?
Jad: It’s the same thing, so I feel like I’m not making much sense.
Kevin: Oh, you’re making perfect sense. I totally agree with your point in fact.
Jad: Well, then good.
Kevin: No, no, I mean, it’s interesting to hear you describe it like that as well because I mean, it’s not a hard concept to grasp or anything. We just don’t generally think about it like that you know? You think about kinda your point, like you’ve got one rogue fighter for example – this guy – and he’s invariably going to be labeled a bad guy even though – I mean even this – and I think even in a lot of not so you know, far leaning circles, I don’t want to say that he’s been labeled – I don't know that people are seeing him heroically or anything, but I think there’s a lot more people that are sympathetic to his position than I would’ve imagined, and I don't know that they would’ve been initially, but given the way that I think people have seen things unfold, they’re like, “well this is fucked up, what the hell are you doing”, and lots of people that I wouldn’t expect to be drawing the conclusion of well, obviously they want to kill this guy, so that’s kind of telling in itself.
You know, I mean, any time you want to assassinate a person you really have to question, “well, did he murder 3 people”, because I know there’s lots of stories of some guy who murdered 3 people the other day. I mean, I don’t think we’ve got you know, fleets of militarized police trying to kill that person as well. So is it unique because he you know, he’s ex-military, or has sniping capabilities or what have you? It doesn’t seem all that necessary either, but I guess the manifesto, him suggesting that he’s going to go and kill more people that like, that makes it the more revealing.
But anyways, my point is just that it’s interesting when you – what you described saying you know, get 10, 50, 100 people, and now all of a sudden you’ve got these two groups that are fighting one another, and it’s so hard to take a step back from that and recognize that they are just people both armed to the nines fighting one another and whoever has more men standing at the end is the group who ultimately wins the conflict, and it’s just weird to think that 100 people might go up against 100 police, and maybe 100 police die and that group is victorious.
What happens after that point, I don’t really know, but it is kind of an interesting philosophical point. I think it’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that that really is all a revolution is – it’s not really this magical thing beyond that. It’s fighting the guys that are allegedly in place to help you to begin with – i.e. government.
Kevin: Or dominions of government anyways.
Jad: Well I think that the subtle point though is that that’s an excellent reason for not supporting them as well, right? That’s an excellent reason to not believe that that is the way out of you know, L.A.P.D. repression because lunatics who will kill people indiscriminately and you know, that’s what this guy is, right? I mean, you can say he killed 3 cops and 2 civilians, so he killed 40% innocent people which is you know, that’s about on par[?] for an army or whatever. But I mean, there’s nothing good about it, there’s nothing good about him, there’s nothing – right? Because that’s always what happens in times that are not as flush as our times is those same stories about he’s fighting for justice, he’s fighting to destroy the corruption.
Those stories catch on because people are hungry, and people are oppressed, and people are whatever else, and so they pick up that story of like, these guys who are killing indiscriminately are trying to get rid of the awful evil people who we hate, and so we have to support them and forgive their excesses and whatever else, and that’s – and again, that’s the story of every armed conflict of every government in every revolution that’s ever happened. Nothing ever ends up ridding anyone of any oppression, right? It just ends up with a new group of people that are allowed to kill whoever they want and take whatever they want, and call it just and call it the rule of law –
Jad: – and so it’s just strange to me that people seem so desperate – again, and this is to do with the people who are finding some kind of positive thing here – people are so desperate for anything besides the rule of the current awful people that they’re willing to like, be like, “oh, you know, he accidentally killed 2 other people” – what’s the word – “collateral damage”, or it’s you know, you’re just using the same fucking excuses that the awful people are using. It’s just you’re supporting a different set of awful people.
Jad: The awful people yet to be entirely awful to you. Anyways, it’s just short sided or something.
Kevin: No, that’s a strong point. It’s funny how fickle people become. I mean, I guess I – to some extent – should catch myself having been in that same boat in this past week. Certainly I’m not happy – I don’t ever want to see anybody get killed, even when they’re a bad guy, I probably just assume them not get killed, I always think there’s better means than that, but in some cases, that’s a naïve position in itself. But in this case, you’re right. I mean, I was kinda looking at it like – I don’t want to say I was excited about it – but it’s kind of exciting – to what you said – just to think of somebody else not really being the hero, but kind of playing the role of Robin Hood a little bit, right?
Jad: Sure, yeah.
Kevin: You’re obviously opposed to whatever the state interest is – in this case, the Los Angeles police force. You know, for some reasons that while they sounded crazy in his manifesto, I happen to believe that they’re probably very true because I’ve heard just countless stories like that over the years, and when I was in L.A. it’s the same sort of stories that you hear from people – nobody stands up to the police out there because every story ends the same way like, yeah, they just – they fucked me – so yeah, you just don’t do it. So I mean it’s just kind of like a little like, mafia circuit. And so to have somebody else stand up into that, that’s fantastic and it excites me, but immediately you’re right.
You know, here I am condemning the police because for the most part, the police force – you could argue – actually may be keeping the peace, but once in a while they fuck up and bunch of people get hurt, or beat, or shot, or whatever, but their justification is always the same, is to say, “well yeah, once in a while we’ve gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette”, and so now here we are on the other side and I’m like, you know, well this guy – so he accidentally killed like, one innocent person or what have you. It’s like, you’re using the exact same expression all over again and I think it’s a great point – you’re totally right. That doesn’t make it any better, all you’ve done is you’ve traded the old boss for a new boss, as they say.
Jad: Right. Well the thing is this is what I think is the interesting meta-narrative of it is that I have the same feeling. Like, whenever I first saw that and I mentioned it to you at work, I have to put on an – I have to jump out of my own head for a minute to look at it from Mars or whatever, and be like, “oh, this guy is just a crazy killer like the people he just left”, and he’s just turning around and started shooting it back at them. Because we’re wired for that shit, I mean, every story, every superhero, right – I mean, all of them – that’s what they do, right?
They take the law into their own hands and just start fucking shit up, but it’s always like, after some awful, awful you know, oppression has happened, or like – trying to think of who does a really good job of that – is Quentin Tarantino with Inglorious Basterds or whatever, right?
Kevin: Oh yeah.
Jad: I mean he makes the bad guys so fucking evil that you’re just so thrilled when someone shows up and just starts butchering everybody, you’re like, “Yay”, you know? There’s a guy – the first time I realized this, this guy’s name is Walter Wink, he’s a theologian, but he traces this back to like, the creation mist[?], and the Babylonians and stuff, and like – or the Greeks with Zeus. Zeus is king of the gods because Cronus – or the Titan – you know, had enslaved or had eaten I guess all of the other you know – all of the other gods, right? And so Zeus you know, is the one guy who can fuck up Cronus.
He does it, and then he gets to be the king, right? So when you’re powerless against overwhelming evil, then the story is that you know, you turn in your desperation to somebody who’s outside of morality, who will you know, who will save you and liberate you from the oppressive evil, but at the same time, then takes rulership over you and remains outside of the moral code that you’re bound to. Like I said, the superheroes, and cartoons, and like, it’s always the same story is like, the components being the overwhelming evil, the hero that’s outside of the – outside of morality, and then you know, everyone else who’s just kind of a peasant or whatever in the story.
That ends this segment. We pick up and examine other aspects of the story less to do with Greek mythology next week with guest host, Tom DeLorenzo. Thanks for listening. If you have any suggestions, questions, comments, or correspondence, please e-mail us at JKPod@JKPod.com, or stop by the website with the same name and let us know your thoughts. You can also swing by our websites – Jad-Davis.com, or KevinLudlow.com , all one word, don’t forget to leave out the hyphen – to see what else we’re working on. Thanks again for listening and until next time, take care.