Manifesto qualifies Dorner not as folk hero but as cold-blooded killer
San Bernardino Sheriff's Department deputy Jeremiah McKay died from injuries sustained in a shootout with fugitive former police officer Christopher Dorner.
LIVING in Los Angeles during the past week has felt like living in a real-life Hollywood action movie, only with real consequences and tragedy.
An organised, well-trained crazy guy killed police officers and members of their family. He eluded capture before the drama ended with a shootout in a remote, snowy mountain cabin, followed by a raging fire that engulfed the building, and the alleged murderer.
Even though Christopher Dorner was armed, and very dangerous, we, as a city, weren't panicking. Dorner had posted a long online manifesto that made it clear who he was targeting - former colleagues in the Los Angeles Police Department.
So, no change in our general behaviour. Plus, Dorner ended up at Big Bear Lake - a two-hour drive from where I sit. If nothing else, now you know there's snow close to LA.
This story is a tragedy, not just for the victims and their families. For me, the tale of Christopher Dorner is a tragedy for that seemingly old-fashioned notion that police officers are the good guys who do their best to take care of the rest of us.
Dorner was a cop, fired for lying, when he reported a superior officer's behaviour during a homeless guy's arrest.
The firing crushed Dorner - who was clearly one of those guys obsessed with being in a uniform for whatever reason.
That badge covered an enormous hole in his emotional stability, and once the badge, and his Navy Reserve stint, were removed the hole engulfed him.
I can say this because I read Dorner's manifesto. All of it. The parts where he recounts the childhood theft of his watch, expresses sadness at missing the next season of Walking Dead, and where he promises to keep killing the families of everyone who has wronged him until they publicly clear his name.
But to some, Dorner is a folk hero - a man who was clearly shafted by the corrupt LAPD, who tried to seek justice, and finally broke.
Our local police force has a terrible reputation they have yet to live down. So the hint of a misdeed evokes a sense Dorner was really a whistleblower being framed, and ultimately silenced by individuals in a position to abuse their power. Just like in the movie LA Confidential.
To those people I say … shut up. Our cops aren't perfect, and there's a good chance Dorner was wronged, just as many of us have been fired when we didn't deserve it.
But in no form of reality does that justify murdering innocent people. In cold, calculating blood.
To those people I also say: read the whole manifesto. Not just the good bits. You'll get a peek inside a disturbed mind with its own moral code, one that clashes with that of society.
It is a mind that does not qualify someone as a folk hero.
Save the conspiracy theories and the ''fight for justice'' narrative for the movies. This reality is nothing but tragic.
Tim is a writer, TV producer and proud former Canberra resident who has lived in Los Angeles since 1997. Twitter @timschildberger.