Rather than looking at a specific activist group, our team looked at a civic and civil liberties issue, and created our own affinity group to deal with it directly. We began with the persistent problem of the NYPD’s Stop & Frisk policy. This problem is complex and layered, and is felt at the largest institutional level with Police Commissioner Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg as well as on the street with citizens’ direct contact with individual officers. This issue is known and addressed in a variety of ways. There is currently a Coalition Against Stop & Frisk that is made up of nearly 30 organizations and community groups including Center for Constitutional Rights, CopWatch.com and the Bronx Defenders. h

    The groups and initiatives that exist do a variety of things. Some focus on community organizing, planning marches and rallies, while some work on changing laws and policies. Some provide legal services while some feature images and footage of aggressive stops. While many others aggregate news and editorials about Stop & Frisk.

        However, there were not any useful, transparent, community-based indices of who the policemen are. We felt it would benefit the community to facilitate larger dialogue around the direct impact the NYPD has had on the people they serve and protect. That is why we fabricated an independent website concept that would be a place for people to safely comment on their experiences with officers and precincts. There has been some commentary recently that 2-way communication is missing from contemporary policing of high crime neighborhoods.

    Beat cops used to walk the streets and observe, interact and relate to local residents at a speed and frequency that is less efficient from an accounting perspective. However, bean counting is probably not the only reason that cops don’t breathe in the tenor of their beat in the same way. A disconnect between the officers and those whom they police has been systematically engineered to create a culture of dominance and as a result, oppression. By assigning officers who reside in far away neighborhoods, the police department atrophies the collective and individual empathy officers feel when they deal with residents. There is also a trend in assigning rookies, often more physical and impetuous than veterans, to the rougher neighborhoods. There are other attributes of this institutionalized dynamic. Quotas on 250’s (Stop and Frisk reports) have inspired/pressured cops toward this practice. In contrast, excessive stats in violent and street related crime have seen officers displacing arrests(and complaints) to neighboring precincts with lower stats. Accusations that officers have been intimidating victims out of making reports, and occasionally failing to file reports are materializing with frequency. These examples don’t begin to address elements of corruption and extra-legal activity within or by members of the police department.

    Our website would function as both a repository and a portal to available information, legal aid and testimonials about individual officers. The site would have provisions for learning who all the uniformed officers in a precinct are, with a searchable index of court cases, internal investigations, collar stats, documented complaints and other publicly available relevant data that police generate. In addition to these items, there would be a space for “users” to comment socially and critically of their experiences with the officers. There are a lot of details in police interaction that are not illegal, but have a negative impact on the people they engage. This negative impact is the element we feel is at the root of problematic relationship between the police and the policed.

    Our primary goal is to affect police behavior with the looming threat of having their words and actions publicized. Almost any degree of improvement would be seen as progress. A secondary goal is cultural climate change in the community. The citizens would feel that having an outlet for expression could not only relieve some of the tension, but also tighten their communities. Local unity is a positive way to connect people with each other and hold themselves accountable for their actions while also fortifying their defenses against targeted abuse.

    The strengths in this program range in scale from macro to micro. If you don’t have the education, resources or liberty to affect change in the experiences you endure, then your connection to civic responsibility and positivity are low. If you can’t contribute information or testimony to a court case because of intimidation or fear of losing your job, place in school, children, home or citizenship, then you are being cheated of your right and obligation to civic duty. Often times seemingly unrelated details of your life exempt you from testifying in any official way. Contributing to this site would be empowering. Identifying your police officers is an easier way to relate to them when they are in your space. And though it may sound naive, knowing and identifying officers on the street (officers who do not abuse the people’s trust) helps people empathize with them to some degree. At the very least, it fosters an environment where mutual respect is possible.

    Information is power. Knowing your rights is essential. Knowing what resources are available to you is essential. And knowing who, why and how many people have had similar experiences as you have can be just as important. Our site offers a space to satisfy those needs in an environment that is unique. The nature of the site affords it fluidity with other social media like Twitter or Facebook, or as was suggested in class, Yelp and Craigslist. There are different vehicles for information and message dissemination, and the site functions as a home to which all those roads can point back.

    The weaknesses of this site rest primarily in the elements that can’t be controlled. Like all anonymously commented spaces, this site would be naturally porous to trolling. From short-sighted, immature or vindictive personalities as well as from adversaries and agents provocateur. Another weakness would be any legal, departmental or governmental push-back. There are obvious interests to be protected, and some possible legal points of contention. Many righteous initiatives have been snuffed or curtailed because they were framed in a perspective that their existence not only kept law enforcement agencies from doing their jobs, but also because they claimed to pose a threat to the safety of officers.

    Less a weakness than an obstacle, is the discussion about how to provide opportunity, if not parity for both criticism and praise. This was heavily debated in our group, in class and with colleagues with whom we’ve shared our project. I’ve always felt that a strong way to support and validate criticism of the status quo is to juxtapose it against the foil of recognizing positive action. It is possible for good behavior to exist within a police force where bad behavior is common. But there is no expectation that the volume and character of positive and negative comments will be equal. So how do we provide a space for praise without weakening the credibility of the critique? I have reservations about predicting confidently how this site will work and succeed. I’m inclined to build and promote the environment with flexibility to adjust and change. I think the power and gravity of the best commentary will inspire more of the same on both sides.

    I love the suggestions in class about stimulating awareness and narrative with clever, potentially viral appropriations of social media. But I think the stickiest, most powerful initiative that we can do, is to retrieve and cull as much concrete information about individual police with known bad behavior. We don’t need to start with “from the street” testimonials of what a bully someone is. That will be supporting narrative that connects the victims to each other. But if you begin with official data, there is less conjecture, and more interpretation. The inspiration for this format comes from sites like Little Sis and Open Government. These sites function similar to wikis, and without comments, and I think that really works for them. But I believe a similar format could work with commentary, imagery and testimonial as well.


        The obvious opposition to this site would come from the NYPD, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association of the City of New York and the Mayor’s Office. All three groups have repeatedly voiced support for methodology, rejected transparency and promoted the notion that the NYPD is an unparalleled, dominating force that should be feared... for the good of the city and its communities. A large scale, transparent, available assessment of their legally documented behavior would disrupt the status quo on its own. External review and conversation about that behavior, perceived within the framework of its consistency and coordination, would appear more epidemic, even without editorialization. This could catalyze dissent and response in an unexpected volume and frequency. And unpredictable responses are threats to the status quo that the city is dedicated to marginalizing.

    Their strengths are obvious. With “over 34,000 uniformed officers” the Mayor has openly boasted that the NYPD is “the seventh biggest army in the world.” The NYPD has a militaristic surveillance and counter-insurgency apparatus that includes, but is not limited to 6 submarine drones, LRADs, the Domain Awareness System, and known coordination with the CIA and DHS. Their strength comes in the form of resources, impunity and intimidation. These strengths are evident at every level and scale of engagement.

    Their weaknesses are the “herding cats” platitude and the Dictator’s Dilemma. Quite simply, chasing after every virtual dissenter who is not breaking the law would be like herding cats. It is neither efficient use of resources nor feasible. Rather than seek out the users, they would be better served disabling the source of the signal. The important variable to negotiate, is that they not suffocate discussion so overtly, giving credence to its existence nor stir larger, more powerful protest and awareness from the citizenry.

    The way I would probably do this, given their resources and their expectation of citizens’ fickle attention span, would be to debilitate the “brand” reliability of the site. While this could be attacked superficially with positive or oppositional commenting and trolling, I believe that making the site itself unreliable will weaken the user loyalty and expectation of service. If they hacked the site and shut it down, it or something similar would spring up elsewhere. If they openly, vocally called for it’s take down or approached it’s domain host citing illegality, it would stir up vocal community opposition. But if, with their know relationships and governance of internet bandwidth, imposed unpredictable, rolling brown outs of the site, they would hurt users’ expectation that the site was reliable or legitimate. Users would taper off expecting that the site breaks frequently, representing unserious stewardship and reliability. In the process, small parts of data, css and server structure could be broken or disappeared. Not simply an algorithmic bug or virus, but an organic take down of the health and wellbeing of the entity that is the site would, in my opinion, be the most surgically efficient way to combat this civic instrument.

        It is interesting to engage in this idea at its current zygote stage. It’s definitely a project that I would like to investigate further. At this point, it’s hard to predict whether it could inspire a sea change, or dangle in the cosmos like an unknown pirate radio channel. Both the conversation and the instrument are volatile. But at its heart, it is an idea inspired by the desire to promote goodness. Idealism is my achilles heel. But I think, even in light of the unexpected uses of social media we have discussed, the potential energy of racially and socioeconomically marginalized people in America gets undervalued. In 2013, technology use is identifiably different from what it was as recently as two years ago. With the steep incline of smart phone ownership in lower income communities, and the data that shows smartphones as the primary internet access point for the same communities, the ability to express oneself is going to be the most ubiquitous challenge to the status quo. And I endorse that.

  • Social Media as Megaphone: Christopher Dorner and Westboro Baptist Church

    In early February, 2013, former LAPD officer and Naval Reservist, Christopher Dorner, posted an 11-page manifesto on his Facebook page detailing, among other things, how he had been wronged by the LAPD, and how he intended to violently get revenge on the individuals responsible. The posting was shortly followed by the alleged murder of two peripherally related civilians and a police officer. These killings activated one of the largest manhunts in LAPD history. There are a number of variables that make Dorner’s story noteworthy. One was the long, detailed and morphing quality of his manifesto. Another was that he actually did some of what he claimed he was going to do. And yet another was the broad and diverse affect his story had on the public consciousness.

    At its core, his story up until he posted his manifesto was familiar and relatable. He claimed to be a victim of the Blue Code of Silence, filing a report against a superior officer of his who he felt had used excessive force against a handcuffed suspect. That was a major career altering event, but he also described numerous occasions of implicit and explicit racism from fellow officers and a holistic refusal by the department to recognize and censure such behavior. Standing up for and pursuing his beliefs, according to his manifesto, ultimately cost him his job, his marriage and his emotional health. He had had enough. He felt like he had nothing left to lose, and no more to gain. So in order to restore some internal sense of balance and justice, he felt he had to exact revenge.

    We've been discussing, at length, Dorner's powerful use of Social Media to transmit his voice to the whole world. It serves as a perfect example of Social Media’s ability to connect one person to many. And in fact it's a good example of how the act of speaking to all the people you know on Facebook can turn into speaking to everybody. There is no doubt in my mind that Dorner was aware of the impact posting a message on Facebook could have. Though it is unclear whether he had conceived of it getting as big as it actually did. It seems likely that our collective use, and our perception of other inflatable messages on Social Media, led Dorner to the logical default use of Facebook. It may have been his only subscription. He clearly had more to say than 140 characters. And if he wasn't blogging already, one manifesto would not have earned him an audience. The industry practice of placing long-form opinions in a dedicated personal narrative space and then linking to them from your arsenal of other Social Media outlets was clearly not a part of his routine. Rather, Facebook was his social portal. It's the conduit through which he could reach most of the people with whom he ever cared to connect. He knew what he was preparing to do. He knew that this would probably be his last chance to speak, or be heard. He probably knew that if he was ever given the opportunity to live, and speak publicly, it would be to answer questions under interrogation or in court, not his feelings about former friends and instructors or opinions about celebrity and social issues. As a result, his manifesto took on the responsibilities of multiple expressions.

    First, the goal of his manifesto was to gain public awareness and support for exposing the corrupt fraternity of the LAPD. Second, the manifesto functioned as an overt threat to his enemies. As a vehicle for psychological warfare, its intent was to shake the confidence of those who would employ predictable tactics against him and also to amplify the fear felt by those he would threaten to hunt. The third goal, or function really, was as his last will and testament. Well, a will, a suicide note, an apology letter and a kiss off. This is the point where Christopher Dorner the person, not the warrior, not the whistleblower, got to say his goodbyes, but also got to unload all the subjective, discombobulated musings he had on the world he lived in, just one more time.

    Did he achieve his goals? I would say yes. Completing his revenge list would probably have redirected the conversations away from his grievances and given his critics a stronger foothold in condemning him. What wound up happening instead was that even critiques about his criminality, his mental health or his record had to compete with the discussions about the institutionalization of LAPD conduct, procedure and incompetence, the mobilizing effect on those who already believed the police to be bullies and racists and snowballing narrative about the abandonment of due process in contemporary America. Groups that didn't know him personally rallied to show their support for his cause. A protest was loosely called for outside LAPD Headquarters and people showed up. Celebrities tweeted about his story. People began to research his claims. The LAPD Police Chief stated that they would reopen the case that got him fired. And of course, memes metastasized.

    In many ways, Christopher Dorner's use of Social Media has similarities to that of the Westboro Baptist Church in the sense that they aimed to get a large group’s attention, ultimately as a call to action. The goal of WBC’s social media presence is to spread their brand. And their brand is hate. What they do most is/was picket funerals and file lawsuits. And while they haven’t had one singular most impactful transmission through social media, the content and utility of their tweets are crafted to engender more conversation and affinity than they are to get tangible results. And though their agendas are profoundly different, their sense of who they are, what their goals are and what they do have some resonating likeness.

    Westboro Baptist Church knows exactly what they are doing. They are clear on their message. They feel very strongly against a group, or that a group’s behavior is wrong. And no matter how wrong it is, that group has a lot of members and strength. This adversarial perspective puts WBC and Dorner in the role of the underdog. Theirs is a David and Goliath story, and as such must be pushed regardless of the cost, and regardless of the probability in their favor. This is a common way to inspire zealotry, resilience and perseverance. In reference to Metaphors of Protest: A Classification of Motivations for Collective Action, they would be categorized as “Intuitive Theologians” because their mantra is, “we could easily lose, and yet we still HAVE to do this.”

    WBC is well trained and educated to attack and defend against those who oppose them. The Phelps family has a double digit count of lawyers among them, and vehemently call upon the First Amendment to protect their expressions. They file a high volume of lawsuits with the hopes of defendants settling, and generate attention in the process. And they know exactly how Social Media works, complete with Re-Tweeting, hashtagging and leveraging bad press. Alternatively, Dorner developed the skills he needed while in service. He got high scores in marksmanship and praise from his instructors. He knew all of the police department’s standard operating procedures, and tactical protocols. He knew how to anticipate plays, and presumably how to misdirect people from his trail.

    In regards to message delivery, both Dorner and WBC understood the volume and value of projecting their voices through Social Media rather than traditional forms of communication. Dorner didn’t send his manifesto to a newspaper like Ted Kaczynski, and WBC doesn’t just stand in front of the White House. Though it looks like they did try to take out ads. Dorner’s letter would have aroused suspicion if left for his mother, but he knew that it would reach more people, and importantly, those named in it, if he posted it online and it was findable and could be disseminated. WBC doesn't change their content very often, but that doesn't keep them from Tweeting. Margie Phelps has over 17,000 tweets, and 200 more than when our class' group presented about them last week. WBC even retweets posted criticism and satire about their mission, knowing that when people mock them, they are continuing the conversation for free.

    Their goals are similar too. Both Dorner and the WBC intentionally defy social mores and widely held morality, even in the obvious contradiction to scripture-based imperatives. Ironically, taking it upon themselves to exact the will of god, or their own version of justice, is the aspect that they each feel so righteous about, and yet those actions are the barriers to entry for potential sympathizers. They want to reach vast numbers of strangers with their perspectives, and yet they expect to leverage bad press as a way to stick in the public consciousness.

    On one hand, that’s a very successful tactic. On the other hand, they empower their opponents to get resources and public support against them. And as a result, they are not always able to do everything they say they will do. For example, the cost of traveling to funerals all over the country has limited WBC's ability to disrespect many visible funerals in person. But also, claiming that they will, in the case of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre, inspired preemptive White Knight strikes by Anonymous who doxed the members of WBC and hacked their Twitter accounts.

    Despite these commonalities, Dorner and the Westboro Baptist Church are fundamentally different. Dorner's world view played the extremes. He was seeking love, support and acceptance while at the same time expressing himself violently and permanently. Westboro deals in none of that currency. For one, WBC functions under the expectation that they haven't done anything illegal, despite how vile their messages and behavior are. Secondly, they cannot be stopped by any one adversary, like the LAPD. There is no polar opposite, no anti-villain to their anti-heroics. They know this, and leverage that for their modus operandi. Dorner lived in a "me vs. the world" dynamic, though he believed that if the World heard his story, they would support him against his nemesis, the LAPD. In many ways, he was right to perceive his struggle that way. However, recognizing the obstacle is not the same as choosing the tool to overcome it.

    If Christopher Dorner's goal was to simply pick off his whole list Sudden Impact style, then he may have wanted to deliver his last message with some sort of time release mechanism. If he had wanted to fully portray himself as a victim in the court of public opinion, he should not have killed civilians. And his message that the LAPD is a corrupt fraternity of ill-behaving racists gets diluted by not only his actions, but his off-topic rantings. However, if he wanted to expose details of HOW the LAPD systematically protects itself from criticism he did it. And if he wanted to agitate public support for the long-standing, widely held belief that police departments everywhere suffer from the same poor decorum, then he did that too. However, that wasn’t done by himself, many people felt that way already. And he became a catalyst for voices  en masse to express that. He even primed an environment where police would naturally behave badly and aggressively by shooting civilians and assassinating him in the cabin.In the end, his voice, more than his actions, appealled to people who have been victimized by police. And that group is large. So transmitting through Facebook became the best, most efficient delivery method.

  • Christopher Dorner - Group Response


    As many media outlets rehashed and analyzed Christopher Dorner, citing the details and flow of his Facebook Manifesto, elements of his story, and the complex story in general became catalysts for further discussion. Dorner himself dedicates part of his Manifesto to cogently articulating why  need to acquire automatic weapons, silencers and other tactical accessories. This comes at a time when gun control is already a hot topic in America, Congress and the White House.

    Another issue that came to the forefront was the use of surveillance (and potentially weaponized) drones to catch (read: Stop) Dorner. Glenn Greenwald points out on Feb. 11th, that drones were being used to track Dorner down. He links to an MSN article that requotes an unnamed source from DHS as originally told to a reporter at the UK’s Daily Express. While the authenticity and plausibility of this source was almost immediately called into question, it nevertheless kicked off the drone sub-narrative. With so many local agencies requesting and purchasing drones, it leaves the public wondering what police and military authorities can/will/are doing with drone technology, and how quickly that’s mainstreaming itself into domestic US practice. Greenwald, an open critic of US drone policy posits:

    Here's my question: if the surveillance drones detect his location, should the lives of law enforcement agents be risked, along with other civilians, in an attempt to apprehend this highly-trained warrior? Why shouldn't an armed drone instead be immediately dispatched once his location is ascertained and simply kill him?

        ...The impetus for my asking is obviously the widespread support for killing US citizen Anwar Awlaki without a trial or charges based on suspicions of guilt: it's far from clear that apprehending Awlaki would have been infeasible, and Dorner poses at least as much risk to Americans as Awlaki did, almost certainly more so. But leave that aside: independent of comparisons to any other case, including Awlaki, what would be wrong or dangerous, if anything, about simply droning this domestic Terrorist to death even in the absence of lethal resistance? What would be the harm from doing that? What are the reasons not to, if any?

    He then points to a Young Turks discussion on CNN that suggests that with more sincerity and less apprehension. The drone narrative evaporated briefly, but returned after the final showdown. Police had told news helicopters to stop filming and leave the airspace above the cabin Dorner had been holed up in. Ostensibly, this was for the privacy of the police movements and operations. And though it was not expressly stated that they needed the airspace for drone surveillance, many voices online hypothesized that might be a reason.

    The other reason, widely accepted by netizens and critics of the LAPD, was that the officers wanted to carry out operations that they didn’t want recorded and publicized. This, along with tactical decisions to deploy the “burners” contributed to the public opinion that the LAPD, and generally most police, are driven to protect the extra-legal actions of law enforcement, and to exact their own justice with autonomy. Especially in a case like this where fellow officers have been killed. After audio of police radio communication had been shared around the internet, dialogue about “hunting” Dorner rather than simply “arresting” him began to mount. One interesting example is this Reddit thread. Here, tactical enthusiasts, former law enforcement workers and masses of Redditors who are suspicious of a universal police brotherhood, debate and clarify what they think they hear from the audio available. Some theories are wilder than others, but the democratic flow of the thread seems to periodically rein in discussion from fantastical conspiracies. That being said, there are many opinions about the specific actions as well as the zeitgeist and perception of justice in 2013.

    Logically, many of those involved in the discussion, began with an established opinion about the LAPD and police behavior and culture. In fact, those opinions, which had long been held by marginalized communities have been widely adopted since the scandals of Rampart and Rodney King. Dorner cites both in his own indictment of the department. Sweeping critique of the LAPD was exacerbated by their own strangely incompetent and unprofessional behavior during the manhunt. On two occasions police shot aggressively at people who don’t in any way match the description of Dorner, or the vehicle he was reportedly driving.

    Police Departments all across America have accounts of wrongdoing, incompetence and malice. But it wasn’t simply prejudice that had so many people sidestepping the “crazy” and “violent” parts of Dorner’s words/actions to connect with the dominating message that the LAPD is racist, corrupt and punishes whistleblowers. USA TODAY gets experts to explain this:

    Marc Lamont Hill, an associate professor of English education at Columbia University, told CNN that although "what he did was awful," parts of Dorner's manifesto make sense.

    "When you read his manifesto, when you read the message he left, he wasn't entirely crazy," Hill said. "He had a plan and mission here, and many people aren't rooting for him to kill innocent people, they're rooting for somebody who was wronged to get a kind of revenge against the system."

    Scott Talan, a professor of public communications at American University in Washington, told USA TODAY that some people have grudges against government, police or other authority and see a bit of themselves in Dorner.

    Dorner reactivated the existing voice of dissent against an unfair, bullying authoritarian culture. The percentage of the this reality in his story was somewhat irrelevant. The fact that it was there, and it was palpable and resonant, inspired people to respond in groups. Curious bloodhounds, connected or not to Anonymous, began seeking out unedited or censored versions of the manifesto. They dug deeper into the paper trail of Dorner’s official accusations and hearings. Numerous groups formed on Facebook. We Support Christopher Dorner, INPDUM.org, Christopher Dorner Support Fan Page, We Are All Chris Dorner are some of them. I Support Christopher Jordan Dorner is another, and begins its message with this statement:

        “This is not a page about supporting the killing of innocent people. It's supporting fighting back against corrupt cops and bringing to light what they do.”

    Off Facebook, and “In Real Life”, protesters stood outside of LAPD Headquarters to express their desire for accountability, due process and less corruption. According to this CBS piece,

    Protesters told the Los Angeles Times they didn't support Dorner's deadly methods, but objected to police corruption and brutality, and believed claims in a "manifesto" posted by Dorner that he had been the victim of racism and unfair treatment by the department. Many said they were angered by the conduct of the manhunt that led to Dorner's death and injuries to innocent bystanders who were mistaken for him.

    On the other hand, political groups and pundits warn that conversation should be steered away from Dorner’s politics and focused back on remembering and honoring those who lost their lives. CNN Contributor, Van Jones says,

        “...But we should draw the line at suddenly giving an exalted place in our national discourse to the political rantings of a murderer.
    Before he met his end, Dorner took the lives of several human beings and wounded a few more. One of those killed was a father of two. The law enforcement officers killed were simply doing their jobs, trying to keep us safe.”

    This focus on the narrative of heroism in place of a discussion about the symptoms of cultural illness fits predictably with the contemporary perception of mainstream media’s function. And as a result is a perfect foil for the power and utility of the internet to be an instrument for the expressions of the masses. In many ways, this Anonymous transmission sums up the complexity of the power dynamics in America today, and how Christopher Dorner became a symbol of the general unease of citizens who have had enough.

    Dorner MEMES

    recordings of cops saying “burn it down,” referring to the cabin
    Rap Genius version of the manifesto
    How Chris Dorner’s manhunt became a meme
    Support for Dorner grows online

    In “A Tale of Two Memes,” An Xiao Mina writes that “memes charge movements with personal urgency and added symbolism and visual power to the discussion.”  In the case of Chris Dorner, personal urgency was the motivator that generated the memes as civilians became scared for their lives after LAPD shot innocent civilians in their search for Dorner. Police nearly killed three civilians merely for being in a pick up truck, none of which matched the make, model, or color of Dorner’s truck.  On top of that, none of the victims looked like Dorner.  Two were Hispanic women, and one was a white male.   By not using racial discrimination in who they shot, as the LAPD are known to do, the Dorner manhunt became a concern for a wider community of civilians who were afraid that just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, they were at risk of being killed by the LAPD.Dorner, in comparison to the LAPD, looked more like a rational, therefore, less threatening killer who was only following a clear strategy of revenge outlined in a manifesto made available to the public.  It was the LAPD, not Dorner, that became the real fear and threat to anyone with a pick up truck or brown skin.

    [Show memes of “don’t shoot” t-shirts and signs]

    These real life memes generated symbolic memes as more and more people began to support Dorner’s anger and issues with the LAPD, though most posts were quick to point out that they did not condone Dorner’s actions.

    Dorner’s likeness to celebrities also helped.  [Show memes with celebrity look alikes]

    In this case, Dorner’s supporters definitely found themselves connecting with a community of people who were fed up with the LAPD and believed that long term justice and overhaul of the LAPD needed to be sought, as was outlined in Dorner’s manifesto. Reference Mike Davis’s article on how racism leads to homicidal behavior.  People are rallying around a sense that Dorner’s experiences of injustice and racism understandably led to erratic, homicidal behavior.
    researchers are finding that the participatory creative culture of memes makes for true community building.

    What meme helped the Dorner story keep going?

    Did memes lead to sustained action on the part of the Dorner story?

    Useful Links



    Fox News. 50 seconds in



    Growing Support





    We Support Christopher Dorner

    Christopher Dorner Support Fan Page

    Christpher Dorner fake facebook page

    Call to Protect Doner

    Twitter Shirt

    CNN Host gets chastised for claiming he was sane when he wrote the manifesto

    Has a list of memes that have started

    Glenn Greenwald/GuardianUK


    nice web timeline

    here’s a good kpcc article on how people are taking to social media to support dorner

    Second Manifesto by another officer sympathizing with Dorner



    Starting at 10pm Feb. 12 (body in burned house believed to be Dorner)



    “Burn his house down”

    Police planning to burn his house down

    White House Petition

    Intentionally Murdered with fire

    Dorners story checks out

    Dorner Pushed back inside

    Burner’s deployed and we have a fire.

    Burner audio cannot be confirmed real

    Push to dig deeper
    Total transparency... pushing journalists...



    Rap Genius: Explains his manifesto with links to references


    Huff post... he got caught... but look at all this police violence.


    Daily Beast: We have a fire. Complete with Scary Music...

    Story Of Chris Dorner

    Not a Sociopath

    Alternet Cover-up

    Redditors’ Post-Mortem/Digestion of Conspiracy Theories

    Whitehouse Petition

    NBA: Amar’e Stoudemire Under Fire For Tweet About Christopher Dorner (I found this from a re-tweet by Funk Master Flex. How far with “they” go to get Stoudemire to apologize?

    Protesters at LAPD Headquarters: We Stand With Christopher Dorner NBC LA under a banner: Manifesto for Murder

    A CBS version of the same shit, even with same source quotations

    Ex-LAPD cop gains sympathizers on social media - It’s CNN, but this piece doesn’t just rehash the synopsis of narrative, it quotes and discusses (briefly) people’s voice on the police justice issue

    Van Jones suggesting that we should not be talking about Dorner’s political views

    Dorner supporters rally in L.A., on social media

    Christopher Dorner's Manifesto Gets The 'Rap Genius' Decoding Treatment

    Washington Post: After Christopher Dorner’s rampage, how to build community trust in police


  • PUSM WK1: Smash Cam Saturdays

    Twitter User @Revolution1Anon

    Supporting Links:
    CCTV Map
    Anonymous Fighting TrapWire and follow up "more info" link

    In August 2012, Anonymous Hacked into Strafor and acquired emails and documents describing the implementation of TrapWire, "an intricate global intelligence infrastructure" that networks private and public security cameras for massive, holistic surveillance. After sending these documents to WikiLeaks, Anonymous put out a call to action to disrupt this infrastructure by disabling surveillance cameras, one camera a time.

    I had originally seen a link that had outlined the ways in which you could participate from the safest to the most dangerous. If you didn't want to get arrested, you could add CCTV cams to a Google Map. More daring actors could shoot silly string or spray paint at the lenses. Or you could go and bash cameras with a bat or an ax. The Schnews.org.uk link is very similar. The element that piqued my interest initially was that participation in the name of Anonymous had primarily been designed for elite users. Leaving the rest of us to play the Audience. But now there were clear suggestions (instructions?) on what to do and how. And in addition to that, by articulating tiers for buy-in, they expanded the participation, attention span and even volume (via link forwarding) of the Audience.

    Does this mean that Anonymous is more porous? No. Inclusive? Not really. But this inspiration for Collective Action - collective, independent, uncoordinated, singular actions - is a means to an end. Messages from Anonymous travel quickly and widely on the web. Though they did set an October date for the "start", the primary value of a start date is publicity. Meanwhile, the encouraged action could begin at any time before or after October 20th. Similar to Bank Transfer Day, the data related to the inspired action have narrative value and help momentum, but the point to be taken is that people should be standing up to the tyranny of the status quo and should be conscious of this dynamic all the time.

    In relation to our readings, this would be a case of "Intuitive Politicians" engaging "Intuitive Economists" to opt in at personal comfort levels. Here Comes Everybody points out, "Collective Action is different than Individual Action, both harder to get going, and once going, harder to stop." In this case, it is very easy to describe what to do, but difficult to orchestrate en masse. But if the goal is to create awareness while inspiring some action then nearly any action is a win.

    Though the owner of @Revolution1Anon is not the author of this Action, he/she is making a political statement by endorsing and disseminating the Action. The Action itself makes a statement about the increase and motives of this surveillance environment. Every call to action, every video, pastebin doc, even the articles talking about it, explain with some detail what the problem is, what the symptoms are, who is involved and why. This gives the message more power and stickiness.