BROADER IMPACT AND INFLUENCE OF THE DORNER STORY
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.
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?
Fox News. 50 seconds in
We Support Christopher Dorner
Christopher Dorner Support Fan Page
Christpher Dorner fake facebook page
Call to Protect Doner
CNN Host gets chastised for claiming he was sane when he wrote the manifesto
Has a list of memes that have started
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
Redditors’ Post-Mortem/Digestion of Conspiracy Theories
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
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
Washington Post: After Christopher Dorner’s rampage, how to build community trust in police