America does not have to take Christopher Jordan Dorner seriously. But we would all do better to understand something that applies to him and applies to all of us as well. In the terms I have used at this blog it is this: Human beings have the right to make life and death decisions.
Dorner is, by all appearances, not on a rampage, but on a vendetta. He aims to take revenge into his own hands. An organization has done him wrong and he plans to make them pay, in blood.
There is a slight difficulty with this morality play. It is that nothing that comes of this drama, no matter which way it plays out, can be called justice. It will be vengeance. The difference is that justice is in the public interest and vengeance is something between squabblers that don't represent anything other than themselves. The more observers and critics attempt to draw large symbolic meaning from this drama, the more wrong they will be, unless they make that distinction. If the LAPD gets its way, then it will have avenged itself, that means nothing whatsoever to society. If Dorner manages to satisfy his bloodlust, it is not a triumph for the little guy, it's all about Dorner. So the problem we have is that everyone playing sides thinks they are cheering, in some way, for their own collective interests, and that is just wrong.
Our society is, for worse, collectivising itself. More and more people are getting involved in fewer and fewer issues with larger and larger battles. The 'significance' of more and more current events are in play for 'society'. America is less of a society of independent individuals than it could be, and I say, than it ought to be. And because of that, we have invested more (too much) of our time into defending groups and institutions that actually don't serve us well. I hope we all learn to be a bit more self-reliant in the future.
Dorner is guilty of expecting that his own personal sense of integrity would be served in his police and military work. And that is to be expected considering how people (on the Right) tend to glorify the deeds and character of first responders and military personnel. But a real trooper knows that subjugate themselves and swear oaths not to their own sense of right and wrong, but to the Corps, the Army, the Air Force. When you die in the course of duty, the flag they drape over your coffin does not have your name on it - you don't die for yourself, you die for your country, your city. And so that is how you are to live. If you can't go with the flow, then head for the door. The cost of being a professional is understanding exactly where your organization falls short. This is a psychic burden young Mr. Dorner could not bear. He couldn't stand a lie if it cost him his job. And he couldn't stand the cost of not having the glory he presumed from having that organization at his back. In other words, it was like discovering there is no Santa Claus. That is why Dorner is transparently sociopathic - his expectations of society, of the LAPD of the US Armed Forces were that they would always and everywhere support his personal convictions. That's not how it works.
As an individual, Dorner's course makes logical sense, to him. No matter what you know, no matter how intelligent or foolish, no matter what your ability to gain support in your community or society at large, you will always have a point of view that diverges. An individual knows what he knows and sees what he sees and makes judgments according to his experience and learning. All colloboration is a compromise, even between identical twins. We cannot get inside of each others heads - we can only empathize with what we assume to be good enough rationalizations for actions. It always comes down to cases, and every individual's case is different.
Human beings have the right to make life and death decisions. Individuals can. In certain cases they must. But we are a large society and we recognize that we are better off on the whole if we can let some people specialize. The police exist, and we pay for their weapons, because we have decided to proxy off those life and death decisions to them, the professionals, the specialists. But in return we demand that they swear an oath and that they dedicate themselves to serving *us* not their own interests. The job of the police brass is to ride herd on policemen - make them wear that uniform - control their thinking, their behavior - make them stick to their duty. In the case of Dorner, they failed. Dorner's own experience caused him to make a break with the police, he put his own values above those of the the organization he swore an oath to.
When the LAPD failed Dorner, they called him names - specifically a liar, and then gave him the boot. He was fired. When Dorner failed the LAPD he called them names, liars, racists; and now he has become a deadly enemy. I cannot justify either claim, and that's really not important.
What is important is that as individuals we recognize what kind of power we give up when we pledge ourselves to organizations, groups and institutions. We need to understand that we submit to the rules, regulations, values and judgments of a collective and that means our opinion doesn't matter as much any longer. If we have a crisis of conscience, then it is our duty to abdicate. Leave. Scram. Hit the door. We have to have a Come to Jesus Moment with the leadership and get that my way or the highway decision.
I think Americans have become so individually powerless that many of us are making Dorner's mistake. We think that our own personal ethics and values are actually served by those institutions we swear by. When that turns out not to be the case, we are blindsided by our blind loyalties. We cannot believe that promises were broken. And then we want revenge and have the nerve to call it justice.