In our opinion: Christopher Dorner: He's no folk hero

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 13 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

"Is it wrong that I'm rooting for Christopher Dorner?" asks one of a legion of Dorner supporters on Twitter. "I know the media is portraying him as a nut job," he continues, "but I feel like he's telling the truth."

The answer to the question is yes. It is wrong to be rooting for Dorner, the former Los Angeles police officer who was terminated for making a false statement in an investigation, and who then allegedly went on a shooting spree and killed three innocent people. The deliberate slaughter of humans always is wrong. Good people simply cannot condone or excuse murder in the guise of vigilante justice.

At press time, reports were circulating that Dorner was trapped and died in a burning cabin in Southern California after a gunfight with authorities. One law enforcement officer was killed and another wounded. These are people sworn to uphold the law and protect the public. Police perform frequent acts of heroism and deserve the utmost respect. Dorner's alleged acts are disgusting and a threat to everyone.

One of the most disturbing phenomena of modern life is the tendency by some to feel sympathy for criminal acts. This tendency dates back at least to the Great Depression, when some movie audiences would applaud the image of John Dillinger as it appeared on newsreels. Such people either are oblivious to or unconcerned with the victims of the crimes such people cause.

Dillinger was seen by some as a hero for robbing banks, which they blamed for the hard times of the Depression. But ultimately he was interested only in enriching himself.

Likewise, Dorner's supporters continue to cite passages from his 14-page manifesto, in which the former policeman lists his grievances with what he perceives as corruption within the LAPD and his complaints about society at-large. They see in Dorner a hero striking out against a broken system, and some have even compared him to fictional superheroes.

But if the allegations against him are true, then Dorner is not a hero; he is a killer. That is true regardless of whether or not you agree with his grievances against his former employers, or whether his manifesto is consistent with your own way of thinking. Murder is not an acceptable form of social protest, and its perpetrators must be condemned in the strongest possible terms and with the strongest possible penalties.

Support for Dorner has spread through social media sites particularly, where the hashtag "WeAreAllChrisDorner" has been trending on Twitter, and on Facebook, where pages have appeared in support of his "cause." These now have thousands of "likes."

The Internet allows for a degree of anonymity that gives people freedom to express such things without fear of public ridicule. Perhaps their sentiments are meant as a joke. But there is nothing funny about it, and such sites do nothing but coarsen society.

If the system is as corrupt as Dorner says, then anyone taking the law into his own hands has made it immeasurably worse. As many worried residents of Los Angeles can attest, such a person can make life uneasy for all.

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