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Waiting for Dorner

When the names of your colleagues at the LAPD are on the manifesto of a double-murder suspect still at large.

by
Jack Dunphy

Bio

February 19, 2013 - 12:09 am
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And then an unfamiliar car comes through the neighborhood, one with tinted windows so no one can see the driver, and it passes right by the house you’re guarding and slows down a bit but keeps going.  “We need to ID the driver,” someone says over the radio, so you go after the car until you can get close to it and try to get a look inside.  And you pull up next to it at a traffic light and try to see inside but the tinted windows make it hard.  And you realize that if it is the killer, you might not know who he is but he sure knows who you are.  And if it’s him, he’s got a gun pointed at you right now, and the last thing you’re going to see is that tinted window breaking when the bullet comes out heading right at . . . you.

Then you hear about an officer-involved shooting way down in Temecula, about a hundred miles from L.A., and again you think they got him, but a little later you find out it had nothing to do with the guy you’re looking for.  And you remember that all the ordinary trouble and strife is still happening out there; the killer is not the only bad guy on the loose, only the worst of them.

But then comes other news: the killer stole a car up near Big Bear, or maybe it was a truck.  The cops are chasing him.  No, now they don’t know where he is, but he’s driving a white pickup truck.  And you calculate how long it would take to drive from Big Bear to where you are, and God help the next person who comes down the street in a white pickup truck.

And then on the news radio stations the reports start coming in: they’ve found him.  He’s surrounded in a cabin near Big Bear.  There’s been more shooting.  Two sheriff’s deputies have been hit.  They’ve been flown to a hospital.  And a little later you learn that one of them has died and now that’s four people dead, four people who never knew the killer, never met him, never even saw him before in their lives.  And he thinks he got a raw deal.

Then, as night begins to fall, you hear the reports of the cabin going up in flames, and you think, well, if that’s what it takes.  But even as the cabin is reduced to ashes there are rumors that the killer has escaped.  He stole a police car and made it down the mountain.  Or it wasn’t even him up there in the first place.  And it seems like the fourth act in some horror movie where everyone thinks the monster is dead but he really isn’t and he kills a few more people before the good guys win and the credits roll and the lights come on.

They tell you the protection details will continue, because maybe, just maybe, the killer wasn’t caught in that fire after all.  And then you’re replaced by the next shift, and as you drive home you listen to the news hoping someone is going to say it’s all over.  But they won’t say it, not yet.  Not until they find a body in there, and even then not until they identify it.  When you get home, even though you haven’t had much sleep lately you can’t help but watch the news, and you learn that, yes, they did find a body but, no, they don’t know who it is because it’s been burned so badly.  But then you hear they found a wallet with the killer’s driver’s license in it, so even though there’s no positive identification through DNA or dental records yet, you can go back to your regular duties because, finally, it’s all over.

All over that is, but for the antics of the odd band of people who profess support for the killer, who are getting organized on Facebook and staging protests at the LAPD headquarters building and asking questions like, “Why couldn’t we hear [the killer’s] side?”  To which you want to answer, Maybe we’ve heard just about enough of his side.

And when you think it can’t get any worse there’s the inane commentary on television, like from the guy on CNN, some moral midget with a PhD, who talks about how “exciting” it all was and how the killer was some kind of “superhero.”  And you think, “What?”  And you wonder how much more of a superhero the killer might have been if he had murdered ten people.  A hundred?

And maybe that’s something to shoot for, if you’ll pardon the expression, for the next guy looking for a novel way to have his grievances aired.  Won’t that be exciting?

(Thumbnail on PJM homepage assembled from multiple Shutterstock.com images.)

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Jack Dunphy is the pseudonym of a police officer in Southern California.
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All Comments   (10)
All Comments   (10)
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Here's what I get out of this.
Police officers, threatened by a maniac, will be (rightfully) paranoid and do whatever it takes to bring the criminal in, or kill him. The feeling of vulnerability, that this time, they are the targets, is awesome indeed.
Then, the next day, when a woman tells them her deranged ex-boyfriend is threatening to kill her, it will be business as usual.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's not completely fair to say that. When I was 9 years old a cop drove me to the hospital. He came out to the little town i was in at an enormous rate of speed and went to the hospital at an enormous rate of speed. And I am fine with all my body parts attached (more or less) and function these many years later.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The idea of murdering someones daughter and calling up the dad to talk about it makes me sick.

Why do the eviiest deeds seem to come from the biggest dumb-fcks?.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Dorner called for banning assault weapons and silencers. Yet he owned and used both, and more. Typical hypocritical left-wing position. "Nobody should get to own guns but me, because my life is more valuable than yours."

So where is the table full of captured weapons police chiefs across the nation love to display when they nab a perp?

The only way I knew Dorner had a silenced weapon was when a citizen found one overlooked by the cops in the snow at Big Bear and reported it toTV news crews.

There seems to be two sets of laws: one for cops and ex-cops, and one for citizens. Cops and Feds get to be armed to the teeth with weapons the rest of us can't own. To defend themselves, Citizens are instructed to vomit on the assailant's shoes and run away as fast as possible.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thank goodness Dorner was stopped pretty quickly!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I feel for the cops in that situation. It's tough being the target of a terrorist.

But there's a bigger and very important nationwide issue that should have been addressed: cops attacking innocent civilians.

It happens all too frequently, as it did *twice* in this case. Usually, it's when police storm a house, suddenly and without warning, armed with automatic weapons and protected with armor and helmets. Most of these events are simply not necessary. They aren't doing it to protect anyone - they're doing it to grab a drug dealer or someone else with contraband. And that's no reason to put the public at risk.

There are times when the cops need the heavy armament and protection. But these days, too often, they use it when they don't. They look more like the SS than our protectors.

The ethos has changed. Cops used to trained to protect civilians. Today that training is diluted by an emphasis on protecting the police. Add to that the no-knock raids - which may result in more convictions, but place civilians in a lot of danger - and you have a problem. No-knock raids are a new phenomenon - started in the '70s as part of the drug war. But they are used more and more. The result: our police departments are militarizing.

If someone storms into your house, you have to ask: is it a home invader whom I should shoot, or cops with the wrong address who will shoot me 71 times (Tucson, AZ) when they see me armed.

We pay our soldiers a lot less than we pay cops, and those soldiers are expected to take a lot of fire, and run a high risk of injury or death. We should expect our cops to be willing to take the same risks - it should be *their* lives, not ours, that are at risk in their actions.

Tough? Well, they can choose a different career. But if police are there to protect and serve, they can start the protection by not shooting innocents, not storming innocent houses and killing pets and terrorizing the residents. How do they expect to have our trust when they behave this way.

I wish Mr. Dunphy would recognize how bad the police are starting to look - to law-and-order people like myself, not just cry-baby liberals - and I wish he would address that issue. Not going there in this narrative, where there were two instances of cops attacking innocent civilians, is an example of how the police have grown apart from whom they are supposed to protect, and have lost necessary sensitivity to the impact they have, and the way the community feels.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
No mention that the police who shot civilians should be brought up on charges? Sorry but if a civilian did this they would be held accountable.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So when is someone going to address the elephant in the room. I'm referring to the tortured logic of the LAPD discipline system where Officers are required to report suspected misconduct but, as the Dorner case proves, do so at the risk of their jobs. That kind of Catch 22 needs to be eliminated.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I hate LA. One day scientists will discover there is some manic radiation that deranges everybody who moves here.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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