Americans are diverse. Our main commonality is our dissention. When the Christopher Dorner story broke reactions ranged from outrage to sympathy. One theme that unites us all together is our desire for safety. We all wish to live in a world that promotes law and order. From the end of WWII, the Civil Rights Movement and especially 9/11, our government has a spotty history with promoting the health and general welfare of its citizens. Most of us live in a world where we value the status quo. We tolerate questionable and tainted police activity to ensure the promotion of law and order. When stories break the news like Christopher Dorner, our media squawks to stir up public support for the government’s coercive apparatus and their efforts to maintain law and order.
I would ask you all to question: What is it we are fighting to maintain?
The term law and order was first used in the late 1950’s by southern governors and law enforcement in an attempt to mobilize white oppression for the Civil Rights Movement. The Dorner case is a polarizing event that follows in the footsteps of many historic movements. I will call you all to remember how polarizing Martin Luther King’s sit-ins and bus strikes were among southern whites and blacks.
Direct action is never looked upon favorably by those who sit balanced on their rung in the ladder. In his letter from Birmingham Jail, King said,
“I had hoped that the moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace…to a substantive and positive peace…Actually, we who engage in direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed.”
Certain elements of the Dorner case cannot be denied. His actions were successful in shining a light on the LAPD’s racist and corrupt practices. It is undeniable that the LAPD routinely uses excessive force. A simple Google search yields video of Los Angeles police officers taking turns slamming the face of a young white nurse into the pavement. No demographic is safe when the executives run amuck. This was as recent as August of last year. It is undeniable that legislation and police policy are designed to target racial minorities.
During the mid 1980’s when the War on Drugs gained full steam, black prison admissions skyrocketed: nearly quadrupling in three years. In 2000 the Human Rights Watch Reported that blacks represented 80-90 percent of all drug offenders sent to prison. These facts directly contradict with actual drug use. The National Institute of Drug Abuse reported that whites are seven times more likely to use cocaine, eight times more likely to use crack, and seven times more likely to use heroine. The report also stated that black and white youth use marijuana on an equal basis.
Can a system really be designed to discriminate against an entire race of people with no just cause? I doubt a system designed on a foundation of double standards shall endure for long.
If you were to stand in Dorner’s shoes, how would you react? As a man, he worked repeatedly to stay within the system and amend the racist, abusive practices of his police force. What was his reward? To be ostracized and cast out into the street; to be stripped of his power and influence.
Those of you who disagree; I encourage you to research Adolph Lyons’s case. A twenty-four year old black man was pulled over in Los Angeles for a broken taillight. Police instructed him to assume the position. The force applied to his hands caused his car keys to dig into the skin on the back of his scalp. Once Lyons could no longer take the pain, and his hands fell, he was choked with a night-stick. When he awoke, he was coughing up blood and dirt, he had urinated and defecated and had sustained permanent damage to his larynx. The LAPD issued him a ticket for his broken taillight and released him.
Lyons sued in an attempt to ban choke-holds. His prosecution’s investigation discovered that 16 people have died at the hands of the LAPD and their choke holds; 12 have been black.
Plato defined a citizen as any person who works for the betterment of a city. Banished and forgotten, Dorner’s options were greatly reduced. What is a man to do when he has no other choice? Will he stand aside and watch as his brothers are continually abused; or will he stand up and make a difference?
I will not liken Dorner to a hero, or a messiah. However based on the definition provided by our Greek forefathers, Christopher Dorner was the ideal citizen. I can only hope that when push comes to shove, we all have the strength and foresight to reach for his level.
*The views in this article represent the opinion of the author, and not those of CisternYard News.