It’s important as Christians to think about what’s on the news clearly.
For a whole week the news of former Los Angeles Police Department officer Chris Dorner going on a rampage has captured national attention, with the climatic ending yesterday up in Big Bear, California.
Some have elevated Chris Dorner up as a hero. A hero for pointing out the sinful culture of the LAPD. A hero and a martyr who held his ground to the very end.
For the Christians with the understanding of Romans 3:23, one would understand that even police officers and institution that’s meant to enforce justice and the good can also become bad. As William Parker, a famous LAPD police chief once said, “We’ll always have cases like this because we have one big problem in selecting police officers … we have to recruit from the human race.” Since Dorner’s manifesto was so exact as to the time and nature of certain events, there might be truths concerning the injustice he saw.
At the same time, that does not make Dorner a hero, especially with what he’s doing. The end does not justify the means. It’s also painfully ironic and hypocritical:
- He’s protesting against the kicking of a mentally challenged innocent man…but then he himself resorts to holding Civilians hostage, tying them up and the murder of two citizens.
- His manifesto’s “You are a high value target” line was directed basically towards all LAPD officers (black, white, Hispanic, Asian and Lesbians) since they are all bad…and yet his manifesto also had shout outs to good officers within the LAPD.
- Seeing that defending a good name is important…when he gives a blanket condemnation against all LAPD officer, does that justify them going all out against him to defend their name?
- His manifesto also promised “asymmetrical warfare” with LAPD…but ends up hurting more people outside of LAPD than within LAPD itself.
In the end it is tragic. Reading his manifesto, it seems that Chris Dorner’s problem is bigger than just with the LAPD. He talks about being picked on as a kid…he names principles from elementary school. He has an issue of bitterness and it’s not just with LAPD.
I also don’t want to unnecessarily demonize Christopher Dorner to the point of a caricature: we all have something within us that can make us become a Chris Dorner. And that is called sin. I think for the Christian we do have to deal with bitterness before it hurts us or hurt someone. For the Christian, this is possible through Jesus Christ. If He has forgiven you for a debt that you could never pay, of an infinite worth, then forgiving others as motivated by the Gospel is a true possibility: Jesus Christ is the reason why a believer can forgive people. It’s not just possible, but a believer who truly reflect on God’s saving grace for their sins will want to forgive others, it would be a joy. A closure. A tragedy avoided.