If I ever post something and (without irony) call it my “manifesto,” then I give you permission to dismiss my ideas. Because sane people don’t write manifestos. We send emails or make phone calls or talk to our friends. We send letters to Kaiser Permanente requesting they reimburse us for screwing over our autistic children for several years. We take our enemies to court. That’s how we communicate, even about the things we care about most. We stay within the lines. Maybe we push right up against those lines in an effort to make them stretch, but we do not break them. We do not write manifestos. We do not acquire weapons and begin killing people.
And if we do, we are wrong.
There is a man named Christopher Dorner who has hidden himself away in the San Bernardino Mountains. There is a storm this weekend, which makes it more difficult to find him. On Wednesday, he killed a man my husband grew up with. He was a police officer in Riverside. He was a father to young children. He was a husband.
I expected that we could all agree that this man needed to be caught and put to trial and removed from society so that he couldn’t kill anymore people. I did not expect for people on my Facebook page to begin posting snippets of his manifesto that they agreed with, mostly about Dorner’s beliefs about gun control and LAPD corruption. I did not expect a small but very vocal minority to speak out in support of Dorner.
I am certain the LAPD is corrupt. I am certain it needs reform. Lots of things are corrupt. Lots of things need reform. Lots of us are wronged, all of the time, every day. Lots of people are wronged in ways that are much, much worse than the ways in which Dorner, a young, physically healthy, American man, might have been wronged. That doesn’t give Dorner, or anyone, the right to appoint himself judge and sentence people to death. We are right to ask ourselves why this is happening and what we can do to prevent it in the future, but that doesn’t mean we need to make Dorner a martyr or a hero. It is not heroic to gun down innocent people. As soon as you make Dorner a martyr for your cause, your cause is lost.
Maybe Dorner had something valuable and important to say. Maybe I would have listened. Maybe something would have changed. But he began murdering people in the name of his cause. And with that, nothing he says matters anymore. I will not read your manifesto because fuck your manifesto.