Until The Next Fire Ignites…
When Obama hit the predictable line last night about the state of our union being stronger, the clapping was anemic, as if to emphasize that strength is not something many associate with the state of our country right now.
While the president unrolled his political platitudes to the worthless group of politicians that populate Capitol Hill, the alleged homicidal rampage of ex-LAPD officer, Christopher Dorner, was coming to an end in a cabin in Big Bear Lake, California.
There’s a good article up at Jacobin this morning that’s worth reading, and it ends with this:
The police will celebrate, the chorus will quiet, the lives of his victims mourned. It is unlikely that the fire that burned away Dorner will burn away any illusion: this is unfortunate, and disturbing. His allegations will be dismissed as the rantings of a lunatic, things will return to normal. Until the fire, next time.
And there will be a next time, because the problems Dorner described are not just the rantings of a lunatic.
As I was watching MSNBC coverage of Dorner’s last stand, Chris Matthews casually dismissed Dorner’s claim of continued institutional racism with the LAPD, saying (and I’m paraphrasing here) that those problems were decades ago. Matthews also indicated that no one has supported Dorner’s claims.
Not surprisingly, Chris Matthews is simply wrong.
Just ask Wayne K. Guillary, an active LAPD Sgt. who tried to reach out to Dorner. Guillary had this to say:
… There’s still much work to be done … Some may say that nothing has changed with the leadership in the LAPD. … Trust me I have been in the fight with the organization regarding social and racial injustice within the LAPD. Currently, I am the only out spoken African American within the organization that possesses the moral courage to confront and ask questions unflinchingly about race, racism and discrimination in the LAPD. Yet still, I have paid a humiliating price inside the LAPD for preserving and believing in the importance of “I have a Dream.”
Or you could ask Joe Jones, a former LAPD officer who also confirmed that his personal experiences were similar to the ones Dorner described.
“The 1st thing I would say to [Dorner] is, I feel your pains!,” Joe Jones wrote in his manifesto, circulated Tuesday by hacker group Anonymous and posted to Jones’ Facebook. “But you are going about this the wrong way. To take innocent lives could never be the answer to anything. I say this as a Man who experienced the same pain, betrayal, anger, suffering, litigation and agony that you did in many ways.”
It takes incredible courage for these two men to come forward. I don’t think I’m overstating it when I say they are putting their lives at risk doing so.
Will Guillary and Jones and their experiences be dismissed? Probably. But we do so at our collective peril.