Christopher Dorner’s Manifesto

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Coincidentally, I watched the movie Rampart last night, knowing nothing whatever about the Rampart scandal of the LAPD (Los Angeles Police department). The movie is not a history of that scandal. It focuses on a single officer who embodies some of the police misconduct and felonies in that scandal. But then it happened that when I read Dorner’s Manifesto, I came across his reference to Rampart.

Christopher Dorner’s complete (at this time) manifesto is here and here. He makes clear his motives for his killings. His motives and goals of what he terms the “horrendous murders” are linked, one to another. At the outset, he says that he is aiming for “substantial change to occur within the LAPD and [to] reclaim my name. The department has not changed since the Rampart and Rodney King days. It has gotten worse. The consent decree should never have been lifted. The only thing that has evolved from the consent decree is those officers involved in the Rampart scandal and Rodney King incidents have since promoted to supervisor, commanders, and command staff, and executive positions.”

The consent decree referred to is discussed in a Wikipedia article on the LAPD.

In reading this manifesto, I was struck immediately by how much it reminded me of the work of Will Grigg, who has documented so many instances of police misconduct, brutality, criminality, excesses, and failures. But that may be because I am “tuned in” to the idea of the many different kinds of police services and activities being supplied in free markets, instead of monopolistically by police departments like the LAPD. And that’s because (a) I’m a fan of Bruce L. Benson’s work on privatization of police, as inĀ To Serve and Protect, and (b) the militarization of police is such a frightening development.

When institutions and organizations break down, become corrupt, become rotten, and overstep their proper bounds, injustices proliferate. When the society fails to correct the problems, they fester. People get screwed. Sooner or later, there is blowback. There can be riots, killings, mayhem, sit-ins, … You name it. The same phenomena occur internationally. When a country oversteps its proper bounds in some foreign lands, there are consequences.

In all human relations, there are proper bounds. People do have ideas of fairness and justice. They vary among people. They’re not like numbers that are the same everywhere, but they exist. People do feel injustices and it affects their thinking and actions.

Why does a society fail to correct its problems? Why is innovation in the organization of police forces suppressed and delayed? Need I mention police unions? Need I mention campaign contributions? Need I mention politics? Need I mention where the financing of police departments comes from, namely, involuntary assessments and taxes? Do we not see similar issues in public schools?
A free market doesn’t finance any good or service through force and taxation. This is key. It is central. Cut the source of revenue of a police department from being taxes, and the entire system of police services will begin to transform overnight. The services will be supplied by companies. Do you want to locate a missing person? There might be competing specialists to do just that. Do you want to have an alleged criminal located? Competing investigators might do just that. Do you want evidence gathered? Do you want someone arrested? Competing specialists in doing these services and others might do just that. You pay them. Competition assures a better result than what the LAPD is delivering, which by all accounts is very problematic.
Furthermore, how much police misconduct is there everywhere else? I like to go to this website to find out. I’d say that there are about 6-10 cases being found every day. There are 18,000 or so state and local police departments in the U.S. If there are 10 cases a day for 365 days, that’s 3,650 cases. If there is one per department, then 20 percent of them are having problem cases, and that suggests the departments are not operating well. And this is only what is reported.

 

8:29 am on February 11, 2013
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