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  • “I don’t hate cops. I just feel better when they’re not around.” – Charles Bukowski

    News choppers hover over head. A pack of metallic vultures circle the skies around my house peering down at the fresh meat: the corpse of a local cop killed two blocks from my home and whose body is beginning to make its final journey from the mortuary down the street, to the church and then through the cemetery gates. Last week, shots ring out at around 1:30AM on Thursday, February 7, in a little strip mall area that gets my frequent business; bullets flew and expertly found their targets. The name Christopher Dorner was about to sink its fangs into the national consciousness. As the last six days have unfolded, I’ve watched a nine head hydra of a dialog unfurl over the various avenues of the media and amongst my friends and peer groups. At the simple base of this, another madman with a gun was shooting people, but this isn’t so cut and dry as the previous gaggle of non-self-actualized pillow biters pulling away from a fantasy world of violent video games and movies to once and for all live out their Rambozo fantasies in one last pitiful blaze of spastic glory. This guy was a soldier and a cop; he was supposed to be one of the good guys, a hero. But, something went wrong. He got the ax, and when he went into work place homicide mode, an entire state became his killbox and an entire profession became his targets. What’s left in the wake of this extended shooting spree is a vicious dialog that not only shows where everybody stands, but that we are a nation and people breaking up further into separate camps, taking hard non-retractable stances in a black & white/good vs evil mode of thinking that does not show our strengths but instead shows our weakness and the brittle, tenuous nature of the world we now live in.

    I have friends with various social/political/religious leanings. This is probably due to a long history of being a drunk, a musician, having a twisted sense of humor and really not leaning to one lop-side of the retarded equation on any of these issues. I’ve tried many different ideological stances and have come out the other side somewhat agnostic on all fronts. Since yesterday afternoon, as the inevitable shootout and standoff complete with a scripted for Hollywood movie burning backwoods cabin came crackling over the airwaves, with clockwork predictability, I’ve watched the various social media catcalls of “Burn mother fucker burn” on one end to “I guess the cops are now judge, jury and executioner” on the other end, and somehow both sides are right, and I both agree and disagree with both sides. Did Dorner have it coming to him? Sure. Was it going to end any other way? No. Should the cops have burned the joint down? Maybe. It’s not like I blame them for not wanting to make a tactical entry into that cabin, and I’m actually surprised they didn’t go old school and just call in for heavy machine guns and leveled the place with enough .50 cal ammo to set the county budget back for years. For the last six days of the manhunt, the only question was how many more bodies would be added to the list. Unfortunately, he was able to take one more life, and it was one of the regulars at my favorite little Irish pub, Jeremiah Mackay; he could be found every year playing the pipes on St. Paddy’s Day. I have shadowy liquor glass memories of the dude and sharing a combo of Guinness and Jameson at the bar when he was there a couple of times I was. He seemed like a nice guy.

    (Out of Hunter S. Thomson like laziness, the author has decided to cover this in a timeline of notes already written during the last nine days.)

    Sunday night, Feb 3: Monica Quan and her fiance, Keith Lawrence, were found shot dead. I have vague memories of this crime because it’s rather unheard of in Irvine, CA. For those of you not familiar with Irvine, it’s so clean it’s almost sterile, with an almost high tech Orwellian/Philip K. Dick vibe to it. The people there don’t even have dirt under their fingernails. So, a double homicide is rare to say the least. I remember the shocked banter on the news.

    Tuesday or Wednesday night, February 5/6: Popped into the 7/11 on Magnolia and Arlington to pick up some sundries. On the corner facing the 7/11, a prayer group of ex-druggie Teen Challenge types were gathered in a celestial circle jerk. The leader was yelping out some thanks to God for all that they have, which for this toothless group is close to nothing but the group itself, and a craving for drugs, for most of them at this stage of their life. I was glad that they were occupied with thanking Jesus for the lack of drugs in their life while I was allowed to grab some beer and tobacco. (I wonder how many of them will reflect back on the timeline of their prayer circle when they realize a RPD cop got killed right about where they were hurling Christ centered invective over a loud speaker to the cars passing by? I’m sure they will spin it in a positive light.)

    Thursday Feb 7: Chris Dorner, at this point a wanted man in connection to the Irvine murders, and whose license plate number is being flashed on all of the Freeway signs, gets in a shootout with two LAPD officers on the Magnolia Ave off ramp bridge injuring one and works his way down Magnolia to the intersection of Arlington in front of the little strip mall I frequent and shoots two RPD officers killing one of them. This second shooting occurs two blocks from my house. Normally, I'm up either grading papers or vegetating in front of the tube trying to fall asleep at that hour, but I actually fell asleep at around 10:30 PM so soundly that even automatic gunfire and a hundred sirens wouldn't wake me up. Longtime friend and band mate Bob Nye calls me up early in the morning to tell me of the situation. I wake up, turn on the news and there’s not only my city but my neighborhood in the national spotlight. I decide to shake off what for me was a damn good long sleep with a bike ride. I suit up, get on my trusty beach cruiser and make it to the end of my block before I see that there’s no getting out from the east end. The road is blocked off by two cop cars. Just from that vantage point, I can see around fifty cops, all in tactical gear with rifles at the ready. It looks like a warzone before the battle. I ride around for a little bit and come back home.

    Note from Facebook (FB from this point on): I go to bed early last night and miss all of the fireworks going down two blocks away from my house: slept right through it. Now my whole neighborhood is locked down by a hundred cop cars. I guess I'll either be late to work my extra day at Valley or use this as an excuse to fuck off the extra hours. Do I really want to spend a couple of hours in stop and go traffic as the local Barney Fife battalion, jacked up on anger and fear, is scanning every car?

    The biggest manhunt in Californian history has begun.

    With no work from my other jobs to do, I hunker down in front of the tube. News reports of LA cops shooting up any vehicle even close to matching the description are being reported, and in about as nice a light as can be shined on this kind of Keystone Kops on PCP situation. Two old ladies get lit up by a Hollywood movie level of gunfire, and just like the movies, these two only get slightly wounded. These cops can’t shoot for shit. I’m thinking, “If you are a bald black man or dark skinned Hispanic man with a dark Nissan truck, don't even leave the house until they bag this rampaging loony.”

    Note from FB: Several completely innocent people shot up in the wee hours of the morning due to officers anger and fear can now legally change their names to $$$$$CHA-CHING$$$$$ . . . assuming of course that wasn't already one of the Chinese women's names to begin with. Can you imagine the kind of sleazy scumbag lawyer hoedown that's going on in the hospitals of those victims of overzealous LAPD gunfire? (Later after they lawyered up, I posted: There are a couple of LA area paper throwers who are about to become millionaires.)

    Note from FB: Well, I gave it my best college try to get some hours in at Valley College today, and, after going around the cop blockades in my neighborhood, I made it as far as the freeway; it was almost at a stop. I made it to the next exit, hit Trader Joe's for a couple of bottles of now 2.5 Buck Chuck and came back home. Next time, could any of you ex-cop or even just regular psychos please do your shooting sprees outside of my neighborhood? What if I would have been craving a carne asada burrito at Alberto's today?

    The Dorner Manifesto is released. I read the edited version first and then find the unedited version. Both are a bit rambling and in need of a quality editor to keep his writing on point with the thesis. The “unbiased” local newscasters are painting Dorner as nothing more than an unhinged lunatic, which is true at one end of the spectrum, the one with a rifle barrel, but I see more desperation and anger at an untenable situation than just straight out insanity.

    The comments between me and my friends begin flying:

    “They found his burning truck up in Big Bear, and they got Big Bear closed down now. The guy probably isn't dumb enough to set his car on fire with him so close to the area unless he was setting up a kill box. He probably set a timed firebomb to deflect their attention and is way out of the area. Or, he really is completely insane and thinks a giant, bald Ving Rhames looking motherfucker will just be able to quietly blend in at Snow Summit (with the rest of the snowboarders.)”
    “They still got area around Alberto's locked down, and the dude is way far away from here. You think if any civilian was gunned down, they'd get this kind of attention? The answer is of course, no.”
    “If I got shot in front of the Alberto's they wouldn't even shut the joint down. They'd put some yellow tape up, take a few pictures, pick up the shell casings, question a few homeless bums who witnessed it and call the meat wagon in. Done in a couple of hours and no burrito service interruption.”
    “I should have walked down to where the news cameras were next to the child fucking building, I mean Catholic Church, and put on my best crazy clothes to get interviewed. I could have just started babbling, ‘I wanted a burrito from Alberto's cause I got my welfare check but some crazy dude had to shoot the place up, and now I got to go get a burger or something. This is America. I should still be able to get a burrito. It's not like they killed that cop in the Alberto's; it was at the intersection.’ Or just something equally nutty and see if I got on the news.”

    After almost fifteen hours, the area around my neighborhood clears out, and the focus shifts to the touristy mountain town of Big Bear CA. They're going house to house up in Big Bear. "Show of force" is a very telling phrase. It's the language of a police state. The meager inconvenience I felt for a little over half a day will work its way up the mountain in high gestapo fashion, but only we “flatlanders” are complaining. The fear frenzy pumped up over a psycho-killer has the normally closed community of full timers welcoming the police presence, at least the ones that make it on the newscasts.

    Friday, Feb 8: The media is in full coverage frenzy up in Big Bear with other newscasters all over the state interviewing anybody with some stars, bars, names, titles and alphabet soup with their name. A hotel room in San Diego is raided. The borders go on high alert. Cops are pulled off of their motorcycles and are paired into cars. A heavy police presence is felt at every police station and government building in the local area and LA. This area and Southern California is officially a fear frenzied cluster-fuck being televised to the rest of the world.

    Note from FB: Assuming that psycho ex-cop Dorner is actually still up in Big Bear and planning some Rambozo last stand in the woods, and didn't set the whole thing up with his truck as a diversionary tactic, let me say to the SWAT guys freezing their balls off up in the snow: if you can't find a big, Ving Rhames looking black dude in the snow, it's time to find another line of work. Also, I was surprised to find out that there are over two hundred abandoned cabins up in the more remote regions of Big Bear. Talk about my idea of heaven. A somewhat remote cabin in the woods that's still somewhat close to civilization. What I'm doing paying rent down here on the flat-lands? (I also ponder that if this had gone down ten or fifteen years ago, the ancillary law enforcement benefits to the Big Bear mass police raid would have been a record number of trailer meth labs shut down, or who knows, maybe they would have gotten in a number of raging gun battles with gacked up meth cooks.)

    With no work until Monday, I spend the weekend in my usual pursuits of light drinking, online poker, and social media psycho-babble. The two sided dialog is being bantered about from my group of friends with my more right leaning friends taking the pro-state “kill this cop killing mother-fucker” on one side and my more left leaning friends chalking Dorner up as a new “hood hero.” As he was only targeting cops and their families, and was out of my area, I felt the same level of fear and ambivalence as I do when I hear about a serial killer targeting street prostitutes, although I admittedly come down more on the side that rails against the police state; I just don’t think shooting them in this fashion accomplishes anything positive.

    Saturday, Feb 9: I get a strange drink craving out of nowhere; in retrospect, it seems like a foreshadowing. Note from FB: Ah, nothing like a perfectly poured pint of Guinness and a shot of Jameson. St. Patty's day came early tonight.

    Sunday, Feb 10: A one million dollar reward goes up for Dorner. Note from FB: Well, it looks like psycho-ex cop Christopher Dorner's head now has a cool million dollar price tag on it. That should make things interesting and crank up the potential for massive collateral damage as every bounty hunter, demented detective, and Rambozo wannabe militiaman grabs their guns and heads to the hills. Don't be surprised if some massive clusterfuck of a Tarantino shootout goes down in some desert shit hole of a town between Dorner, the various police agencies and several other gun-toting yahoos: Here's how we can really make some money off of this. We should find a way to pitch a reality show with Dog the Bounty Hunter, Steven Segal and Sheriff Crazy Joe Arpaio teaming up to find Dorner. If we're lucky, late in the season we'll get to see Dog get cut in half with a machine gun while trying to mace Dorner and talk about Jesus, all the while suppressing the avalanche of N-words trying to Tourett's blast out of his mouth. Then, hopefully for the first season finale, Dorner could take out Seagal and Crazy Joe with an RPG, and get away again. For the second season, we can pick three more "hunters." Maybe Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chief Darryl Gates and Stacy Koons.

    Monday, Feb 11: A slight bit of comedy relief as LL Cool J hosts the Grammys and several memes with his and Dorner’s similar likenesses side by side goes viral on the internet. Note from FB: With the LAPD in shoot first ask questions and pay massive lawsuits later mode, L.L. better not drive around LA for a while and just take a limo everywhere he goes.

    Fat Tuesday, Feb 12: While I’m at work pulling my long day at Valley College, the Dorner spree killing/manhunt/gestapo/police-state/newscast-cluster-fuck reaches a crescendo and comes to an end in the Hollywood fashion we all knew it would. I had my laptop with me at work, and I was not a good language arts tutor that day. Thankfully, the client load was light, and I was able to follow most of the action like every other lemming – eyes stuck to my shiny box. When reports came through that a two San Bernardino Sheriff’s deputies had been shot and one of them killed, something told me that, like the shootout around my house the week before, this one would also hit close, and it did. They couldn’t release the name of the slain officer but Ian Cochran, a regular and son of the previous owners of Liam’s Irish Pub, posted: “Going to Liams Irish to raise a glass for are fallen friend. Any [sic] wants to stop by.” It’s an Irish Pub, so there are a few cops that come by for a pint or two. I’ve drank with them, chatted with them, and watched them stare sideways at me like Clint Eastwood at some of my jokes, and at the pub, they’re just average Joes . . . who happen to be packing heat most of the time and have a sense of comfort that they don’t have to worry about getting arrested for a DUI. I didn’t have the cash to go in for a drink, but I remember thinking as I drove past, “I feel sorry for the comedians doing the comedy show there tonight.”

    I spent the rest of the night watching the wrap up and looking at the reactions of my friends on FB. The conspiracy theories start up, huzzahs for the new “hood hero,” and “Burn in Hell.” I wouldn’t say I was overwhelmed, but something wasn’t sitting quite right. I've never personally been fucked over hard by any cops, other than the usual random hassle over how I look . . . until they talk to me. But, I've had several friends with some horror stories, so I understand how Dorner is now becoming a "hood hero" and a lot of people were happy that the police have finally felt a level of fear that these people feel about the police. But there was something more in the tone of these two sided arguments. I thought maybe it was just because this was literally “close to home,” but late at night I came across a post from comedian Christopher Titus that had the same tone and feelings I was having. Here’s an excerpt: “He was obviously wrong and insane as I believe sane people don’t shoot the innocent. But this feels different like the lid is being pried off the bullshit and corruption that has invaded our empire, as it always does when a society has lasted about 250 years. Read a history book and argue with me, you will lose. Christopher Dorner was a killer and a soldier, and a police officer and a friend to people. The people that he killed were whatever they were but did not deserve to die. This one feels weird. This one scares me a little. A man who has exhausted his options, exhausted his sanity and exhausted the avenues to justice has but one option left. Chris Dorner went to a place that only Rambo movies go. But this ain't a movie. This is reality and in this place we call reality people get fired, they lose their jobs because of reasons outside their control and their performance. You don’t kill a bunch of people when you get fired no matter what the reason. If I had done that in my life the planet would be littered with dead fast food assistant managers. This was a weird one – TITUS

    I went to sleep with that in my mind, and woke up to news choppers buzzing my house like the Air Calvary scene from Apocalypse Now. I had work to do today, but I didn’t get much done. The dialog, or two sided monolog, is still in play. And, I’m watching it and studying it, trying to get a bead on my culture. Tonight, I took a walk to the store and the scene of the crime, one of them at least. Two memorials on opposite corners of the intersection face each other from their sides of the street. I went over to both of them. The voice of my more twisted sense of humor, the evil fuck that screams all of the wrong things in the back of my head, was telling me to come up with the money to put a giant “get well soon” wreath at one of the memorials, but if I had that kind of cash I’d be in a bar tying a good one on. I don’t cry much these days. I save my tears for the loss of people I know. I didn’t know the RPD cop killed near my house, and I barely knew Officer MacKay. I feel I know Dorner more because of the news coverage and his manifesto. I couldn’t work up a tear right now if you held a gun to my head, and I wish I could. Because, something tells me that when an ex-cop is shooting cops, and there’s a cheering section for both sides and very few voices for sanity in the wilderness, bad business is close at hand.
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