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Listen to what we want to hear Carlos R. Davalos | Sat, Feb 16 2013 12:00 PM

When did everyone get drunk on nonsense, fall and hit their head? It’s as if people are walking around with mild concussions, unable to hear one thing without completely misunderstaning what they’ve been told.

Christopher Dorner — the man believed responsible for killing the daughter of a retired Los Angeles police captain and her fiancé (and two other law enforcement officers), engaging in a wilderness shootout with sheriffs and park rangers, bounding a husband and wife in their cabin and carjacking a Big Bear resident at gunpoint — was a man that, if guilty, deserved to be punished.

Some will have read the above and agree that Dorner got what was coming to him Tuesday when he was possibly shot to death and burned inside a remote cabin.
Others will undoubtedly read the following as the defense of a man who was a martyr for a greater good:

Dorner — the military veteran and former Los Angeles police officer — prompted much needed if uncomfortable introspection not only by LAPD but all police agencies when he alleged racism and unchecked institutional brutality. The fact that he garnered support and sympathy from a wide spectrum of people suggests his screed tapped into feelings that have been harbored by many.

Neither interpretation is accurate. But people will hear, and read, what they want to hear.  It’s easier, it seems, to cling to what we feel rather than what we might reason.

Dorner is not the first person to claim racism, unfair treatement and brutality by the Los Angeles police. He will not be the last to make such claims against any department in the United States. Yet those allegations do not give him or others the right to take innocent lives.

At the same time law enforcement agencies do not have the right to dispense their own brand of justice or suspend civil liberties and due process when one of their own has been threatetend or killed.

Throughout the almost two-week manhunt for Dorner the public learned of officers shooting at people in vehicles that reportedly (and mistakenly) matched the description of what the fugitive was driving.

In San Diego a man was surrounded by police because they believed he was Dorner and  hiding in a Point Loma hotel. Authorities would later say the innocent man was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

People joked it was a bad time to be a black man driving a truck in California, while some black men were questioned simply because police wanted to make sure they weren’t the suspect.

While it may have been a bad time to be a black man, a pickup driver, a hotel guest or the victims in two police shootings, it’s been an even worse time for reason.

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