Cop Killer Chris Dorner: Blacks, Rap Music, and Violence
Cop Killer Chris Dorner: Blacks, Rap Music, and Violence
Christopher Dorner, a government-trained killer who went AWOL, has been in the news quite a bit the last few days. The manhunt for the former police officer ended on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 when the cabin he was hiding in was mistakenly caught fire by San Bernardino County Sheriff Deputies. The fire led to the death of the 33-year old man who was accused of murdering four people, including a police officer.
Dorner the Minority
Dorner grew up in Southern California and attended a Christian School, his childhood spent in well-to-do white communities. Dorner later wrote a manifesto in which he said that he felt as though he was the only African-American in his Christian school, and that he was often in trouble for fighting over the racial tension that existed between him and the other students. He graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in La Palma, California, a city with census data suggesting that less than three percent of the region’s population is African-American. He went on to study at the not-so-diverse Southern Utah University.
Dorner the Soldier
Chris Dorner went on to serve for over ten years in the Naval Reserve. He was first commissioned domestically and then spent several years in the Middle East. He worked his way up to the rank of Lieutenant and left the Navy Reserve decorated and with an honorable discharge.
Dorner the Cop
Dorner worked for the Los Angeles Police Department from 2005 to 2008, until he was fired for allegedly falsifying a report that claimed that another officer had used excessive violence. The case became the focus of Dorner’s “manifesto,” in which he catalogued and documented alleged uses of excessive force by the police.
What Chris Dorner Represents
Dorner represents much of what is wrong with our American culture and its constant state of schizophrenia. Men (and soon, women) in our nation’s military are trained to believe they are fighting for freedom and equality, while those in military service often come to see that they grew up in a country where freedom and equality are not realities for so many. Policemen and women are trained to protect and serve the cause of justice, yet when they “hit the beat” they may find that justice is meted out at the whim of those who hold power and is not based on the rule of law. Men risk their lives and livelihoods for what they believe to be noble causes only to find that their efforts have been used to further the ends of the malicious programs of an increasingly totalitarian state.
Dorner is significant because his life resembles the journey of a character from The Matrix: the more he wakes up to his own reality, the more unbearable it becomes. Dorner was trained to serve his country, yet he was sent on an imperialistic errand to Bahrain. He joined the Los Angeles Police Department to protect against the sort of injustices that he believed he had experienced, only to become disillusioned by what he perceived as excessive violence and corruption.
This is not to excuse Chris Dorner from whatever crimes he had committed, but rather to note that as long as America progresses deeper toward an Orwellian state, we should expect more confused Dorners who react in violent ways to the instability of their world. It should be understood that the welfare state, the warfare state, and the police state all operate in tandem. Murray Rothbard recognized that these were the wedges that tyrannical governments use to pit segments of the population against one another. He said,
The liberals, in short, push the “welfare” part of our omnipresent welfare-warfare state, while the conservatives stress the warfare side of the pie.
LBJ’s Great Society and Black Culture
We live in a country that believes that racism ended with a war and government intervention, yet year after year new events prove that racism is still very much alive. Growing up the son of a bi-racial couple, I have experienced the glare of those who look down upon white women who have Mexican husbands. Despite Hollywood’s attempt to teach us that we live in a color-blind culture, racism still exists. And this racism is perpetuated by a government thirst for power that feeds off class warfare. President Lyndon B. Johnson helped to foster prolonged class warfare with his “Great Society” programs which made dependents of many minorities. Ann Coulter explains,
Everyone knew – even FDR’s secretary of labor, Frances Perkins, knew – that granting widows’ benefits to unmarried women with illegitimate children would have disastrous consequences…
But under LBJ, that’s exactly the system liberals implemented. The “suitable home” requirements—such as having a husband–were jettisoned as irrational and racist by liberal know-it-alls in the Federal Bureau of Public Assistance. By 1960, only 8 percent of welfare benefits intended for widows or wives with disabled husbands were being collected by such. More than 60 percent of Aid to Families with Dependent Children payments went to “absent father” homes. As a result, illegitimacy, particularly among blacks, went through the roof. That was the year the black marriage rate began its precipitous decline, gradually at first, with the marriage rate for black women falling below 70 percent for the first time only in 1970…By 2010, only 30.1 percent of blacks above the age of 15 were married, compared to 52.7 percent of whites…To hide their own role in the suppression of a black middle class, liberals promoted the myth that slavery alone had produced dystopian black lives, This is the quasi-theological underpinning of the modern welfare state. 
Erol Ricketts, a demographer and sociologist with the Rockefeller Foundation, found that between 1890 and 1950, blacks had higher marriage rates than whites, according to the U.S. Census. 
African-American professor Walter Williams concurs,
The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery could not have done, the harshest Jim Crow laws and racism could not have done, namely break up the black family
It is no coincidence that the protest against these sort of minority-oppressing policies was led by civil rights movement, in which pastors and black leaders fought for the preservation of the nuclear family. The government elites understood that destroying the Christian family was the key to crippling the will of a Christian people. Without strong men to lead families, the government could step in and take the place of father and provider. Prominent civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. also opposed the war in Vietnam, appropriately recognizing that war and oppression are antithetical to liberty. King famously said,
For those who ask the question, “Aren’t you a civil rights leader?” and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: “To save the soul of America.” We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself until the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:
“O, yes, I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath –
America will be!”
Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land. 
Dorner belongs to a generation that was taught that MLK’s dream became a reality, a generation of young people who trusted their government to do the right thing. So many hoped and believed that America had become a place of liberty for all. I wonder if Chris Dorner is just one of many who have become disillusioned and confused by the mixed messages they get from every side.
Black Culture and Rap Music: A Response to Government Oppression
Disclaimer: The songs being discussed here contain foul language, adult themes, and offensive content. I strongly discourage our readers from listening to them. The point of this piece is to merely interact with work that is already a part of popular culture.
Yeah, I’m a gangsta, but still I got flavor
Without a gun and a badge, what do ya got?
A sucker in a uniform waitin’ to get shot
by me, or another nigga 
These are a few lines from the famous protest song, “F*** Tha Police,” from the Los Angeles-based group N.W.A., who expressed many of the same concerns about the Los Angeles Police Department that Dorner noted in his manifesto, only twenty years earlier. The lyrics are shocking, not just because of their reckless vulgarity, but because their near prophetic nature in relation to Dorner’s actions. Some would argue that this sort of rap music encourages men like Dorner to lose respect for authorities, that this kind of music encouraged his violent behavior. But we are discussing a man who was a decorated officer in our Armed Forces and who trained with the LAPD. He claimed to be concerned about the corruption of an organization to which he had submitted for many years.
Boyz In The Hood
In the early 1990s John Singleton attempted to address the social unrest that existed in the Los Angeles area in his movie Boyz ‘N The Hood,in which he included an interaction with a black Los Angeles Police Officer.
The scene is truly penetrating as the wholesome Tre Styles is pulled over by an overeager black police officer, who immediately places his large handgun at the black teenager’s neck. The cop is portrayed to be self-hating of his own black culture and claims that he took this job because he hated “little n*****s.” We see the kid trembling and a tear runs down his face as the officer says, “I could blow your head off with this Smith & Wesson and you couldn’t do s**t!” Finally, the officer receives another call on his radio and allows the boy to leave.
Two decades later this is the same sort of violence that arises once again in Dorner’s beat, urging him to file a report. But much like the LAPD of the Boyz in the Hood, nothing is done to rectify the situation.
Modern Rap and Anti-Police, Anti-State Sentiments
Movies and music are a way cultures express values and concerns. The anti-war movement was expressed by the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love,” and in the same way, black culture expresses its opposition to police brutality, to institutionalized racism, and to government oppression in the N.W.A and the Boyz in the Hood.
Opposition to government police officers is still a theme found in today’s modern rap music. Tauheed Epps, also know as 2 Chainz, is a Grammy-nominated rapper whose music has penetrated the hip hop scene. I’ve encountered his song several times while tuning through the radio here in Sacramento. Last month, there was an article on Huffington Post that showed a clip from the song’s music video that included what was implied to be an anti-police scene. This piqued my interest and I took a look at the song’s actual lyrics.
The lyrics for the track I’m Different aren’t really all that different, as they contain the same general themes we seen in today’s rap music: fame, sex, money. Looking for the cop scene, I watched the video that Huffington Post had put up. This Christian quickly recognized some incongruities in the video.
A Commercial Paradox
It is appropriate for us to be critical of this song; as it is presented it has little value to contribute, even as mindless entertainment. One could quickly, and rightly so, identify the commercial aspects of this song and how it so heavily relies on expressions of wealth in expensive cars and material abundance. Listening to rap music, I’ve often identified this as a strange paradox. Some rap music points to deeper cultural issues of inequality and poverty, yet a large portion simply portrays commercialized nonsense.
Too often the rapper expresses his values by borrowing the worth of an object that others wish they also had. In many ways, this reduces much of this genre down to urban jingles for commercial products. The song then becomes a commercial in itself, one that people are willing to pay to listen to. This becomes even more perplexing when we consider that radio stations then use these rap music commercials to get listeners to hear more traditional commercials.
But beyond the nonsense, this song suggests more.
The visuals for I’m Different are compelling, if you’re into watching Ferrari drivers arrest cops and a very tall rapper with long hair strutting around in an all-leopard ensemble. I’m Different is a single from B.O.A.T.S., which stands for “Based on a Tru Story” (Chainz doesn’t like the letter “e”) and might explain why Deuce is riding around in a boat for much of the video.
There is this unfortunate scene, which seems gratuitous (though the gun-toting folks did find cocaine on the offending officer.)
The music video represents a movement away from portraying the black youth as the victim. Now the young men pull over the police officer, point their gun at him, and arrest him as he kneels in front of them. The tables turn as the young men show the officer that they are no longer going to be abused. As the Huffington Post article mentioned, the young men find drugs on the officer pointing back to their view that the police are corrupt and hypocritical in their application of the law. As the most recent anti-police commentary, this is the culture of men like Chris Dorner: a culture of black men positively asserting that they will no longer be victims of the police state. In this sense, 2 Chainz is truly different, he represents a group of men who will not be complicit depending on the government to fix the problems that they understand the government to have created.
Freedom and Totalitarianism
Anthony Gregory, research editor at the Independent Institute, has said,
Just because you can watch half-nude women on afternoon television or gay men kissing on the streets of nearly any major city does not mean America is free, as complacent liberals might think, much less too free, as conservatives often suggest. Just because most dissidents are left alone doesn’t mean there is no police state, for that would be convenient indeed for the police statists: the idea that people ought not complain so long as they have the right to do so. 
Some may object to these anti-police views of modern rap music and complain of the need for law and order. R.J. Rushdoony has explained that the police force is to be a citizen force. “[T]he police power is the citizen’s right of self-defense…” Yet we can quickly identify dozens of modern police functions that are state functions of control and theft, not in any way respecting the intent of police as a delegated form of self-defense. Rushdoony continues,”Present-day trends towards a national police force are thus aimed at disarming and capturing the citizenry for totalitarian purposes.” 
What we see in black culture is the expression, warranted or not, that their local police have gone beyond the role of self-defense to the point of violence and subjugation. The violent responses of some, like Chris Dorner, are not to be condoned, but in order to prevent further violence, the reasons behind such behavior need to be explored. Those who are supposed to serve and protect must also be restrained from violence by the rule of law and limited to their proper function and jurisdiction.
What we see in Dorner’s story is the real unintended adverse results of a politicized police. Our policies abroad and domestically have real consequences for our culture and for our future.
The Kuyperian Commentary. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a link is given.
1. Ann Coulter, Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama
2. Erol Ricketts, “The Origin of Black Female-Headed Families,” Focus Spring/Summer 1989, 32-37
3. Martin Luther King Jr., “A Time to Break Silence,” delivered at Riverside Church, New York City, on April 4, 1967.
4. N.W.A, “F*** tha Police”, Straight Outta Compton, 1988 Priority/Ruthless
5. Anthony Gregory, America’s Unique Fascism, September 6, 2011
6. Rushdoony, R.J. (1978). The Politics of Guilt and Pity. Craig Press.