Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chris Dorner: The Press And Police Panic; He's Not James Bond

The MSM has leapt on the story of the former Los Angeles police officer who has gone on a rampage after being dismissed from the force for cause.  Christopher Dorner shot three police officers, one fatally, and is also charged with killing an engaged couple, the woman being the daughter of one of his declared targets for revenge.  Dorner has published a rambling 11,400-word manifesto which makes some interesting reading from the 'morbid fascination' viewpoint.  Should one wish to surveil that topic, I would suggest dedicating some time to reading the whole ramble – some press sources have edited out portions for the purported sake of brevity, but curiously these are portions that are injurious to the standard meme of a crazed, right-wing, military veteran on some sort of post-traumatic rampage, backed up by an arsenal of ninja training that he received from the military and police.

While there is no doubt that he is crazed and has been on a rampage, his political leanings are uncomfortably (for them) nowhere near right-wing.  In fact, he has praise for Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Diane Feinstein, Ellen DeGeneres, and Piers Morgan, among others, and praises Michelle Obama's new bangs.  (He does, however, put in a kind word for former President Bush the elder.  If one believes that that puts him in the crazed right-wing category, then this topic is a lost cause.) 

Further, he is staunchly in favor of gun control (except, of course, for himself) and claims to be a victim of and a whistle-blower about racial discrimination.  (Left uncommented upon by the press is that his female murder victim, and by extension her targeted father, is Asian.)  Just a few observations about his manifesto claims, which extend back to his experiences in high school: all white police officers are racists; all non-white police supervisors (and lesbians) are contributing to racism by making white officers hate them; a major motivating factor for being a cop is to oppress minorities; ad molestus. 

I wrote previously of the police over-reaction to his threats, in two separate shootings of suspects who came nowhere close to resembling Dorner.  The police seem to be reacting as if the long list of Dorner's alleged skills of dark martial arts, a combination of Rambo and Jack Bauer, is something other than the ranting of a malignant narcissistic paranoiac.  As for whether he "snapped" or is the victim of this epidemic of PTSD that is being extended to practically anyone who wants to claim it (as opposed to legitimate cases), I suggest that it took some time to compose and write out such a lengthy screed.  The LA Police Chief didn't help matters when he declared, "He knows what he's doing; we trained him.  He was also a member of the armed forces.  It is extremely worrisome and scary, especially to the police officers involved."


I cannot speak with any real authority as to his police training, but I do note that after his standard police academy curriculum, he worked for only four months with the LAPD before a deployment in the Naval Reserves.  Upon his return to the force, he was focused on avoiding standard patrol duties until he received "re-integration training", at one point breaking into tears.  His field training officer repeatedly counseled him that if he didn't improve, she would write him an unsatisfactory evaluation and ask to terminate him.  When she finally did, he in turn filed a complaint with Internal Affairs that she had kicked and injured a mentally ill man during an arrest.  The police review of the complaint found the allegation untrue and dismissed him for the false official statement, flavored I'm sure by his unsatisfactory job performance. 

I'm not exactly sure where during that time frame that he was trained to the extent that he was "dangerous", over and above however dangerous anyone with a bare modicum of training would be. 

But as to his military training and record, I can add some sanity to the claims bandied about the airwaves about the advanced skills that he is supposed to have, taken at face value by journalists who have little idea of his true nature and background.  Just this morning, listening to Fox News on XM on the way to work, I heard a commentator speak of his underwater demolitions training.  Other sources have spoken of his flight training, in reference to a postulated threat of a hijacking attempt.  Others speak darkly of his intelligence training and deployment to combat areas.  The list goes on, but allow me to put a damper on this hysteria.

Un-Ninja

Dorner had been a Lieutenant in the US Naval Reserve up until the beginning of this month, and assigned to the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR).  The only obligation of a member of the IRR is to retain a seabag full of uniforms on the off chance that he could be recalled to active duty.  His designator (similar to a military occupational specialty – MOS – in the Army or Marines) was 1305, meaning that he was in the Reserves ('5') in the capacity of an officer in the aviation community who had no specific skill.  Sure enough, he had entered the Navy to attend flight training, but he washed out.  The extent to which he has any flight skills at all is debatable, depending on what point in his training he was dropped, but the Navy clearly wasn't impressed. 

From April 2007 to January 2010 it appears that he was assigned to basically place-holder billets, possibly in Voluntary Training Units (VTU – unpaid but accruing drill points).  Thus, for the last five years his military training as it relates to this crisis was essentially nil. 

For some 3½ months in 2006 he was assigned to Coastal Riverine Group One in San Diego, before being assigned to a detachment of Coastal Riverine Group Two in Bahrain for 5½ months until April 2007.  These relatively new units (though the mission has been around for some time) is to function as a "brown-water and green-water Navy", small patrol craft operating in the near-offshore and river areas.  A goodly amount of the training would be dedicated to the boats themselves.  Whatever training he had in the few months prior could not have amounted to much in the way of weapons or operational skills, particularly infantry-type skills ashore. 

Between June 2004 and February 2006 he was assigned to an undesignated Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit (MIUW).  These units perform missions in coastal surveillance and harbor defense, using rubber raiding craft such as Zodiacs or the like to patrol and deploy sonobuoys for tracking surface and subsurface craft, with easily deployable (thus the 'Mobile') equipment such as small control vans for radar, sonar, and communications capabilities.  A MIUW, like a Riverine unit, is like an Army round-out unit, comprised of an active duty cadre and reservists to bring it to full capacity if the unit is deployed.  There is no real field training for a MIUW other than what the individuals assigned to it bring with them, aside from occasional small opportunities that present themselves.  It is unclear from his record to what extent he may have spent on active duty during this period, but while a MIUW is definitely several notches above shore duty in the field operations category, and it is part of the Special Warfare community (like the Riverines), again they are not up the level of SEALs by any means.  Neither of these units requires sniper, scuba or demolitions qualifications.
 
At some point, he also attended some sort of instruction at the Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center at Dam Neck, Virginia.  There is no field training at the center, only classroom-type instruction.  While it conducts some rather sophisticated training in some topics, it also deals with some relatively low-level introductory classes as well.  Dorner had no background, nor the time, that would indicate that he was trained in anything other than fairly pedestrian courses.

Previously, he was stashed at the Naval Personnel Command after washing out of flight training. 

His decorations are mundane: the National Defense Service Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal mean that he was on active duty during a national emergency.  Everyone gets them after six months.  He has a Pistol Expert Medal (which one would expect with the training with LAPD) but only a Rifle Marksman ribbon.  While the term 'marksman' can denote a good shot in civilian parlance, its use in the military denotes the lowest recognized capability with a rifle, as opposed to Sharpshooter and finally Expert.  In other words, his skills with a rifle don't amount to the level that the press is giving him.  As for the rest of the decorations, they mean that he was assigned overseas, meaning his brief deployment to Bahrain which is called, as I mentioned before, the 'Paris of the Persian Gulf'.  The Iraq Campaign Medal doesn't necessarily mean that he was in Iraq, only in the theatre of operations (again – Bahrain).

Finally, this brings us round to the reason why he was mustered out of the service a couple weeks ago: it corresponds to the time that a Lieutenant would have been passed over for promotion to Lieutenant Commander, twice.  With that, his services were no longer required.  Nothing in the records released so far indicate whether or not there were the same problems in the Navy that he showed in his short police employment.

Update: He has apparently been trapped in a cabin in the woods in the Big Bear community in the San Bernadino mountains, besieged for a few hours after shooting it out with two deputy sheriffs (one dead, one critically wounded).  The cabin is aflame and it is thought that Dorner is dead amid the flames and exploding ammunition.  A just and appropriate ending, I would think. 

This also belies the stories of his skills in the woods – he holed up in a cabin like most fugitives would.  The length of the search had nothing to do with his skill: autistic 8-year-olds can go missing for days in areas such as this, and they aren't even trying to hide. 

The story of Christopher Dorner may be drawing to a close, but consider in the future how ramped up the press can be in making these inflated and unsubstantiated claims.  It takes some reporters with integrity doing some honest journalistic research to put out the right story, but that doesn't seem to be high on the list of the MSM, particularly when there is a pre-conceived story line that they have to pitch.

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