Thursday, February 7, 2013

Hate Kills

by Debra Mares

Everyone loses when a police officer goes down in the line of duty.  They are brave men and women who protect the innocent.  And this morning, we lost one of Riverside's finest allegedly at the hands of a former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer in connection with a complicated web of retaliation against the LAPD.  According to reports in the media, former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner shot at two LAPD officers in Corona early this morning, then ambushed two Riverside Police Officers who were sitting in their car at an intersection, leaving one dead.  Dorner continues to unleash his rage on LA, Orange and Riverside Counties and he explains it in an online Manifesto.

In his 20+ page Manifesto, Dorner lays out his memories dating back to the first time he was bullied and called the "N" word on the playground in the first grade.  He goes on to detail reported incidents of racial discrimination towards blacks and jews along with police brutality towards civilians while working at the LAPD.  According to him, these purported injustices culminated into him being fired, which is the alleged catalyst for his killing rampage, which started Sunday night killing Monica Quan, the daughter of a retired LAPD officer who Dorner accused of covering up violence and ethics violations within their department, and her fiancĂ© in Irvine.

The Manifesto reminded me of something.  One week ago, I was speaking to middle school students in Riverside.  When I asked them what were the biggest problems they were facing in their neighborhood, three boys raised their hands - drugs, violence, and police brutality.  Both the school teacher and I were surprised at the lone student's "police brutality" response.  Although it was one young man's perception, it was a serious one as evidenced by the potential effect it can have on our society and those who protect and serve.

I assured the young man I've never personally seen any incidents, reminded him how brave our police officers are, and we discussed the investigative procedures in place when there is a use of force.  He looked at me surprised.  I felt I was the first person to discuss these issues with him in a responsible manner.

It's important to work hard to promote tolerance within our youth and criminal justice system, so "horrendous murders" don't become "necessary evils," in the eyes of someone like Dorner.  Ruth Treeson, a Holocaust Survivor and Author of The Long Walk always reminds our youth, "Anger unchecked, becomes hate.  And folks, hate kills."  Indeed, we are witnessing that unfold today.

All of our thoughts are with every police officer who serves and protects in one of the noblest jobs I know.

"There's bad apples in every profession - law,  politics, medicine, criminal justice system, sports, religion.  They are the exception, NOT the rule," The Mamacita Murders.