I was born in Mississippi in 1949. Around that time one of the easiest ways to lynch an entire African-American family was to set the house on fire and shoot people as they ran out. That tactic took fewer people than the average hanging, and you didn’t have to show your face.
The technique also worked well in Al-Qaeda’s massacre at the American embassy in Benghazi.
And it worked at Big Bear, too.
The San Bernadino County Sheriff’s knew the grenades they fired into the cabin were highly flammable, and would be set off by a spark. Or a gun shot.
Either the sheriff’s people were stupid about that or the Sheriff lied when he said they had not intended to burn Dorner.
The cabin was surrounded. A siege was in order, not a lynching. Certainly emotions ran high. Anger. Adrenalin surf. But the public has a right to expect that their law enforcement personnel are professional and disciplined. And have an interest in justice rather than revenge.
Law enforcement failed on all of those accounts at Big Bear.
Dorner may very well have been the vicious killer he was painted as.
But the way that law enforcement behaved that night at Big Bear resembled the sort of undisciplined, fury-driven madness that characterized the Ku Klux Klan of my home state. Or terrorists at Benghazi. One can argue that the motivations may have been different, but the results are indisputably the same.
I have written about a number of the many strange, suspicious aspects of this case: L.A.’s “Killer Cop:” Was He Set Up? but law enforcement’s stonewalling, lack of transparency and blood lust to revenge their own losses raises a questions, destroys their credibility, further damages the shaky trust they have with the public and makes a lot of people wonder, “what was so important to cover up that they have to made sure he never got a chance to speak in court?”
I took some minor licks in the 1960s, most notably when a Madison County (Mississippi) deputy wanted to beat the hell out of me and my best friend Arthur for bringing water to a school teacher from Ohio whose car radiator had overheated on Highway 55 during a civil rights march.
I outran the sucker in my 426 Hemi Plymouth, otherwise I might not be writing this right now. I have seen the face of undisciplined law enforcement and know what it looks like.
And right now, it looks a lot like Big Bear.