Posted on | February 13, 2013 | 48 Comments
At about 4:15 p.m., aerial video showed a structure on fire at the standoff location . . .
The man in the cabin never emerged Tuesday afternoon after authorities shot tear gas into the structure and ordered him to surrender . . .
Several walls of the cabin were knocked down with an armored vehicle, then authorities heard a single gunshot from inside, the source said.
The cabin was engulfed in flames shortly thereafter, but it’s not clear how the fire started.
Strange as it seems to say, one of the best comments I heard on this case was Chris Matthews on MSNBC last night. Matthews talked about how Dorner lost his job and felt himself the victim of injustice. Matthews mentioned his own years of working in government and talked about people who, somehow, got messed up in the bureaucracy and could never let it go. Much like Dorner with his 11,400-word “manifesto,” Matthews said, these aggrieved people would often carry around thick files of Xeroxed documentation of their cases, trying to get someone to pay attention to their complaints: “They can’t seem to move on with their lives.”
Indeed, I used to encounter people like this when I worked at newspapers. The “nut in the lobby” situation was common enough: Every so often, a kook would show up at the front desk with a file folder, telling the receptionist they needed to talk to a reporter who could investigate the terrible injustice that had been done against them. I’d sometimes volunteer to be the guy to go out and deal with the “nut in the lobby.” Mostly, they were people who had gotten divorced, or lost a custody battle, or been fired from their jobs, or sometimes a combination of such misfortunes.
Psychologically shattered by whatever sad fate had befallen them, these people typically had the idea that a crooked lawyer or corrupt judge was the source of their problems. What they wanted was to have this malfeasance “exposed” by the newspaper (an idea they’d gotten from movies and TV dramas about crusading investigative journalists), so that the wrong would be rectified.
It was my habit to look through the kook’s file folder — Xeroxed documents, notes scrawled on yellow legal paper, etc. – and say, “Listen, let me make some copies of these.” So I’d take their folder, go copy a few pages and staple them together, then return to the lobby and promise the kook that I’d look into this.
The main thing was to seem sympathetic, let them tell their story, reassure them and — finally — get them out of the lobby.
Nowadays, kooks publish their grievances on the Internet and, in Chris Dorner’s case, are actually able to get the attention of CNN anchors with nothing better to do.
Some people just can’t cope with failure. They lack resourcefulness and are psychologically fragile. Then their dreams of glory come crashing down and . . . “charred human remains.”