Letter from a Reader on Illegitimate Use of Armed Force

February 24, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


In reading the article in Revolution, "The Dorner Controversy Continues: The Outrage of Police Repression, the Reality of Dictatorship... and the Need for Revolution," (#296, February 24, 2013) I was struck by the two statements: 1) "…those who really rule this society exercise dictatorship" and 2) in exercising this dictatorship they will use "Force and Violence" that "are totally illegitimate." It also made me think of BAsics 1:23 where BA describes "dictatorship" as "When a monopoly of political power—and in a concentrated way, the monopoly of 'legitimate' armed force—is in the hands of one group in society, and that group excludes the others from that monopoly of power and force, then that is a dictatorship of the ruling group—or class..."

I was thinking about some of the extreme ways the pigs in the Los Angeles area used "illegitimate" force and violence, as well as other tactics during the Dorner manhunt. During the manhunt, the pigs unleashed themselves like rabid dogs with no respect for human kind. It was clear to many that this massive show and use of "illegitimate" force had nothing to do with protecting the public and had everything to do protecting themselves.

First off, they opened fire on several civilians with the intent to kill them. In the first incident, early in the morning, at least seven cops unloaded over a 100 rounds at a pickup driven by two Latinas, who were delivering newspapers, one is the 71-year old mother of the other. Both were hit and the older Latina was seriously wounded in the back. Their truck was struck over a dozen times with the rest of the bullets striking nearby cars, trees and garage doors. People said the fact that they were not dead and that others were not hit "was a miracle." To be clear, the pickup truck they were driving, a bright blue Toyota Tacoma, did not match the pickup that Dorner was driving, a dark gray Nissan Titan. People in the neighborhood were commenting that it was obvious that this was clearly "street justice" being administered by those "who wanted to execute" Dorner.

Minutes later, in a second incident, the pigs rammed a black Honda Ridgeline pickup and then fired three shots. A white male was driving the truck, on the way to going surfing. He was stopped and questioned and was asked to turn his truck around. While doing that, the pigs rammed him with their vehicle and opened fire, failing to hit him. It was reported that his Honda Ridgeline has a very distinctive truck bed-frame that is different from other pickups.

Secondly, they became judge, jury, and executioner while Dorner was trapped in an isolated cabin. Despite the fact that they had him completely surrounded and were battering down the cabin with a remote-controlled demolition vehicle, they decided to kill him on the spot by using a particular type of tear gas, called "burners," a more powerful type of tear gas that gives off intense heat and causes fires. It clear that was their intention as it was reported that a "SWAT radio transmission, in addition to the comments of at least one officer could be heard by a TV reporter calling for the cabin to be burned down." "Seven burners deployed," called out a pig, and then a few seconds later, "And we have a fire,"

Two other methods, one which was used and the other which was probably was not used are being discussed by people. In an all out effort to get the public involved in this manhunt the cops offered a $1 million award for the arrest and conviction of Dorner. Arrest and conviction? That was never going to happen. However, in order to get this out broadly and to get the public help with the manhunt, they used what are called, "blue alert" billboards that are put into use when a cop is killed or injured. These are not the same as the "Amber Alert" electronic freeway signs that can only use letters and numbers to describe a vehicle that was used to kidnap a child. They are full-colored, video bill boards, that had, "LAPD ALERT," Dorner's photo, "WANTED," $1 Million Dollar Reward," and a phone number to call.

The other thing people are discussing is whether the cops used drones during the Dorner manhunt. It appears they did not do that, despite the fact that the English newspaper, The Express, reported that drones were used against Dorner. The LAPD would not deny or confirm the use of a drone or fly-bot. However, the fact that this has become a discussion has opened up what is going on with the domestic use of drones in this country. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a list of 61 entities that have applied to use drones, with the list now at 81. It has been reported that among the 81 entities that applied to fly drones, there are several universities, police departments and government agencies including the U.S. Army, the FBI, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), NASA and the Department of Homeland Security (which already flies Predator drones to patrol the border with Mexico).

In speaking about the use of domestic drones, Marjorie Cohn, a professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law stated: "I don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility. I think that they may well be used for police actions, demonstrations, civil disobedience, things like that. I can see, for example, if they were to use drones for surveillance and find this guy Dorner who's now on the loose... I wouldn't be at all surprised if they didn't use a drone to kill him if they had the technology available" (statement given to Mint Press, an online news organization).

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