Thursday, February 7, 2013

Christopher Dorner, and why there are no universal ethics

As much as we like, we are unsuccessful when we try to set up standards of ethics that apply to all people on earth.

We have tried this from a religious perspective. My religious group recognizes the Apostle's Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed, as well the Bible as a number of other documents that have been collected in a document called the Book of Concord. But these cannot serve as a universal ethical standard when different people recognize other documents - the Doctrine and Covenants, the Koran, the Humanist Manifesto, whatever.

We have tried this from a governmental perspective. The United Nations has a document called The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But is there any person or any government that agrees with every article of this Declaration? And what does it mean to agree? Article 3 reads "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." Who is "everyone"? Bradley Manning? Christopher Dorner? (We'll return to him later.) An unborn child?

And we have tried this from a business perspective. Apple and Facebook and Google and Twitter have established rules about what you can do online on their services. Your employer probably has a handbook that says what you can or cannot do as an employee. All of these ethical guidelines differ.

Despite these attempts, there is no universally recognized standard of ethics. A picture of a man, woman, and six children may be entirely acceptable in Rome or Salt Lake City, but it may be considered extremely offensive in Beijing.

In the United States, we try to get around this by talking about something called "community standards." This recognizes that different parts of the country may have different cultural perspectives. Guin, Alabama is different than Dearborn, Michigan, which is different than West Hollywood, California.

But we can't even establish standards for a community.

A document has been made public today. This document includes the following statement (names redacted by the publisher, KTLA television):

Never allow a LAPPL union attorney to be a retired LAPD Captain,(XXXX). He doesn’t work for you, your interest, or your name. He works for the department, period. His job is to protect the department from civil lawsuits being filed and their best interest which is the almighty dollar. His loyalty is to the department, not his client. Even when he knowingly knows your innocent and the BOR also knows your innocent after XXXX stated on videotape that he was kicked and XXXX attorney confessed to the BOR off the record that she kicked XXXX.

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants-TJ. This quote is not directed toward the US government which I fully support 100%. This is toward the LAPD who can not monitor itself. The consent decree should not have been lifted, ever.

I know your TTP’s, (techniques, tactics, and procedures). Any threat assessments you generate will be useless. This is simple, I know your TTP’s and PPR’s. I will mitigate any of your attempts at preservation. ORM is my friend. I will mitigate all risks, threats and hazards. I assure you that Incident Command Posts will be target rich environments. KMA-367 license plate frames are great target indicators and make target selection even easier.

I will conduct DA operations to destroy, exploit and seize designated targets. If unsuccessful or unable to meet objectives in these initial small-scale offensive actions, I will reassess my BDA and re-attack until objectives are met. I have nothing to lose. My personal casualty means nothing. Just alike AAF’s, ACM’s, and AIF’s, you can not prevail against an enemy combatant who has no fear of death. An enemy who embraces death is a lose, lose situation for their enemy combatants.

The author, the aforementioned Christopher Dorner, has advanced his ethical theory, which basically states that because of the wrongs done to him by a variety of people, including the LAPPL union attorney who was a retired LAPD captain, Dorner is now entitled to "advance justice" by adopting Jefferson's statement to refresh the tree of liberty.

Because of Dorner's ethical outlook, Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence were shot dead on Sunday. Why? Because Quan was the daughter of the LAPPL union attorney who was unsuccessful in preventing Dorner from losing his job at the LAPD.

Some of you will say that Dorner's actions were clearly unethical. You condemn them. I condemn them. The student bodies at Concordia University Irvine, Cal State Fullerton, and the University of Southern California condemn them.

But are they universally condemned?

How many "Christopher Dorner is a hero" groups have been set up on Facebook? He's already receiving support in a comment on a Google+ thread.

When was the last time you sung along to the song "Cop Killer"? Hmm...

When was the last time you sung along to the song "I Shot The Sheriff"?

Now I will grant that there is a significant difference between singing "I shot the sheriff" and actually doing it. But is it ethically acceptable to sing about shooting sheriffs?

There's no universal agreement on that.
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