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Asymmetric Warfare and Christopher Dorner

February 10, 2013 11 comments

I am guessing that most of you must have heard about the ongoing modern version of ‘Django Unchained‘.. I mean ‘Dorner Unbadged‘. You might have also heard about his 20-21 page manifesto – link to uncensored version. While you can find lots of information about his past (both good and bad), it is hard to deny a few basic things.

a. The guy has eluded thousands of cops with military style gear and vehicles, helicopters and drones.

b. A combination of his manifesto, the abysmal public reputation of the LAPD, their trigger happy cops and their continued inability to find him have become a major public relations disaster for the LAPD.

c. A lot of people are now rooting for the guy over the LAPD. A rapidly increasing percentage of his supporters are not black.

So what is this guy trying to achieve other than what he has already stated in his manifesto? What is his real strategy? Here are my thoughts on those issues.

1. It is very odd that Dorner did not kill more people on the day (or night) he started his crusade. The guy was obviously stalking a lot of his targets for some months, maybe years. When he made the first move, he had the element of total surprise on his side. While this might appear lazy or stupid under normal assumptions of revenge, it makes a lot of sense given the contents of his manifesto. The guy is not going for a simple medium body-count shootout. He is very conscious about his legacy and how the world will see his actions. He wants to be seen and remembered as the hero and he probably will be.

2. You might have seen reports of this guy all over southern California doing everything from burning his vehicle near a ski resort and throwing extra loaded gun magazines in dumpsters. While that might appear stupid and short-sighted, he has probably accumulated and hidden many guns, lots of bullets and significant amounts of survival provisions all over South California- or maybe beyond it. This might sound weird, but I think that Dorner is trying to get the maximum numbers of cops and police departments involved in his manhunt. One of the signature feature of an asymmetric war is the amount of money and resources a weaker foe can get their adversary to commit to the fight.

3. He is trying to get the LAPD into an over-reaction mode, and so far he has succeeded beyond his wildest expectations. The very fact that they have shot up pickup trucks with old hispanic ladies, a thin white surfer dude, arrested more than a few big black guys in pickup trucks and gone on house to house searches in mountain resort towns and used helicopters and drones to try find him tell me that he has got to them. Dorner is trying to enrage them into committing an ever-increasing number of mistakes and acting like the arrogant and dumb people they really are. I have to say that everything that has happened till now has gone according to his plan.

4. I think he is going to keep on ‘stoking the fire’ with enough force to get their attention and keep them on continued high alert but not enough to endanger him, at least immediately. I expect that he will pull of a couple of isolated hits on cops in the next week or two- just to keep them on their feet. It seems that the guy is trying to degrade the ability of the LAPD to function as an effective organisation with some degree of public legitimacy. The people he has killed and will kill in the near future are just a bonus.

He is trying to pull an ‘Iraq’ or ‘Afghanistan’ on the LAPD and so far it appears that he will succeed, even if he does not live to see it.

What do you think? Comments?

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