Watching the flames blaze forth from a cabin in the woods, a sense of finality dominated. The finding of a murderer's body was almost anticlimactic. The nightmare of shootings of police, murders of family members, and a self-aggrandizing manifesto was, at last, at an end.
Rage, I am guessing, most frequently comes from frustrated expectation, disappointment combined with a sense of injustice. Suffering is often hard to bear. Injustice can sear the soul.
Ambition, professional and otherwise, powers human progress on an individual and a community level. And there is a strong human impulse against unfairness. How do these common traits go so wrong in a few tragic and dangerous cases? How did they spin out of orbit for this would-be officer of the law, the man who once carried a badge?
For many of us, family and job are the twin pillars of self esteem. Our sense of self-worth becomes fragile when these collapse.
Dorner felt that a dream of professional success as a police officer had been unjustly broken. His second chance, that of a Navy reservist fell away as well. That was not all. A series of romantic relationships, including a marriage ending in divorce, became successive disasters. The marriage lasted less than a month.
Pain is a part of life, and injustice is the way of the world. Everyone has experienced both. It is pointless to compare degrees of anger. Anger and its causes are not easily measured. "I know how you feel" is almost always untrue.
But we can say that identification of self with career and relationships is sometimes exaggerated. In Dorner's case, it seems to have gone way beyond reason. It happens to some. In my own experience, two acquaintances, one of those a co-worker, have been lost to suicide.
Whether by religious faith, or by wisdom through introspection, the singular milestone of life is the discovery of an inner value that is independent from circumstance or accomplishment. The best among us go beyond a proscriptive respect for the rights of others, managing a recognition of an inner worth possessed by each of us.
Most religious faiths would call for mourning for the victims and, as well, for a lost soul. I grieve for the daughter and her fiance, the young couple who were the first of those murdered. I am stunned and saddened by the ambush style killing of a succession of police officers. I am disheartened by the injuries to innocents by panicked members of law enforcement.
But I confess my share of human failings. Whatever his complaints, whatever the injustice he experienced, there is little feeling left in me for the tattered soul of Christopher Jordan Dorner.
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