Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Don't focus on Chris Dorner's politics

By Van Jones, CNN Contributor
updated 9:31 PM EST, Thu March 7, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Van Jones: In the wake of Chris Dorner's death, pundits are talking about his political views
  • Jones: We should not give a place in our discourse to the political rantings of a murderer
  • He says Dorner killed several people; we should respect families of the victims
  • Jones: There are many better spokespeople for the cause of racial justice than Dorner

Editor's note: Van Jones, a CNN contributor, is president and founder of Rebuild the Dream, an online platform focusing on policy, economics and media. He was President Barack Obama's green jobs adviser in 2009. He is also founder of Green for All, a national organization working to build a green economy.

(CNN) -- In the wake of Chris Dorner's death, much of the talk has already turned to his political views.

In the wake of a tragedy, it is understandable to ask why this happened. It is appropriate to discuss ways to keep it from happening again.

But we should draw the line at suddenly giving an exalted place in our national discourse to the political rantings of a murderer.

Before he met his end, Dorner took the lives of several human beings and wounded a few more. One of those killed was a father of two. The law enforcement officers killed were simply doing their jobs, trying to keep us safe.

San Bernandino County sheriff: 'This investigation is over'

Van Jones
Van Jones
Become a fan of CNNOpinion
Stay up to date on the latest opinion, analysis and conversations through social media. Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion and follow us @CNNOpinion on Twitter. We welcome your ideas and comments.



Today, with the families of the dead still grieving, it is very hard for me to shift away to focus on Dorner's political views.

The families of the victims are still in shock and mourning. Think of their friends and relatives, who are still shocked and devastated. How much would it hurt them if they turned on the TV and heard, instead of tributes to those lost, pundits going on about a crazy man's Facebook manifesto?

We should not be "using this occasion" to debate various theories of racial justice -- not while the blood of the innocent is still fresh on the ground. Dorner's actions have invalidated his notions of justice; killing innocent people is not the proper method to advance the cause of justice, period.

Furthermore, why should any of us participate in giving Dorner exactly what he wanted? We should not validate his quest for attention by discussing his political thinking, especially not while mourning families are planning funerals.

Ex-LAPD cop gains sympathizers on social media

Dorner's ex 'sort of expected' violence

Dorner might have raised intriguing questions on the way to his insane conclusion. But real insights are available elsewhere, from sources that are infinitely more credible.

There are many better spokespeople for the cause of racial justice than Dorner. In Los Angeles, there are hundreds of people who have been working to reform the Police Department through legal means, without harming anyone.

The people who deserve to be talked about today are the victims of this violence and the people who are trying to make positive change in peaceful, lawful ways.

I don't want to reference Dorner in any way except for what he was -- someone who was very disturbed, who needed mental health support and who cruelly took the lives of those devoted to service.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Van Jones.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:57 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says spanking is an acceptable form of disciplining a child, as long as you follow the rules.
updated 9:58 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Steven Holmes says spanking, a practice that is ingrained in our culture, accomplishes nothing positive and causes harm.
updated 2:31 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Sally Kohn says America tried "Cowboy Adventurism" as a foreign policy strategy; it failed. So why try it again?
updated 10:27 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Van Jones says the video of John Crawford III, who was shot by a police officer in Walmart, should be released.
updated 10:48 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
NASA will need to embrace new entrants and promote a lot more competition in future, argues Newt Gingrich.
updated 7:15 PM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
If U.S. wants to see real change in Iraq and Syria, it will have to empower moderate forces, says Fouad Siniora.
updated 8:34 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Mark O'Mara says there are basic rules to follow when interacting with law enforcement: respect their authority.
updated 9:05 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
LZ Granderson says Congress has rebuked the NFL on domestic violence issue, but why not a federal judge?
updated 7:49 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
Mel Robbins says the only person you can legally hit in the United States is a child. That's wrong.
updated 1:23 PM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014
Eric Liu says seeing many friends fight so hard for same-sex marriage rights made him appreciate marriage.
updated 4:55 PM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
David Wheeler wonders: If Scotland votes to secede, can America take its place and rejoin England?
updated 4:36 PM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
World-famous physicist Stephen Hawking recently said the world as we know it could be obliterated instantaneously. Meg Urry says fear not.
updated 1:21 PM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
Sally Kohn says bombing ISIS will worsen instability in Iraq and strengthen radical ideology in terrorist groups.
updated 9:27 AM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
Artist Prune Nourry's project reinterprets the terracotta warriors in an exhibition about gender preference in China.
updated 9:36 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
The Apple Watch is on its way. Jeff Yang asks: Are we ready to embrace wearables technology at last?
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT