By: Andrew Nguyen, JS Major
You know what I mean. It happens all the time and we barely even notice it. Let me explain…
So occasionally, we all like to enjoy an action film here and there, and for whatever reason, it normally involves a man in a suit; a guy named Vin Diesel in a sports car, and or a sword-wielding ninja of some sort… well, in any case, there is always the usual scene where the main character is either fleeing from the authorities in a hot pursuit while weaving through traffic, big-rigs and construction sites. Or, the main character is shooting his way out of an apartment building swarming with SWAT team members. Nevertheless, the protagonist succeeds in evading the police by means of killing the cops or causing police cars to crash into on-coming traffic—hooray; we then cheer on, glad to know the main character made it out alive and now the rest of the movie may continue. The sad part is, as an audience, we hardly ever think back on the cops and individuals that suffered injuries or even died in those scenes of the movie. Just think about that for a second while we look to actual events that occurred in Southern California, which some could even say would make for a good blockbuster film.
In recent times, the biggest headlines that emerged on the news were the story of the vengeful ex-LAPD cop Christopher Dorner, who believed to be wrongfully fired. And in his own unrelenting path to revenge and justice, Dorner ultimately killed 4 cops and injured many others along the way (And if you haven’t had the chance to read about Christopher Dorner, I highly recommend that you do some research on him). Furthermore, the manifesto Dorner left behind, explaining his motives and reason for revenge against LAPD and those that were involved, reached public ears and gained enormous popularity, support and sympathizers. Soon, people began to speak out on social media outlets including Facebook and Twitter, giving Dorner support by saying things like “Fuck the Police!” or “LAPD, You Are Guilty”. Although most supporters of Dorner would argue that they do not condone murder and violence, they still view Christopher Dorner as a hero for his actions against the police. In my opinion, we do not know the true exact details and circumstances that occurred in Dorner’s life and the true events that took place within LAPD that would cause him to go to this extreme. But one thing is for sure: there are a myriad of ways to “get back at the system” including civil litigations rather than violent means. However, my point isn’t to argue who is right or wrong. My intent is to point out the psychological phenomenon known as “Stockholm syndrome” that occurs; as it is aptly demonstrated in media entertainment and through the example I had given. With this being said, going back to my “action hero”
segment, it all starts the same way, whether in a film, television show or video game. We are first introduced to the main characters— the protagonist, along with other supporting roles. As their lives unfold on the big screen, we delve deeper into their story. And as an audience, we begin to build an emotional connection with the main character. Even if the “protagonist” was in actuality, a villain, we still sympathize for them and side with them from beginning to end. So by the time they encounter those cops and successfully gets away by killing them (in the movie, game, TV show, etc.) we cross our fingers, sweaty palmed, gripping out seats all in hopes that the main character gets away unscathed. Pity, because at that point, the average person wouldn’t stop to think about the cops who just died because in our mind, we already made the decision to support the main character through whatever good or bad decision they’ll make. But if you think about it at an individual level, you realize that each of those cops that died— they were somebody’s spouse, sibling, child, and or friend. They all had lives, a family and maybe even children. They could have been me, or even you. I say this because I know there are many of us out there who are or aspire to become Law Enforcement agents. Those cops that died—well that could have been us on those movie screens. Suddenly, it’s not so awesome when the “protagonist” gets away does it? Although, relatively speaking, it’s all fictional, but in the same way, this Stockholm syndrome may be a factor in the way we view Christopher Dorner’s case. However, I say “to each, his own”. I cannot say who’s right or wrong in the case, but I would simply like to remind readers to think about the real heroes that are out there on the streets risking their lives for the public. Just food for thought.