By R.J. Godlewski
©February 10, 2013, All Rights Reserved
John D. Hurth, writes in Combat Tracking Guide (2012, Stackpole Books), that combat trackers are special individuals that cannot be mass-produced simply out of need by any agency. Likewise, David Scott-Donelan, in his Tactical Tracking Operations: The Essential Guide for Military and Police Trackers (1998, Paladin Press), writes at length regarding the specialized training and team-orientation that trackers require, necessitating certain technologies for the environment in question. Arguably the granddaddy of all modern trackers, Jack Kearney, establishes the tone in his Tracking: a Blueprint for Learning How (1978, Pathways Press). His contention remains that man, himself, remains a primal tracker from a million years of evolution, but that his modern descendants migrated away from the necessity to understand sign.
I concur with these professionals, for I, too, am the proud descendant of those whose livelihood rested upon understanding the minute idiosyncrasies of nature…and man. Members of my family have farmed land continuously since at least 1766. My great-grandfather owned a large estate in Poland and served as both gamekeeper and stalker. In a manner of childhood largely forgotten today, I grew up camping on uninhabited islands, partaking of hunting trips to the farms of relatives, and getting ‘up close and personal’ with nature as befitting anyone raised upon a small and (at that particular time) largely undeveloped island. In my adulthood, I spent years hiking the mountains of Hawaii and sleeping alone in the depths of the Amazon jungle. My claim to fame, as it were, rests, however, with perceiving the thoughts of my terroristic enemies.* A talent, and an opportunity, that permits me to write such works as Skills of the Assassin: Understanding the Tactics of the Professional Killer (2012, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform).
It is within this context that I observe, with remote interest, the hunt for ex-police officer and rogue citizen Christopher Dorner in California and surrounding states. Epitomizing this ridiculous “manhunt” remains the $1 million bounty placed upon his successful apprehension and conviction, a reward the authorities bear no intent on ever paying. Mr. Dorner will not be taken into custody and that, friends, you can take to the bank. For whatever information the authorities in California and the West receive, neither he nor his former comrades in arms will permit the caveat of capture. Therefore, the search for Christopher Dorner resembles very much a hunt. But is it? What hunter, in his or her right mind, flushes out prey with thousands of humans? The closest traditional tactic – dogging – employs a few people to flush deer out of a well-defined wooded area. What tracker could possibly follow Dorner’s sign with so many conflicting footprints and odors? The only thing the local police have attracted was the spotlight of the national media and herein lays my most egregious complaint.
The authorities hot – their description, perhaps; not mine – on the trail of the fugitive have offered little to quell the nerves of the public than frequent news pleas to the criminal, suggesting for all to see that they bear absolutely no opportunity in which to apprehend him, and equally frequent suggestions of his professional brilliance. From what I can observe, Barney Fife could elude those ostensibly tracking Dorner. And what to make of the myriad of video images that I have seen of Dorner engaging within various aspects of martial arts training and shooting? Strange that a police officer so terrible in his work that he was both discharged from the force and denied promotion in the Navy would be appearing so often within, dare I say, publicity videos? Can you say “diversity” boys and girls? Or, perhaps, “affirmative action”?
Perhaps I am in error over my estimation, but what cannot be denied are those quirky press conferences with the local police and even mayors announcing that – gosh – they cannot apprehend the criminal without his support. Obviously, Mr. Dorner must be bunked down in some Sheraton Inn along the beach somewhere because nobody in the woods is listening to the television. I suspect that the locals are making Dorner out to be some form of police superman (a strict contradiction in terms) in order to hide their own ineptitude. I wonder how many of those police chiefs shuffling in front of the cameras earned their four-stars by going head-to-head with humanity’s worst specimens. How many have spent decades following a single adversary. How many have sacrificed personal lives to track people that even militaries fear to meet. Surrounded by the various mayors, I see more General McClellans than General Shermans or Grants.
One traditionally trained military sniper, sans the 80-pound pack of ridiculous communications gear, would do more to serve justice than all of the 800,000 police officers in America combined. Christopher Dorner is not an animal; he is a human being and one largely trained in the wiles of urban society. This makes his presence in the wilderness stand out as much as a grizzly on Park Avenue. Such rogues take months and years to track down, usually the length of time that it takes Hollywood movies to glorify their evil. His “turf” will remain the city and the camera and herein is where the search should concentrate. The forest should be left to the experts…
R.J. Godlewski (GOD LESS KEY) is an independent counterterrorism consultant, the director of the private International Nuclear Emergency Response Team [INERT], and the author of several novels, commentaries, and professional articles. He is the author and architect of the Web-based Independent Counterterrorist training program. He is currently a graduate student at American Military University completing his M.A. in Military Studies, Asymmetrical Warfare concentration, and graduate certificate in Security Management. Mr. Godlewski holds a B.A. in Intelligence Studies, Terrorism Studies concentration with a minor degree in Area Studies – Middle East with honors from American Military University. He further holds an undergraduate certificate in Explosive Ordnance Disposal and is a veteran of both the United States Navy and Navy Reserve. His most recent professional article is “Financial Counterintelligence: Fractioning the Lifeblood of Asymmetrical Warfare” in American Intelligence Journal 29 no. 2 (2011): 24-33. His latest book Skills of the Assassin: Understanding the Tactics of the Professional Killer (ISBN-13: 978-1480240001) is available for order from wherever books are sold. His next book, Of What Price, Heaven? Encountering God Within a Highly Secularized Society (ISBN – 13: 978-1481902342) will be available in February 2013.
* Memorandum for the record, R.J. Godlewski, “Human Intelligence: Perceiving an Enemy’s Thoughts” American Intelligence Journal 27 no. 1 (2009) 29-37.