Monday, July 25, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE?
Jean Charles De Menezes
I'm sure everyone has heard about Jean Charles De Menezes, the 27-year old Brazilian shot dead by London police on Thursday. Unsuprisingly, many on the left see this tragedy as merely a case of police brutality.
Exerpts from rabble.ca:
"I don't know if I'm tired, or just emotionally chareged at the moment or what... but I'm just so shocked and sad and horrified at this murder and the hollow, hollow words of the authorities and Blair and his own government about it. This is just f**ing insane."--Shaolin
"I wish I could also get shocked and sad and horrified at this. I'm especially disappointed by some of the statements of "Red" Ken Livingstone. I expected more from him than being stampeded by the Underground atrocities into conclusions such as blaming the Underground bombers for the conduct of the police."--N. Beltov
"The use of instant capital punishment for the new crime of "running away while Muslim" is causing consternation among the Muslim community in Britain. It's also likely to stiffen the determination of the radical Islamist suicide bombers."--M. Spector
You get the idea. A quick search of blogs on Technorati also gives you much of the same flavour of comments being made by bloggers across the globe.
Many of the blogs I have read (I'll call them the "hindsight is 20/20 crew") believe that the incident went down something like this:
- Plainclothes officers are looking for suspicious muslims.
- They spot Menezes, a random, "asian-looking" muslim near a train station.
- They run after him, not identifying themsleves, firearms drawn.
- They chase him into the station, tackle him, shoot him in the head five times.
- Police wait 2-3 hours to release the story so they can "spin" what happened.
- A call goes out on the radio that 3 London train stations have once again been bombed.
- You and your unit see a man entering the station in a long, thick coat.
- Someone tells you that they saw wires coming out of his jacket.
- Your unit pursues the man, identifying themsleves as police.
- The man bolts into the station, towards the train.
- You give chase, yelling at him to stop.
- Instead of raising his hands, he jumps over the turnstile, seemingly intent on getting the train.
- Bombers had just set off explosives IN trains for the second time in as many weeks.
- Dozens, possible hundreds of people are around the man's immediate proximity.
- He runs down the escalator and attemps to jump on the train.
- Your fellow officers tackle him, but he's still struggling.
- Police HQ bulletins have stated based on experience abroad, that suicide bombers have explosives strapped to their chest and that you must shoot to kill before they release the trigger.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO?London has been beseiged by suicide bombers, blowing up innocent people. This tragedy isn't a case of "running away while Muslim", its another casualty in the war on terror.
What would you have done in a similar situation? When faced with the very real possibility to being blown up along with hundreds of fellow Londoners, would you have taken the chance of trying to reason with him? Would you have cornered him in the train requesting a body search? Would you take chances by trying to knock him out with your gun?
Its unfortunate that so many people see this as an execution of an innocent man. Should we mourn the death of Mr. Menezes? Of course we should. I feel for his family. I even believe there should be an inquiry into what went wrong and how future incidents like this can be prevented.
But don;t for a second think that Mr. Menezes' death cannot totally be placed at the feet of Islamic fundamentalists and those who choose to use the bombing of innocents as a tool to achieve their political agenda.
The police did what they had to do, given what they knew and the situation at hand.
Knowing what they did know, not what we now know, would you have done any different?
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